No labor day surprises: Dole says no wage hike announcement

WORKERS in Cebu should not expect an announcement of another round of wage increase during the celebration of Labor Day on May 1, said the Department of Labor and Employment, Region 7 (Dole-7 yesterday.

Dole regional director Elias Cayanong for Region 7 said workers will not hear any announcement of wage increase on Labor Day, as what has been the tradition in the past Labor Day celebrations, as labor groups in Cebu said they will break their annual tradition of filing a petition for wage hike this year.

“The announcement of the labor groups in Cebu is a welcome development considering that the global financial crisis has affected several industries here,” said Cayanong.

He also stressed that there is no supervening events or other unusual movement of prices of fuel and basic commodities that would allow for a petition to increase the minimum salary.

“It’s not the right time to ask for an increase and I thank the labor groups in Cebu for understanding the plight of businesses and industries,” he said, adding that instead of asking for wage increase, labor groups can now close ranks with management for a harmonious work environment.

It will be the first time that labor groups in Cebu will not file a petition for wage increase and Cayanong said this will ensure businesses and industries will not fire workers on the basis of salary increases.

Earlier, officials of Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) and Alliance of Progressive Labor said they will not demand for an adjustment in wages taking into consideration the present global economic crunch that is affecting a lot of industries across the globe.

“It is not the right time yet to ask for a wage increase because the financial crisis has caused a number of companies to shut down resulting to job losses,” said ALU-TUCP communications officer Joy Lim.

She stressed that what is more important is how workers can maintain their jobs. According to her, demanding for a wage hike at this time may only result to bigger problem because some employers might be forced to to layoff their workers or close their businesses due to lack of money for the salary increase.

ALU-TUCP has around 15,000 active members in Cebu alone and according to Lim, around 20 percent of this number have already lost their jobs.

Instead of asking for wage increase, Lim said what they appealing to employers is to maintain the benefits given to the workers. “Give what is due to the employees,” she added.

Although not all sectors are greatly affected by the crisis, she said that they still give consideration to some businesses, especially here in Cebu, that have been brought down by the economic instability.

As of now, Lim said that they have not yet decided if they will hold protest rallies on May 1 but it would depend on the decision of the TUCP, their mother organization.

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