By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA) yesterday commended Department of Labor and Employment-VI (DOLE-6) director, Atty. Johnson Cañete, for proposing wage standardization for the Western Visayas.
In a message sent by GAWA Secretary-General Wennie Sancho, he said the proposal would introduce the idea of a uniform regional minimum wage.
“In this way, wage increases should be across the board to prevent salary distortion,” Sancho said.
However, he also expressed concern as the proposal would not be applicable to the sugar industry as the majority of the workers are paid “pakyaw” basis, where a laborer is paid a set wage regardless of the amount of work.
Sancho pointed out, with the price of sugar on the decline, it would be difficult for planters to comply with wage increases and may file a petition requesting an exemption.
Earlier this week, Cañete said he will fight for ‘fair pay’ for local sugarcane workers, which he said would be “on par with other workers.”
Cañete, who was in the city for the District Tripartite Council General Assembly and Sugar Amelioration Program assessment, said a fair wage would solve the problem in the sugar industry, which is currently suffering a labor shortage as many have sought work in other fields that provide better compensation and benefits.
The local DOLE officer also said he has received complaints regarding the shortage of laborers.
He noted, sugarcane workers should have equivalent pay to others as “they are also paying and buying everything with the same prices to those being bought by other workers.”/DGB, WDJ