TACLOBAN CITY – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) is getting the pulse of workers and employers on possible wage adjustment more than eight months after supertyphoon Yolanda struck Eastern Visayas. Exequiel Sarcauga, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional director and RTWPB chairman said, that teams have been deployed this month to establishments and workplaces to find out the economic conditions of both management and laborers.

“The deferment of wage consultation is still in effect. There’s no timetable for this because we are dependent on how the region will recover in terms of economic activity but we can’t wait until everything is restored to decide,” Sarcauga said. Last December 2013, the DOLE suspended wage consultation citing economic impacts of the disaster. Result of the survey, which will be up next month, will be tackled in monthly meeting of RTWPB members, composed of regional heads of DOLE, National Economic Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, and representatives from labor and management sectors. Sarcauga said they initiated the survey after the National Wages and Productivity Board ordered the RTWPB office here to tackle wage issues after the super typhoon. “We will try to balance the needs of both management and worker sectors,” he added.

Before the super typhoon on November 8, the wage body planned series of consultation scheduled on November and December 2013, but was cancelled due to devastation, forcing at least 2,290 major business establishments to shut down, affecting more than 19,000 workers. Under Wage Order No. 17 that took effect October 16, 2012, the wage body raised the workers daily pay from P253 to P260. The RTWPB decided to initiate consultations since it’s been more than a year since the latest pay adjustment.
Since the typhoon struck, there has been no petition for wage filed by a worker’s group despite skyrocketing increase of prices of basic goods due to lack of supply coupled with logistical constraints during the first few weeks after the calamity. Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon have the oldest wage orders in the country, both approved October 2012. SARWELL Q. MENIANO