Business

Higher salaries seen for construction workers

Higher salaries seen for construction workers

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BARES ACTION PLAN – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez (center) led the 4th Philippine Construction Industry Congress last January 8, where industry stakeholders bared action plans to implement the Construction Industry Roadmap 2020-2030. If the roadmap is fully implemented, the construction industry stands to have a cumulative value of ₱130 trillion by 2030, vis-à-vis ₱43 trillion without the roadmap. The 7+1 Action Plan details steps in eight aspects: Modernization and digitization; communications; government-industry-academe partnership; construction services exports and outsourcing; professional skills upgrading; policy reform; revitalizing the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP); and creating an Infrastructure Master Development Plan. Philippine Overseas Construction Board (POCB) Chairman Isidro Consunji (center, left) advocated for a long-term infrastructure development plan to sustain the industry’s growth beyond the Duterte administration.

By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has urged companies to sweeten their salary offers to workers in the construction industry but discouraged any move for mandated wage hikes.

Lopez told reporters at the 4th Philippine Construction Industry Congress that increase in wage rate for construction workers to entice more manpower taking this job is part of the issues being addressed under the Philippine Construction Industry Roadmap 2020-2030, which sets construction value to hit ₱130 trillion by 2030.

To make the sector more attractive, Lopez said, there is a need for the industry to “offer big salaries.”

He noted the industry is competing with other industries, which are growing as well, for manpower.

“This is a demand-supply thing so there is no choice, but to sweteen salary offers or make more technology available,” he said.

The roadmap has projected additional 3 million jobs or 7 million people employed in construction both in public and private sector projects up to 2030. This means 300,000 additional jobs annually in the next ten years.
Lopez, however, objected any move for wage setting.

“We should not interfere or government to raise the minimum wage, but let market forces pull up wages, because if mandated, others would be disadvantaged,” he said.

Isidro A. Consunji, chairman of Philippine Overseas Construction Board and chairman of DMCI Holdings, the country’s leading construction and engineering firm, projected a dramatic increase in construction workers’ salary in the coming years as companies compete for the tight manpower pool.

He said that carpenter receiving ₱700-₱800 daily wage should be at least ₱1,000.

The problem, however, is that companies cannot just raise wage immediately because the bid forward and labor cost was already computed before hand. There will be adjustments in the next contracts.

The DMCI group, which employs 20,000 workers, gives additional incentives to workers such as shuttle service, bunkhouses and skill allowance.