Workers slam government’s Compressed Workweek plan

DAVAO CITY – Workers led by militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao held a protest today at the Department of Labor and Employment to oppose the plan of the government to implement a compressed workweek.

Last August 24, 2017 the House of Representatives hastily approved the House Bill 6152 (Compressed Work Week Scheme Bill) that aims to amend the present 8-hours normal work into 12-hours and not to exceed 48-hours of work per week. Under the said bill, the overtime work will start after the worker works 12 hours during the day or after rendering 48 hours during the week. The Senate version of the Bill is Senate Bill 1571, which was sponsored by Sen. Joel Villanueva.

The workers lambasted the proposed law as it will only add workload, diminish income, is hazardous, and is an outright attack on the right to unionize and collective bargaining.

Under the Compressed Work Week Scheme (4-day Workweek, 12 hours daily work), the number of working days per year of the workers will be reduced to 294 from the present 313. This translates to P35,360.00 salary-lost per year for the worker in Davao Region. A daily 4-hour overtime work for 294 days will not be compensated amounting to a loss equivalent to P44,408.32 per year of uncompensated Overtime Work. Further, due to the reduced number of actual days worked in the entire year, the 13th month pay of the workers will also be reduced by P 2,946.33 per year. The total income lost by every worker per year in Davao Region will be P 82,714.65/yr or P 325.45/day if the proposed bill passes into law.

The new work scheme also poses health risk for the workers. Numerous studies have already been conducted in other countries which implement 12-hours work in different companies. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine of American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the risk of having an industrial accident is raised by 37% for workers working more than 12 hours a day. Working more than 60 hours per week relates to additional 23% accident risk. As the work schedules increase, the risks grow accordingly.

Based on another study from Ohio State University, women suffer more from long exposure of work. Women who work an average of 60 hours or more had triple risk of diabetes, heart trouble, cancer, and arthritis. According also to occupational psychologists, people do not function as effectively when they are tired or stressed.

If implemented, the workers will now have lesser time to communicate with their co-workers that affects their time for social purposes including unionizing and collective bargaining especially as contractualization persists.

Compressed Work Week is nothing but dictates of the profit-greedy capitalists under the pretext of neoliberalism. The new work scheme is just one of the flurry of anti-worker measures that the Duterte government has offered. Already, the proposed Tax Reform and PUV Modernization program are measures feared to decimate workers’ jobs and rights. #

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