The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board 6 (RTWPB 6) started its region-wide Stakeholders Consultation on the petition filed by the United Labor for Western Visayas and the Iloilo Pepsi Cola Workers Independent Union for a Php 100 wage recovery at the NEDA Conference Room last July 20, 2023.

DOLE RO 6 Regional Director Atty. Sixto T. Rodriguez, Jr. who is also the RTWPB Chair said that the goal of the consultation is to come up with a fair and just wages that will benefit both the employers and the workers.

The workers’ sector anchored their petition on the effect of the inflation rate to the purchasing power and the value of the Philippine peso.  The wage recovery according to them would compensate the losses of their salaries due to the effect of the inflation. The petitioners also argued that granting the wage recovery would have a positive effect to the region’s economy. They believe that the wage increase granted last year helped the economic development of Western Visayas accelerate ahead of other regions’. The issue of the poverty threshold and the rising cost of living was also raised. For the labor sector, the present income could not cope with the high transportation expenses, tuition fees, and the demand for internet connections and gadgets needed in school.  They are saying that additional amount for wage recovery is necessary for a worker’s decent living.

As of June 2023 the inflation rate is 6.8% while the purchasing power of the Philippine Peso base in 2018 is .81.

On a separate session, the business and management sector said that raising the salaries of the workers could stagnate and slows down business activities that could result to limited job opportunities.  For the management sector, raising of salaries could also mean losing more opportunities as investors prefer areas with lower labor cost.  They also underscored the high price of production such as the cost of power and the transfer of goods considering the mode of transport in the region. The business sector offered upscaling the skills of the workers to increase productivity instead. It was also suggested that salary increase should be productivity based or performance based.

“Through this consultation, we hope to gather insights from you which will shape policies that are grounded in the actual needs of the workers and the current economic situation and give us the idea of how to approach and address wage concerns,” RD Rodriguez said at the end of the consultation in Iloilo City.

The RTWPB is scheduled to hold similar dialogues in other provinces for data gathering and to know the sentiments of the different stakeholders.