BPO workers decries RWB’s rejection of wage hike petition

The BPO Industry Employees Network decried the recent decision of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board National Capital Region rejecting the petition for wage increase from P537 to P750 daily minimum wage filed by the group last April. 

“The decision of RTWPB rejecting our wage petition does not come as a surprise given its history of giving only very minimal wage hikes. But it is nonetheless revolting that the board did not even allow the petition to undergo a public hearing. They instantly quashed it purely on technical grounds,” Mylene Cabalona, BIEN National President said. 

The RTWPB-NCR dismissed the petitions for wage hike filed separately by BIEN, Kilos na Manggagawa and Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines. The board cited the 12 month-rule saying that wage petitions cannot be entertained by the board within 12 months from the last date of the wage hike approved unless there is a supervening event. The last wage hike approved by RTWPB-NCR was P25.00 in November 2018.

BIEN and the two other labor groups however alleged in their respective petitions that the effect of the new tax law (TRAIN) particularly on fuel prices can be considered as supervening event. The Employers Confederation of the Philippines however opposed the petition and filed a motion to dismiss citing there is no supervening event. 

“Isn’t it unjust and cruel to reduce a wage petition to technical issues when what is at stake for workers is a question of decent versus miserable living? Supervening event is not just a technical definition, it is a reality experienced by workers and their families every day after prices of commodities started to spike due to TRAIN. But the fact that RTWPB is not even willing to hear where the workers are coming from reflects whose interest it is trying to protect,” Cabalona added.

Minimum wage rate in NCR is at P537 a day which is only a bit over 50 percent of the P1,004 daily cost of living for a family of five persons.

The group also called out the Duterte administration for failing to provide higher wages to workers at the same time burdening  the working poor with taxes and rising prices of commodities. 

Despite the unfavorable decision, the group said it will continue to support and push for a national minimum wage of P750. “We believe that raising a national minimum wage will also benefit many BPO workers whose wages and salaries have been going down also because of neoliberal policies like regionalized wage system. We urge every BPO worker to support this call,” Cabalona added.#