RETAILERS said they could resort to layoffs if Congress proceeds to legislate a higher minimum wage.
Roberto S. Claudio, Sr., Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) president, said businesses would need to shed workers to comply with a Congress-imposed wage hike.
“This is the concern of the industry. If the minimum wage is increased, more jobs will be lost because most of the businesses… will simply reduce staffing,” Mr. Claudio told reporters on the sidelines of an expo in Pasay City last week.
Mr. Claudio estimated that the proposed wage hike will result in the loss of 50,000 jobs from mainstream retailers, equivalent to 10% of their workforce.
Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri has said that senators will push for legislation calling for a P150 across-the-board wage hike.
In June, the National Capital Region Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board approved a P40 wage hike for workers in Metro Manila, which brought the daily minimum wage to P610 for non-agricultural workers.
The minimum wage was also raised to P573 for agricultural workers, services and retail establishments with 15 or fewer employees, and manufacturers with less than 10 employees.
Mr. Claudio said that retailers are scrambling just to comply with the P40 wage hike for Metro Manila.
“We are finding ways (to comply with) the wage hike that has already been approved. Anything more will definitely be answered (with job cuts),” Mr. Claudio said.
Mr. Claudio called for wage hikes to be set instead via collective bargaining.
“Most companies have their own labor unions. Let them work it out because every renegotiation, every renewal of contract with the union… will always be additional (wages), more benefits,” Mr. Claudio said.
“If you (legislate wage hikes), you are forcing others who are not in a position to give additional wages or adjustments in their wages (to increase pay),” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave