BAGUIO CITY (May 21) — The Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) recognizes the workers’ clamor for a wage increase but are more willing to provide more non-wage benefits.
According to Marlou Abaja of ECOP during a media forum here Tuesday, many employers could not afford to increase wages just as yet.
“Many employers can comply with the recent mandatory P20 wage increase for all workers in Metro Manila, but this would mean they have to lay off some workers,” said Abaja. Companies are also gravely affected by the oil price hikes, rice crisis and political crisis hounding the country, he added.
“What they can offer right now is more non-wage benefits for workers like the expansion of health and social services benefits like reproductive health programs,” said Abaja.
ECOP initiated a program called Workplace Oriented Reproductive Health Programs (Works) that offers services to workers like maternal and child health, HIV-STI and family planning.
Nida Tundagui of Kilusang Mayo Uno-Cordillera said the labor center welcomes this offer by employers but was quick to say that mitigating hunger should be prioritized.
“Workers cannot be healthy if they are hungry. Anyway, employers are supposed to provide these benefits and should not be a negotiating factor in the workers’ demand for a wage increase,” said Tundagui.
Meanwhile, the basic wage in the Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan and Tuba (BLIST) area is only P235. Cordillera Wage Board has yet to decide on the region’s mandatory wage increase. # Cye Reyes