By Charo Logarta
The National Capital Region (NCR) Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board held its consultation with employers and businesses Friday, following its meeting with the labor sector Thursday.
"The [Arroyo] administration and the labor sector should seriously consider the fact that the minimum wage of the country is already the highest in the region," said the JCCIP, in its position paper to the NCR Wage Board.
"There is mismatching between minimum wage levels and productivity in the Philippines that will lead to further deterioration of the Philippine economy if another wage hike happens," it said.
The JCCIP warned that many companies may be forced to lay-off workers, especially if the higher overhead costs cannot be passed on through higher prices for products and services.
"A further increase in the minimum wage means 'just scatter money nationwide.' It will push up end-user prices of goods and services, and this only contributes to the vicious cycle of upward inflationary trend. When the minimum wage is high, there is little room for management to reward workers who are more competitive and productive than others," added the JCCIP.
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Indeed it is very hard to strike a balance between increasing the minimum wage of the workers and protecting the employers from going out of business because of high labor costs -- especially when the decision is to be made in the middle of a crisis.
A crisis can also be a catalyst for a positive change. Sometimes all it needs for a company to grow and move forward are the challenges and the hidden opportunities that a crisis brings.
In times of crisis, only very few companies are not afraid to take the risk of prioritizing the welfare of their employees over their profit. It is remarkable that when the crisis is over, those companies grow even more than before.
There are many management and business principles that companies are following in handling crisis situations but only few managers are willing to apply the following principle: It is better (not bitter) to give than to receive.
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
When God is about to increase your blessing, He will first initiate the expansion of your capacity -- usually the initiation is in the form of a test (a crisis). What is being tested is not your endurance or your survival ability, but rather, it is your giving ability, your generosity, your kindness, your concern for others -- nothing will test greatly our generosity than when we have less to give. The very reason for God increasing more our blessing is for us to be the channel of His blessings to others.
Companies do not exist just to gather wealth for the banks. They are there to be bearers and channels of God's blessings to the people. Many of them are experiencing the seeming difficulties that today's economic crisis has brought, but how many of them realized that this is a great opportunity for them to remain faithful to the Lord.
If not now, then when? When was the last time employers have given their employees a fair wage increase? Isn't now an appropriate time for a wage increase to be appreciated so much by the workers? Don't miss a God-given opportunity -- for His works are hidden in disguised opportunities.