By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Local labor group, the General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA), recently expressed fears implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law could lead to the retrenchment of workers, or layoffs.
GAWA Secretary-General Wennie Sancho said, because of the high price of fuel, as well as increased operating expenses, companies may not be able to sustain their current expenses, which may require them to downsize.
Sancho cited the recent case of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, which recently announced they would be laying off 600 workers as part of a restructuring process.
New Independent Workers’ Organization President Emmanuel Bandola said around 51 workers at the Bacolod City plant would be laid off.
The company also cited “recent developments within the beverage industry” as a reason for the reduction in its workforce. Following passage of the TRAIN Law, an excise tax has been placed on both beverages that utilize sugar and those with artificial sweeteners.
In addition, Sancho called for an increase in the price of sugar last year, saying, “If sugar prices are high, it will assure the livelihood of sugar workers.”
The labor leader also pointed out, despite there being labor unions, where employees are covered by a collective agreement, which stipulates the terms and conditions of employment, there are several employees that are not organized that may be affected./DGB, WDJ