InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS
MANILA, Philippines - They weren't surprised by the bad news. In fact, employees of Ford Motor Co. Philippines' assembly plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna saw it coming.
"Assumed na rin namin (na mangyayari), competition talaga," a technician for the plant said, requesting anonymity. (We assumed it would happen; it's really about competition)."
Ford has decided to shut down its operations in Laguna by December, citing the country's small market for its automative assemblies and the global phaseout of Ford's Escape SUV, the remaining model assembled in the Philippines. Around 300 employees will be affected.
While its employees are saddened by the plant's impending closure, they have accepted the fact that they can't do anything about it. "S'yempre manghihinayang, pero wala naman tayong magagawa," said a welder for the company. (Of course it's a shame, but there's nothing we could do.)
To look for jobs abroad
Employees are looking forward to their separation packages from Ford, which many said they will use to process their applications for work abroad. Many of the employees would rather work overseas than stay in the country because they believe it would be difficult for local companies to match their salaries from the American car maker.
Edilberto Rongavilla, 73, a retired Ford employee, attests to the company's generosity.
"Ako'y nanghihinayang kasi ang taas nila magpasuweldo at maganda ang benefits na binibigay nila sa amin. Kung ikukumpara sa iba, pipiliin ko pa rin ang Ford," he says. (It's a shame because they give high salaries and the benefits are good. Compared with others, I would still prefer Ford.)
Still, employees are seeing a silver lining. They say the skills they have acquired from Ford have made them more competitive for jobs overseas.
"Nagpapasalamat pa nga kami, dahil sa oportunidad na makapagtrabaho sa Ford. Marami kaming natutunan na puwedeng dalhin sa ibang bansa," the technician said. (We are actually thankful. We learned a lot of things that we can use if we will work abroad.)
The welder added: "Sapat na ang nakuha naming experience para makapag-compete sa ibang bansa (The experience we got is enough for us to be able to compete in another country.)"
Ford Group Philippines AVP for Communications Anika Salceda-Wycoco said separation packages are already being drawn up for the employees to be retrenched.
"A fair separation package will be in place to assist all affected employees," she says.
The package includes training sessions for employees on career transition, financial management and entrepreneurship, and an outplacement program, which includes counseling and coaching sessions to help facilitate career transitions," according to Wycoco.
According to Wycoco, Ford may absorb some of its employees from the Philippines in the firm's other offices overseas. Currently, 20 of their Filipino employees are already working overseas, most of them at Ford's manufacturing plant in Thailand.
"We are looking at opportunities for some of our highly skilled manufacturing employees to work in some of our other manufacturing operations in markets such as India, Thailand, and China," Wycoco says.
Help from the Palace
Meanwhie, the Aquino administration has formed a quick response team who will assist the affected employees.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda says the team will be composed of representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
"They have been in touch with the human resources division of Ford Philippines,” says Lacierda.
He says the team will ensure that in the event that the notice of closure has been filed with the DOLE, full separation benefits will be provided to the employees.
“If they wish to look for another industry and that would require retraining of skills, TESDA will be there to provide the retraining," says Lacierda.
If other employees want to use their separation benefits in setting up a business, they could ask help from the DTI, according to Lacierda.
InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS