Thousands may lose jobs due to COVID-19 impact on business – TUCP

MANILA, Philippines –  Thousands of workers may lose their jobs in the next 6 months as businesses take a hit from the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 outbreak, a labor group said on Saturday, February 29.

"TUCP sees 7,000 more layoffs and retrenchments in 6 months amid the growing corona virus outbreak crisis," the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines  said in a statement on Saturday.

It made the forecast after Philippine Airlines (PAL)  terminated 300 employees, citing losses incurred because of canceled flights due to the COVID-19 travel bans.

"In TUCP discussions with unions leaders in other industries, they said the PAL retrenchment is just the beginning of the bigger adverse economic effect of the escalating outbreak of COVID-19 phenomenon," the labor group said.

TUCP Representative Raymond Mendoza said that based on their assessment, other industries would follow suit and lay off non-essential workers.

"The PAL retrenchment program and the travel bans will trigger more layoffs in several of its supply chains that includes hotels, restaurants, land transport service, logistics, catering and other suppliers of the airlines," Mendoza said.

"It is now inevitable that other airlines, to cope with the crisis, will also make similar retrenchments of non-essential jobs which will also affect workers down their supply chains," he added.

Mendoza said they would call to reconvene the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council composed of labor, business and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Finance to come up with mitigating measures for the labor impact of COVID-19. 

The TUCP also expected layoffs of Filipino workers in cruise ships, especially cruise lines  hard-hit by the virus.

The labor group said that it is in discussions with shipowners and manning agencies to honor unions' collective bargaining agreements (CBA). In the worst-case scenario, the TUCP said it reminded agencies to "make a reasonable retrenchment and separation package with those crew who do not have contracts and collective bargaining agreement with them." Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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