Wage hike unlikely before Labor Day

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2012 01:46 PM | Updated as of Mar 15 2012 10:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), through the National Wages and Productivity Board (NWPB), on Thursday said it will still have to determine if the series of oil price hikes constitute a "supervening event" that would allow it to issue a new wage order.

The wage board is barred from entertaining any wage hike less than a year after a wage order has been issued, unless there is a "supervening event." The last wage hike order in the National Capital Region was approved on May 26, 2011. This means a new wage hike petition may only be entertained after that date.

According to NWPB executive director Ciriaco Lagunzad, the oil price hikes in 1990, 2005, 2008 and 2011) consistently rose for 3 straight months before these were considered supervening events.

Another factor going against the labor groups is the lower inflation or the increases in the prices of goods.

Even if the board sees a "supervening event" in these series of oil price hikes in one to two months,  it still needs further study by the DOLE-NWPC.

Lagunzad also said the government will have to take into account the condition of employers, especially since majority of businesses in the Philippines are small enterprises.

Earlier this month, Employers Confederation of the Phils had issued a statement opposing the plan of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines to seek a P90 daily wake hike.

During today's presscon, the DOLE also announced the implementation of the two-tiered wage system which constitutes productivity-based performance and floor wages or the minimum wages.