Large export firms in Laguna have retrenched 35,000 workers and cut working hours to cope with the prevailing economic crisis, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) reported yesterday.
TUCP secretary general and former senator Ernesto Herrera said they have received information that at least 35,000 workers have already been affected by the collapse of the country’s export markets for electronics and automotive parts.
“I was informed that large exporters located at the 387-hectare Laguna Technopark in Biñan and Sta. Rosa have laid off some 35,000 personnel, while the rest of the firms have resorted to extremely aggressive cuts in work hours,” Herrera said.
The STAR called the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office in Laguna to verify the report but was told that they have not received information concerning the retrenchment of 35,000 workers at the Laguna economic zone.
Marivic Martinez, of the DOLE-Laguna office, said they only recorded a total of 5,000 displaced contractual workers from the Laguna ecozone as of yesterday.
Herrera said a Japanese investor who conducts business with mostly Japanese firms located at the Laguna ecozone relayed the information to him.
He said the 94 firms at the Laguna Technopark last reported a combined labor force of 80,000 a year ago, implying that the ecozone might have already lost more than 40 percent of its workforce because of the crisis.
“In just one large Japanese electronics firm, we were informed that full-time employees were told to report for work for only seven days for the whole of January,” Herrera said.
He urged the DOLE to check the reports and immediately take the appropriate safety nets for the displaced workers.
Last week, the National Statistics Office reported that Philippine exports fell 11.9 percent to $3.49 billion in November, the second straight month of double-digit decline after contracting by 14.8 percent in October.–Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star