Shortage of workers

THE boom in construction has led to a shortage of skilled workers, a constuction firm has noted.

This was what Albert Ignacio, president and chief operating officer of Aboitiz Construction Inc. (ACI), the building and construction arm of the Aboitiz Group, revealed in a press conference.

“Ang problema namo karon, tawo. We’re struggling. You’ll be surprised that for projects in Manila, we have to get people from Cagayan, from Butuan, from Bukidnon and that’s how difficult it is to get people now,” he said.

Around 3,000 skilled workers like welders, carpenters and engineers are needed for ACI’s ongoing expansion.

Ignacio noted that there are small contractors who do not pay the right wages to skilled workers.

“Some local companies would actually offer signing bonus. The piracy, the poaching is very blatant, very glaring and that’s a very big problem in the construction industry,” he said.

But with the constant audit of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Ignacio hopes more companies comply with labor laws, especially when it comes to workers’ benefits.

ACI is currently working on 800 housing units for Aboitizland in the town of Compostela, among other big projects like the construction of ports, power plants and malls around the country.

They are also set to open a training school in their office in Mandaue City for welders to fill the gaps of the industry.

Zenaida Novabos, vice president for strategic business planning, said that around one-third of their workforce or around 2, 000 come from the Visayas.

“The jobs that we create are definitely a plus and we could even have more with the expansion,” Novabos said. JOB


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