[EDITORIALS]Glitches in workweekWhen banks gave the nod to union demands to reduce working hours beginning in July, the act signaled the beginning of the five-day workweek. Regardless of whether the negotiations at the Tripartite Commission between labor, management and government have failed, the introduction of the five-day workweek will gain momentum at individual workplaces, and the new schedule's influence on various aspects of people's lives, including leisure and culture, is expected to be significant.
The introduction of the five-day workweek by financial institutes is not in the correct sequence, however. Corporations should have begun the workweek first, and banks should have followed them. Another worrisome aspect is that a union has initiated action through collective negotiations and done so without revising the law or readjusting the number of public holidays.
Since banking is a vital service sector, financial institutions should not create confusion with other industries. Banks should try to minimize inconveniences possibly created by changes in practices. Financial institutions have denied any inconveniences as they planned things in advance, but revising existing rules on payment of public bills due Saturday and clearance of promissory notes, should be carefully supplemented.
It is the government's failure to induce an agreement on shorter working hours at the Tripartite Commission that prompted abnormal introduction of a shorter workweek. The business sector is feeling the pressure of a five-day workweek that is to be implemented by banks without their coordination. Confrontations between labor and management at workplaces will be troubling, and a shortage of labor at small and mid-size industries, which cannot afford the new system, will become more serious. It is desirable that the Tripartite Commission produce an agreement. Otherwise, the government should provide guidelines and countermeasures. The five-day workweek is a trend already irrevocable. But the system should not place an extra burden on industries or create unnecessary conflicts in those industries.
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