By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has moved for the dismissal of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) petition for a P320 daily wage increase for private sector workers in Metro Manila.
In its Motion to Dismiss, ECOP President Donald G. Dee cited that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) of the National Capital Region (NCR) is inhibited from entertaining said petition pursuant to Rule IV of National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) Guidelines No. 01, Series of 2007, Amended Rules of Procedure on Minimum Wage Fixing.
Section 3 of said Guidelines provides that “Any Wage Order issued by the Board may not be disturbed for a period of twelve (12) months from its effectivity, and no petition for wage increase shall be entertained within the said period. In the event, however, that supervening conditions, such as extraordinary increase in prices of petroleum products and basic goods/services, demand a review of the minimum wage rates as determined by the Board and confirmed by the Commission, the Board shall proceed to exercise its wage fixing function even before the expiration of the said period.”
The last wage order issued by the NCR RTWPB, Wage Order No. NCR-21 took effect of October 5, 2017.
Dee argued that there exists no supervening conditions that would allow the entertainment of the wage hike petition and demand a review of the wage rates prescribed under Wage Order No. NCR-21.
At the same time, ECOP questioned the wage hike petition, noting that what the petition is praying for is not an increase in the minimum wage rates but an across-the-board increase for all employees in the NCR.
Dee pointed out that, according to case law, the grant of an across-the-board minimum wage increase does not fall within the jurisdiction of the RTWPBs which is limited to granting regional wage increases to employees earning the statutory wage rates based upon the standards/criteria established by law.