3 unions in Davao file strike notice

DAVAO CITY -- At least three unions of companies in Davao filed a strike notice before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) regional office because of deadlock in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations and unfair labor practice.

Kilusang Mayo Uno regional chair Romualdo Basilio said members of RMN Davao Employees Union (RDEU), Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Filport (Namafil) and Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm-Packing Plant 90 of Sumifru, Philippines will soon conduct the strike balloting, part of the process to be observed by a union after filing a notice of strike.

Union leaders and members of a media network, port services and banana packing plant trooped to NCMB regional office in Davao City on Monday to invite the agency's representatives to observe the conduct of strike balloting of their respective union.

A majority approval of the union members is needed to give way for the strike.

Basilio said that after eight meetings with the management negotiating panel, the CBA talks came to a deadlock when Radio Mindanao Network’s management stood pat in its decision not to give a salary increase to their employees for a period of two years.

"The management reasoned that they are suffering financial losses for the past year," he said.

But RDEU president Rey Hernan Fabe said "we have data to show the company (RMN) has a monthly sales amounting to P18 million."

"Even the company's website revealed that it is enjoying the biggest audience share in local radio stations and its numerous advertisements can prove that it is not losing financially," Fabe said.

The total amount of salary increase for all workers at RMN Davao that the union proposed is only pegged at P99,000 per month.

Aside from a two-year salary moratorium, the management, said Fabe, also denied other economic benefits that the union proposed like the free meal, rice subsidy and allowances.

Meanwhile, Arnold Colong, Namafil treasurer, said they have also filed a strike notice last September 28 on the basis of alleged unfair labor practice.

Colong said it was the second time that they have filed a notice of strike this year; first was on last May when 84 of their members were prevented to work by the Filipinas Port Services Inc. management because the workers have filed a regularization case before the National Labor Relations Commission.

After the settlement was reached, the previous planned strike was aborted and their union stood on the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that was inked by the union and the management.

But even with the agreement signed by both parties, Colong said the management allegedly violated the provisions of the agreement.

He said the management violated the no retaliatory acts resolution in the MOA because the latter dismissed 13 union members based on trumped up charges and their union president Alex Tuazon received a demotion letter.

"This time around we are bent on launching the strike because we have no other option to take, we have been in numerous dialogues with the management, we've been through preventive mediation at the NCMB that paved way of the MOA but still the management continued on its efforts to crush our union. We see that through our collective strength in staging the strike the management will be forced to abide the law," Colong said in a statement.

The banana workers at Packing Plant 90 of Sumifru Philippines are also on the bent of launching their strike anytime this month.

The Sumifru Philippines management allegedly denied the Bureau of Labor Relations’ (BLR) order declaring the former as the employer of the workers in the Packing Plant 90 and not the labor contractor as contested by the management.

Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm-Packing Plant 90, the workers union that was certified as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of the regular rank and file workers in Packing Plant 90, accused Sumifru of unfair labor practice because of its continued refusal to bargain collectively with the union.

Vicente Barrios, union president, clarified that after their union was declared as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative last year, they immediately passed their CBA proposals to the management.

"But until this date, the management refused to sit on the negotiating table and maintained its position that their employer-employee relationship case is still at the Court of Appeals," he said.

"BLR's decision is clear that Sumifru Phils is our employer and it is final and executory. Only a TRO from a court can prevent the implementation of the order in which case the management failed to acquire and they should abide that order even they appealed to the appellate court," Barrios added.

The three unions are all local affiliates of National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno, Basilio said. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Related story: Baguio Country Club workers prepare for strike