[ Malaya.com.ph ] January 22, 2009
THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines yesterday asked the labor department to look into reports that 35,000 workers at a major special economic zone in Laguna have lost their jobs in the collapse of the electronics and automotive parts export markets.
Ernesto Herrera, TUCP secretary-general, said locators at the 387-hectare Laguna Technopark in Biñan and Sta. Rosa towns were laying off workers and "aggressively" cutting work hours to cope with declining global sales.
The 94 firms at the technopark last reported a combined labor force of 80,000 a year ago. The 35,000 lost jobs mean a cut in manpower of 40 percent, Herrera said.
"In just one large Japanese electronics firm, we were informed that full-time employees were told to report for work for only seven days for the whole of January," he said. "If these reports are true, then it would seem that the global economic crisis is hitting us much harder and much quicker than previously anticipated."
Last week, the National Statistics Office reported that exports fell 11.9 percent to $3.49 billion in November, the second straight month of double-digit decline after contracting by 14.8 percent in October.
The country lost $1.18 billion worth of exports from October to November 2008 compared to the same two-month period in 2007, according to the NSO.
The NSO said the electronics sector — the country’s biggest exporter — absorbed the bulk of the lost sales at $960 million over the two-month period.
Herrera attributed the rapid decline in electronics exports to massive job losses and tightening credit around the world, which in turn have dampened spending for automobiles, liquid crystal displays and high-definition TV sets, personal computers, mobile phones, MP3 players, iPods and other consumer durable goods.
Of the 94 industrial firms located at the Laguna technopark, Herrera said at least 71 are engaged in the production of electronics or automotive parts and accessories.
Among the large electronics firms at the Laguna ecozone are F. Tech Philippines Manufacturing Inc., Fujitsu Die-Tech Corp. of the Philippines, Fujitsu Ten Corp. of the Philippines, Furukawa Electric Autoparts Philippines Inc., Futaba Corp. of the Philippines, Hitachi Computer Products (Asia) Corp., Matsushita (National Panasonic) Communication Industrial Corp., Matsushita (National Panasonic) Electric Philippines Corp., NEC Computer Storage Philippines Inc., Nidec Philippines Corp., TDK Philippines Corp. and Toshiba Information Equipment Philippines Inc.