Japanese firm lays off 134 workers

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    MARIVELES, Bataan- Japanese firm Mitsumi Philippines on Wednesday announced that it laid off 134 contractual workers with the expiration of their contract on December 31, 2008 and compressed work days from six to five  a week to 3,314 employees due to the downtrend in product orders as a result of the global economic crisis.

    Noble Metals, a 100-percent Filipino firm engaged in metal plating,  on the other hand has served notice of a two-month temporary shutdown effective February 20, 2009 that will affect 32 workers. A female worker doing metal plating said she would just stay in the house and wait for the re-opening of the company.

    Mitsumi and Noble are two of the 42 multinational firms operating at the Bataan Economic Zone in Mariveles. The 42 firms have a total work force of 14,426. A BEZ department head who requested not to be named said there are no other firms advising them of layoffs or shutdown. 

    No department head would like to be quoted, reasoning out that only the zone manager who was attending a meeting in  Pampanga is authorized to issue statements.

    William Verzon, Mitsumi Phils. personnel manager, denied reports that the firm producing electronics components had laid off 2,400 workers.  “That is not true, he said, adding that they were forced to separate 134 contractual workers “because of downtrend in orders and that their contract has expired.”

    As result of the global economic crisis, Verzon said they compressed the work days of 3,314 workers, the present work force of the firm that began operating in Mariveles in 1980.

     “Apektado na ang kumpanya ng global economic crisis kaya hindi na namin ni-renew ang kontrata ng mga contractual workers at nagbawas kami ng araw ng trabaho mula sa dating anim, ginawa na lang munang limang araw simula ngayong Enero,” the personnel manager said.

    Mariveles Mayor Jessie Concepcion said he has not received reports of mass layoffs at the BEZ, especially in Mitsumi. “Wala ring lumalapit sa akin na mga taga-Mariveles na nagsasabing inalis sila sa trabaho sa BEZ,” the mayor said.

    Baby Marquez who has been employed with Mitsumi for 21 years under the coil department said she has not received a notice of retrenchment.  And so with Darius Manitay, 18 years with the company also under the coil department, and other workers on their way to work said they have not been offered retirement packages by Mitsumi.

    Ophel Hipolito, president of the Mitsumi workers union, could not be contacted for her comment.

    Some workers of Dong-In and K-1, two Korean companies manufacturing bags, said they continue working until the expiration of their contracts. “Tanggal-balik kami sa trabaho,” some female workers said.

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