DUMAGUETE CITY – The government’s two-tiered wage policy took center stage in Tuesday’s public hearing held here conducted by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Central Visayas (Region 7) on a petition for a minimum wage adjustment for Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-7) Regional Director Salome Siaton, in an interview after the public hearing, expressed satisfaction, saying that there was no disagreement or conflict between the management and labor sectors despite issues and concerns that were raised on the floor, specifically on productivity.
In general, the petition for the wage increase of P341.75 across the board region-wide was well received by the different sectors, Siaton said.
“If you will notice, there is open communication between the two sectors,” she noted.
The public hearing did not just focus on the petition for a wage increase but also tackled productivity, which would also play an important role for the board when it comes to decision-making, she said.
The two-tiered wage system of wage adjustment and productivity is the government’s policy reform to help improve the country’s competitiveness in the global market.
Siaton explained that the board will take into consideration the input of management, not just on wage increase but also in terms of productivity, after representatives from this sector noted how other countries are putting a premium on productivity and how this impacts on their determination of wage rates.
“I think this has opened the minds of everyone in this body and they are open to productivity,” she said.
In fact, after the public hearing, queries were raised regarding seminars on productivity in their workplaces and “that is a very good sign already,” she added.
But Siaton also clarified that “it doesn’t mean that when we are looking into productivity, we disagree with the petition” but it is in addition to the wage adjustment petition.
Some quarters, especially those coming from Siquijor, have signified their position for a status quo, which Siaton said they would be looking into this.
The DOLE official said those seeking a status have referred to the scenario of a “nine months, lean months and three months peak season, so this is the uniqueness of the industry and also the nature of the wage rates we have classifying the different places with different schemes.”
“As of this time we are getting the views of both labor and management so that when we will deliberate, at least somehow, we will have the complete perspective,” Siaton said.
The RTWPB will be going to Cebu, Bogo, and Bohol in the coming weeks for the same activity on the minimum wage adjustments, she said.
Once the consultations are done, the wage board will begin the deliberations and put together the different position papers of the stakeholders before coming up with a decision.
Siaton declined to give a timeline as to when the RTWPB is expected to make an announcement on the proposed wage adjustment in the region.
Also present during the public hearing were RTWPB-7 members namely Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 7 Director Asteria Caberte, National Economic Development Authority Region 7 Director Efren Carreon, Board Secretary Grace Carreon, Philip Tan representing the management sector and Jose Tomongha representing the labor sector. (PNA)