CBA stipulating wage LOWER than minimum contrary to law, void

Section 3, Art. VIII, of the CBA is a void provision because by agreeing to condone the implementation of the Wage Order the parties thereby contravened its mandate on wage increase of P12.00 effective 8 January 1991. Also, as stated by the Labor Arbiter, it is only the Tripartite Wage Productivity Board of the DOLE that could approve exemption of an establishment from coverage of a Wage Order. If petitioner is a financially distressed company then it should have applied for a wage exemption so that it could meet its labor costs without endangering its viability or its very existence upon which both management and labor depend for a living. The Office of the Solicitor General emphasizes the point that parties to a CBA may not, by themselves, set a wage lower than the minimum wage. To do so would render nugatory the purpose of a wage exemption, not to mention the possibility that employees may be duped or be unwittingly put in a position to accept a lower wage. [G.R. No. 117878. November 13, 1996]