Workers’ group urges RWB to act on wage hike petition

Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of the General Alliance of Workers Association

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – A workers’ group here on Sunday called on the Regional Wage Board in Western Visayas to act with dispatch on the two petitions for wage hikes already filed.

Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of the General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA), said in a statement that the Wage Board can act “motu proprio” or on its own because of the supervening conditions that warrant the need for a wage hike even before the annual anniversary of Wage Order No. 26 as provided in the National Wages Productivity Commission guidelines.

Sancho said this is a fitting response to the workers’ “just and legitimate demand for a wage hike during Labor Day today, May 1, 2023.”

“As the workers celebrate International Labor Day today, they will be subjects to praises as the primary social economic force responsible for creating the wealth of the nation,” he added.

Sancho said that “unfortunately, all the accolades for the workers are words that slip from the mouth of the politicians.”

“Today the majority of the workers are underpaid, underfed, under-protected, and underemployed. What we need is an urgent economic relief in the form of a substantial wage increase in their daily minimum wage from P150 to P350 per day in Western Visayas. We are facing times of economic crisis, joblessness, record-breaking inflation, and shrinking incomes,” he lamented.

Sancho said what the workers needed most is a substantial wage increase equivalent to a living wage, to strengthen their purchasing power which is deteriorating.

Due to the unabated increases in the prices of basic goods and services, exacerbated by the high interest imposed by the BSP considering the high cost of living, the wage increase is a necessity, he further said.

Sancho also said that “we are supporting all petitions for wage hikes whether it is from the Wage Board or from Congress by way of a national legislation or whichever comes first.”

He added that GAWA supports the pending bill filed by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri for a P150 per day increase in the minimum wage across the board nationwide.