Monday, 7 December 2009

Strike notices down by almost a quarter

Alria M. Ventanilla

Notices of strike filed with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) in the 11 months to November dropped by almost a quarter from the same period last year.

Preliminary data from the NCMB showed a total of 258 new strike notices were filed from January to November 15 against 335 last year.

The total number of workers involved in new cases during the period dropped by 16% to 58,966 from 70,347 a year ago.

The fresh filing brought to 299 the total notices of strikes being handled by the state labor arbiter, including 41 holdover cases from last year.

But out of that number, only four materialized into a full-blown strike or lockout: the Laguna-based Asia Brewery, Inc. in February; Mandaue-based furniture maker R&Y Augousti, Inc. in March; concrete manufacturer Remicon, Inc. in Mandaue last July; and Agusan Milling Phils., Inc. also in July.

Three of these labor disputes were settled amicably, while the NCMB assumed jurisdiction over the bargaining deadlock involving Asia Brewery.

The NCMB disposed of 83% of the 299 cases, leaving 52 pending.

“Companies and union officials were able to settle or dispose by means of withdrawal, grievance machinery or labor management cooperation,” an NCMB officer said.

Collective bargaining agreements of these settled cases involved benefits worth P1.1 billion while separation and restitution packages amounted to P158.5 million, the NCMB said in a report.

New preventive mediation cases filed during the period slipped by 12.3% to 422 from 481. Carry-over cases from last year counted, the total number of preventive mediation cases reached 473.

“Cumulative monetary benefits as a result of settlement of collective bargaining deadlock issues were computed at P70 million, benefiting 1,621 workers,” the NCMB said in a report. “Cumulative separation and restitution packages amounting to P56 million were also facilitated, benefiting 937 workers.”

The NCMB is an agency under the Labor department tasked to formulate policies for labor dispute settlement.

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