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PIA Press Release

DOLE speeds up services for workers affected by financial crisis

By Danny O Sagun

Dagupan City (5 February) -- Livelihood and short-term employment packages are among the services being prepared by the labor department for workers who may lose their jobs as a result of the global financial crisis.

Regional Director Henry John Jalbuena said the department in coordination with the Overseas Workers' Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has facilitated the delivery of need-specific services for affected workers that include skills training, scholarships, job referrals, legal counseling and other forms of assistance.

He said that a Help Desk was established at the OWWA office in Manila to provide immediate response to the needs of the displaced workers and to ensure the available service packages for them. The POEA was also tasked to ensure the recovery of placement fees from concerned recruitment agencies.

The regional labor office, he said, is now closely coordinating with the Industry Tripartite Councils (ITCs) regarding industries that will be affected by the financial crunch. The ITCs were put up to ensure cooperation between employers and workers regarding work conditions, collective bargaining and personnel policies.

Roque issued Labor Advisory No. 2 series of 2009 which guides employers and workers in the private sector on the adoption of flexible work schemes like reducing workweek of six days but the 48 work hours remain. A normal workday of eight hours may increase to not more than 12 hours. Workdays per week may be reduced but should not last more than six months.

The advisory also allows rotation of workers within the workweek, forced leaves by utilizing leave credits, broken-time schedule, and flexi-holidays.

Employers, he said, are required to notify DOLE of the flexible work schemes.

The regional director however warned those employers who may only ride on the financial crisis for them to avoid responsibilities for their workers.

He likewise clarified that not all lay-offs are connected with the crisis. Vulnerable sectors, he said, are those holding temporary working visas, factory workers in Taiwan, South Korea and Macau, domestic helpers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau. Locally, affected sectors are those in electronics, automotive, semi-conductor and garment factories. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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