100 LRT workers lose jobs

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    Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC), operator of Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT-1), will lay off over 100 workers by next month due to the significant drop in ridership brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

    In a statement, LRMC said it will reduce its workforce by over 100 or close 20 percent of its current employees including tellers and supervisors, as it saw a 90 percent decline in passenger volume.

    “This decision went through multiple levels of approvals involving the LRMC senior management committee, in close consultation with LRMC’s employee union. The right-sizing program will take effect on September 15, 2020,” LRMC said.

    While LRMC scaled down operations during the quarantine period and deferred some projects, the company said it recognizes the need to optimize human resources by reducing the size of its workforce.

    This aims to right-size the organization to better suit the current and future business conditions, as well as maintain stability while navigating through the uncertainty of the global crisis, it added.

    The LRMC management has been closely monitoring the coronavirus pandemic situation from the start, saying it has been taking appropriate measures, balancing its financial position while looking after its team members.

    LRT-1 resumed operations last June after more than two months of suspension due to the community restrictions. Rail operations were suspended anew for two weeks this month.

    The operation of LRT-1 is also limited with only 12 percent capacity per train set, wherein 135 passengers will board 1st generation trains (42 standing, 93 sitting); 152 for the 2nd generation trains (40 standing, 112 sitting); and 188 passengers for the 3rd generation trains (48 standing, 140 sitting).

    To support and take care of affected employees, each of them will receive their rightful benefits under the law and even above what is in the existing collective bargaining agreement, LRMC said.

    On top of this, LRMC has partnered with Xcelarator Talent Solutions to assist affected members on livelihood and investing wisely. Webinars and online consultations on managing mental health will also be offered.

    Meanwhile, LRMC continues the construction works for the LRT-1 extension to Cavite. The project is still on track to start partial operations in 2021 despite the pandemic.

    As of July 30, 2020, the project has an overall progress rate of 48.32 percent. The project will lengthen the existing LRT-1 from Baclaran to Niog in Bacoor, Cavite, reducing travel time from Manila to Cavite from 1 hour and 10 minutes to only 25 minutes.