2,060 workers displaced by closures, downsizing in R12

Citing a report released last February 27 by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 12, the NSCB said the closures and downsizing schemes implemented by the affected firms have displaced some 2,060 workers, 349 of whom were retrenched.

The region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Kidapawan, Cotabato and Tacurong.

“Two companies have permanently closed, one temporarily closed, two slowed down operations and eight reported downsizing or reduction of manpower. Ten other companies have implemented compressed workweek schemes to cope with the crisis,” noted Herlita Caraan, NSCB Region 12 chief.

The NSCB report did not name the crisis-hit companies.

To remain in business, Caraan said the affected companies implemented compressed work
schedules, job rotation and offered flexible work arrangements that affected at least 1,711 workers.

She said four of these companies were engaged in manpower services involving 1,036 workers, a manufacturing firm with 620 workers, a shipping firm with 31 workers, three freight forwarding companies with 21 workers and one storage firm with three workers.

She said the highest number of layoffs, 142 workers, was recorded in the manufacturing sector, especially in food, followed by trade with 73, agriculture with 66, services with 35 and fisheries with 21.

But she said at least 10 workers of a manufacturing firm that permanently closed down were immediately absorbed by its sister company.

Allan Yaphockun, regional governor of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Region 12, admitted that a significant number of companies in the region have been struggling to remain in business due to the financial crisis.

“We've been feeling the heat since last year but the worst really came in the first quarter (of 2009),” he said.

To help them cope with the crisis, Yaphockun urged DOLE Region 12 and the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) to maintain a status quo on wage increases for private workers in the region.

“Our sales have been going down and we don't know when the situation will stabilize. So the more so that we need a status quo on wage hikes,” he said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)