Local auto industry to avoid job cuts

Published by rudy Date posted on February 6, 2009

The local automotive industry would try not to shed jobs, officials said, even as some car companies here are already implementing some “efficiency measures” to cut down on costs amid the global downturn.

In a briefing Thursday, Elizabeth Lee, Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) president, said the local auto sector’s about 74,000 workers, which include those involved in auto parts manufacturing and car assembly, would hopefully be less impacted by the financial crisis which has badly hit car markets elsewhere.

But Frank Mero, Philippine Metal Workers Alliance president, admitted that they have already received reports that about 2,000 contractual workers in the electronics firms which churn out parts related to auto production have already been displaced.

Auto industry officials, on the other hand, maintained that layoffs among their labor force would be the last resort, even in a worst-case scenario.

Lee, who is also Universal Motors Corp. (UMC) executive vice president, said UMC would not retrench any of its workers.

Automotive Industry Workers Alliance President Angel Dimalanta, an employee of Toyota Motor Philippines Corp., said they have yet to receive news that Toyota would cut on the workforce in its local car assembly and auto parts production facilities

“It has been observed that Japanese firms such as Toyota usually invest heavily in manpower, so they would not easily let go of their workers, even in bad times. So that when orders pick up again, they don’t have to retrain new people,” Dimalanta said in Filipino.

Mero, who works for Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Philippines, said their company recently has introduced a “redundancy” scheme to employees willing to take early retirement. He said 88 Mitsubishi employees have availed of this program, which would give them hefty compensation packages based on the length of their service.

Toyota Philippines, on the other hand, has discontinued the weekend maintenance overtime work for employees in its local assembly facility, Dimalanta said. This in turn has slashed about 10 percent of the assembly plant’s weekly production output. –Ben Arnold O. de Vera, Reporter, Manila Times

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