Militant groups oppose 4-day workweek
MANILA, Philippines–Militant groups have described as antiworker and antifamily the four-day workweek scheme approved recently by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for Metro Manila government offices to help ease traffic congestion.
In a statement on Monday, labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said that the new schedule would mean longer working hours for government employees as they would be at the office from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.—with an hour off for lunch—either from Tuesdays to Fridays or from Mondays to Thursdays.
“Workers fought for the right to an eight-hour workday to protect [their] health. The four-day workweek is a direct attack on this hard-won victory of the international workers’ movement and shows how antiworker this government is,” KMU chair Elmer “Bong” Labog said.
He also took exception to proposals to implement the scheme in the private sector, warning that “some employers may take advantage of the opportunity to cut workers’ wages further.”
In a phone interview, Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) national president Ferdinand Gaite said the new work schedule would have a bad effect on their “work-life balance” as they would end up spending more hours at the office rather than with their families.
He also pointed out that government employees would be more vulnerable to criminals as they would be coming home from work late.
At the same time, the Courage official warned that the scheme may just reduce employees’ productivity. “According to studies, the more work hours increase, the more employee productivity and performance decrease,” he said.
He also noted that the four-day workweek, sometimes being implemented in the House of Representatives or the Senate, has proven to be “ineffective” in terms of public service delivery.
“It lessens opportunities for government transactions because even if [government agencies] extend work hours, people don’t go to the offices past 5 p.m. because they also need to go home,” Gaite said.
He also pointed out that there was no concrete empirical data to show that the scheme would ease traffic, noting that most government employees use public transport.
On the other hand, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino welcomed the CSC’s move, saying he had pushed for the new work schedule earlier this year.
“The scheme will be beneficial to the public as it will redound to [fewer] commuters, pedestrians and… vehicles on our road networks,” he said, adding, “Employees can also enjoy longer family time with their three days off.”–With a report from Maricar B. Brizuela
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