Local companies in the electronics, garments and coconut oil processing sectors are set to lay off more workers this year as a result of the global financial crisis, the Department of Labor and Employment said Friday.
Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said weakening export demand in traditional export markets such as Japan, the United States and Europe have severely affected local manufacturing firms in the three industries.
He said some local companies are already removing overtime pay, reducing shifts and even reducing work hours of their workers.
"Eventually we expect that there will manpower layoffs...I've already tasked regional offices to meet with company officials in these sectors so that by the third week of January, we will know which companies are most affected," Roque told radio dzMM.
The electronics sector currently employs about 420,000 workers, the garments sector has 120,000 workers and coconut oil processing sector 12,000.
Roque reminded companies that it cannot just reduce workers’ salaries to prevent lay-offs."We cannot reduce salaries because we have a minimum wage law to follow. What we can reduce are number of workdays and number of shifts," he said.
He said local companies are encouraged to coordinate with the labor department to set up income augmentation and adjustment measures programs that would help workers find other sources of income before they lose their jobs.