Cebu News

Labor groups not keen on 4-day workweek

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Partido Manggagawa said that a 4-day workweek and a wage subsidy should complement not replace a wage hike.

The labor group said that 4-day workweek or compressed workweek (CWW) without overtime pay is abuse of workers and CWW would be acceptable to workers if overtime pay is provided.

“A complete package of responses includes an across-the-board wage hike for all workers, wage subsidy for MSMEs which cannot afford the pay increase, P10,000 ayuda for informal workers and an expansion of the 4Ps in terms of coverage and benefits for indigent,” PM said in a statement.

It said that more money in the hands of workers means more money to be spent for goods and services (unlike the rich, the working poor consume all their income) and thus would be good for economic recovery.

It added that the P100 that they are proposing is not even a wage hike but just wage recovery as wages have lost their value due to runaway inflation for the past three years.

For their part, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is again pushing workers to sacrifice.

TUCP said that NEDA’s proposed 4-day CWW will require the consent of workers because it means setting aside the 8-hour-work-day.

“Only workers can waive that right to an 8-hour work day. Workers must therefore be consulted, workers will have to voluntarily agree to the proposal, the agreement must be reduced to writing, and the agreement must be submitted to DOLE to ensure monitoring and no management abuse,” TUCP said in a statement.

However, TUCP both reminded NEDA and DOE, that while this is a proposal to economize by lessening consumption, it will not result in the lowering of the price of petroleum products nor will bring down the costs of goods and services.

Instead, TUCP challenged both DOE and NEDA to look into the wisdom of removing the excise tax on diesel and LPG as these are the products which the poor will use, and placing a cap on the price of the power sector.

“It is the price of petroleum products and electricity that feeds into transport and shipping costs, and operational costs that is driving up the costs of all goods and services,” the labor union added.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Kenneth Co told The Freeman that if the reason for the said proposal is to save on gas, he thinks it’s also suitable to have hybrid work from home arrangement so employees will not lose out on productivity and wages.

“It will be up to the individual companies if work flexibility or work extension will be more adaptable to their type of work,” Co said.

Co added that oil prices have also started to come down so we can expect a price roll back by next week so companies can review their operations if such gas saving measures will be necessary or optional. — GMR (FREEMAN)


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