Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel has challenged the Philippines’ top retailers to follow in the footsteps of America’s Walmart Inc., which has hired some 200,000 new temporary or part-time workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We would urge our leading supermarket and minimart chains – since they are the only ones thriving for now – to stay open for longer hours and start hiring on a temporary or part-time basis furloughed employees from other industries,” Pimentel said.
“This way, retailers can also help ease the economic pain of the crisis as they grapple with the surge in households stocking up on food and other basic necessities,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel addressed his challenge to SM Retail Inc., Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc., Cosco Capital Inc., Philippine Seven Corp. and other big retailers.
SM Retail owns SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket and the Savemore chains.
Robinsons Retail runs Robinsons Supermarket, The Marketplace, Rustan’s Supermarket, Shopwise, Ministop, Southstar Drug, and The Generics Pharmacy chains.
Cosco owns the Puregold, S&R, NE Bodega, Budgetlane and Lawson chains, while Philippine Seven runs the 7-Eleven stores.
“Retailers ought to enlarge their operations and recruit additional cashiers, stockers and baggers to work in stores as well as extra personnel for warehousing, distribution and delivery activities,” Pimentel said.
“The private sector has to help government keep as many Filipinos as possible gainfully employed at this extremely difficult time,” Pimentel said.
“We have to keep as much cash as possible flowing into low-income households,” Pimentel said.
Besides keeping all its staff on the payroll and giving them $550 million worth of bonuses for staying on the job despite the pandemic, Walmart – America’s largest grocer – quickly enlisted thousands of temporary and part-time workers by reducing its hiring process to just 24 hours.
Many of the new workers signed up by Walmart are on unpaid leave from restaurants and hotels in America that have been hammered by the pandemic./Stacy Ang