Labor group rejects 4-day work week

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Monday, February 17, 2014

MILITANT group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Monday expressed opposition to the proposal of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for employers to implement a four-day work week, saying the workers should not be burdened by the failure of the government to manage traffic.

In an interview, KMU chairman Elmer Labog said it is unreasonable to give additional work load to employees as a way to ease the expected traffic problems along Edsa during construction of the Skyway 3 project.

"We are against compressing the workdays of workers. It should be eight hours only. It cannot be extended or else it can be considered forced overtime… That is not the solution to the traffic situation," said Labog in a phone interview


"Why will the government give workers additional burden to compensate for their failure to fix the traffic problems in Metro Manila?" he asked.

Instead of forcing workers to such a situation, which could be detrimental to their health, the labor leader said the government must find other ways to counter the heavy traffic in Edsa, the capital's longest and most congested highway.

"They should instead develop a good mass transport system such as trains and buses. Unlike now when there are excessive private vehicles despite the narrow and few road networks," said Labog.

Earlier, the MMDA proposed the adoption of a four-day work week in a hope of easing the expected heavy traffic in Metro Manila owing to the construction of the 14.8-kilometer, six-lane Skyway 3 that will start at the end of Skyway 1 on Buendia Avenue in Makati City, run through Osmeña Highway, Quirino Avenue, Paco and Sta. Mesa districts via the Nagtahan flyover, towards Aurora Boulevard and Araneta Avenue up to Sgt. Rivera, and will end at A. Bonifacio Avenue towards the North Luzon Expressway.

Heavier traffic in Metro Manila was expected to start Monday and is seen to last until the project is completed by 2017.

On the other hand, the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said it sees no problem with having a four-day work week as long as workers' rights and welfare will not be undermined by the system.

"We support flexible work arrangements given the realities brought about by government infrastructure programs that in the long term will benefit the public," said PM chairman Renato Magtubo said.

Nevertheless, the PM head said the employers must be able to provide the necessary assistance to their workers regarding the "risks" that the employees may endure in complying with flexible work arrangements.

"Additional burden or risks are situations, such as waking up early and going home late, exposes a worker to health and security risks. The employer may provide, as a matter of support, sleeping facilities or service or transportation arrangements to their employees," said Magtubo in a separate interview.

To recall, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) has already expressed favor of adopting a four-day work week, saying the flexi-work schedule has already been tried and tested in the country during the global financial crisis back in 2010.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that a voluntary agreement between employers and employees may be made on which work arrangement shall be adopted among the compressed work week, flexi-time schedule, and flexi-holidays schedule. (HDT/Sunnex)

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