The economic downturn is hitting us hard. Really hard.
Personally, I think that nothing can be felt harder than the way it's hitting the manufacturing industries.
For the past two weeks, we the factory workers, have been exchanging news with each other about which factory is closing down or which factory is doing retrenchment and which factory is moving is operation to other lower overhead countries such as Vietnam and China.
Among the measures taken by some companies are "forcing" employees to work 3 or 4-day week with unpaid leaves, shutting down for 2 straight weeks and one major big player even closed down for the whole December.
The factory I'm working for is notorious for its tighten-your-belt stinginess. We don't get various types of allowances like workers in other factories. All we have is our below standard basic salaries and many heavily depend on Overtime claims and 7-7 shifts for extra money. The management has managed to keep the overhead cost in control that way so that in bad times, workers are not retrenched and we have never missed our annual bonus even though they once cut it to only 1/2month. Well, some companies don't pay bonuses at all. So, we are still OK.
However, the current global financial crisis is sweeping the market like a giant tidal wave, my colleagues are now forced to return to normal working hours in addition to OT cut starting on 1st December. It wasn't easy for me to announce this to my subordinates in our morning meeting yesterday as some of them have families and loans to take care of. The operator level are worst-hit as their salary is on daily basis and would total up to around merely USD100 per month on normal working hours. Paltry....paltry.....paltry pay.
This Saturday 29th November has been scheduled as a normal working day in the factory calendar and today, after much debating, the management has decided to "force" us all to take leave as nearly 80% of our Production lines won't be operating. Only those who are directly involved with the Aircond products are allowed to work as normal.
Needless to say, after much holding back, I was finally forced to take leave along with all my subordinates.
Well, at these times, knowing many are in danger of losing their employment, we are grateful just to have a job. At least, we still have a job.