Financial crisis already hurting local jobs – labor NGO

Nov. 06, 2008

The local economy is starting to get its share of the International Labor Organization’s projected 20 million global job loss by next year according to the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (Eiler).

“Since the country’s economy is export dependent, local jobs are starting to be hurt by the financial crisis,” said Eiler executive director Paul Quintos.

He said that the jobs in the export processing zones will likely to be hit with the expected slump in global consumption due to the financial meltdown.

“The workers ultimately bear the brunt of the crisis through job loss and employment of various flexible measures affecting wages and work conditions,” Quintos said.

Data from the Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW) shows numerous garments factories in the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) already experiencing slowdowns and closures.

The Ultimate Dream Fashion already closed shop this year and the workers were not paid wages and their 13th month pay. Woo Su, a Korean-owned company, was shutdown only this October because there were no orders coming in. Phils Star, also a Korean-owned company making socks was also shutdown this month.

Other companies are practicing compressed workweek and precarious work arrangements to maximize their profits at the expense of workers. The Cavite Apparel has been employing two weeks interval rotation for its workers since March this year. In DO, only two out of six assembly lines are running and work is only for 3 days a week. Jeshuran and Faremo 1, also a Korean-owned company, has a five-day workweek with 12 hours in a day’s work.

Aside from compressed workweek, other companies are not paying the mandated minimum wage of 298 pesos. These companies include the Golden Will Fashions in the First Cavite Industrial Estate. At Faremo II, workers are not receiving their wages because their cheques are post-dated to January 2009.

Companies are even only giving the apprentice rate in wages or only 75 percent of the minimum wages to contractual workers such as in Dae Gyoung.

Quintos said that the government should lay down concrete safety nets to cushion the effect of the global financial crisis through wage hikes and tax cuts. #

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