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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Labor chief tells government workers rightsizing not outright cuts

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The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Sunday urged state workers not to be rattled by the government’s rightsizing plan for the bureaucracy, saying this did not necessarily mean cutbacks in the public labor force.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said rightsizing also connotes simplifying office procedures and can involve transferring personnel from one office to another to make the system more effective.

In the private sector where he came from, Laguesma said rightsizing means streamlining of processes and structural reforms.

“When you talk of streamlining, it’s all about making work in a business easier and fruitful. On the other hand, structural reforms imply changes to the way the government works. I don’t see downsizing of the workforce in those definitions,” he said.

Laguesma called for calm among public servants who fear of losing their jobs because of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) proposal since increasing the number of jobless Filipinos is not the goal of the government.

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“Let’s be more positive with rightsizing where the possibility of transferring or even hiring of more people by a government with lots of tasks to perform is very high,” Laguesma added.

Pushed by the DBM last week, the rightsizing proposal triggered talk of massive retrenchment among government workers, immediately drawing the ire of labor groups describing the plan as ill-timed and ill-motivated.

At any rate, Laguesma said DOLE would remain faithful in its mandate to promote the welfare of workers both in the private and public sectors.

“Whatever happens, DOLE will always champion the security and safety of our workers, whether they are government servants or employees of private institutions,” Laguesma said.

But Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro on Sunday said reducing the size of the government bureaucracy would only cause massive layoffs and more contractual workers in the government.

She hit the DBM proposal to rightsize the bureaucracy, saying this would only lead to mass layoffs, retrenchment and displacement, and worsen the problem of contractualization.

“The rightsizing of national government agencies is no different from the rationalization schemes of past administrations, which caused untold damage to government workers and to public service,” she added.

“Through this proposal, government agencies will hire more and more personnel on contracts of service and job orders who will not be considered government employees and will not be paid the salaries and job security as such,” she said.

Citing the Inventory of Government Human Resources, as of Aug. 31, she said there are 582,378 contracts of service or job order personnel out of the 2,337,802 government employees.

“The Department of Budget and Management already knows that this proposal will affect 2 million government employees. The agency wants to save P14 billion in exchange for the jobs and security of tenure of 2 million Filipinos that would be affected by this proposal,” she said.

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