Tobacco firm laying off 300 workers at Marikina plant
Around 300 workers behind the production of cigarette brands like Marlboro will lose their jobs in April as part of the streamlining efforts of the country’s leading tobacco manufacturer and distributor. PMFTC Inc., the local affiliate of Philip Morris International, is targeting to let go of 303 workers in its plant in Marikina, according to a copy of a document seen by the Inquirer. The workers will first be given the option to volunteer for a separation package.
According to a September 2020 statement from the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), the Marikina plant has about 1,200 workers. Back then, Dole commended the facility for being a “model workplace during the pandemic” given its strict compliance to safety and health protocols.
A representative from PMFTC deferred from confirming or denying the number of workers to be laid off, although the company said everyone would be getting a generous separation package. Instead, the representative pointed to the company’s official statement on the issue. “In light of a steep decline in production volumes resulting in significant idle capacity at the Marikina plant, PMFTC Inc. confirms making the difficult decision to streamline its manufacturing operations that has been impacted by the market conditions over the past years,” it said.
With the economic challenges brought about by the pandemic, the company said its top concern was to ensure the welfare of our employees who are affected by this decision and it was working closely with them to provide the assistance they needed in this difficult time.
“This includes generous separation packages in excess of legal requirements and a viable care program to help them transition to other sources of livelihood,” it added.
Last January, the major shareholders of the company announced a merger. Lucio Tan’s LT Group Inc., which indirectly owns PMFTC through Fortune Tobacco Corp., will merge with Philip Morris Manufacturing Philippines Inc. PMFTC would be the surviving corporation effective this June.
In the same statement, the company said that it would shift its resources and additional investments from manufacturing to emerging ventures such as business process outsourcing (BPO).
“The reinvestments in the BPO industry will more than offset the streamlining at the Marikina plant with the opening of new job opportunities in the planned shared services and call centers within the next two years,” the company said.
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