Philex union gears for local elections
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Union members of the Philex Rank-and-File Employees Union-Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (PRFEU-ALU-TUCP) in Philex Mines, Padcal, Tuba, Benguet are gearing for a petition for local election (LE) as they find their union officers not helpful to them.
According to mine worker Moses Fernandez, they have lost confidence in the union interim officers. He said that since they were appointed by the national office of ALU-TUCP in August 2010, they have yet to prove their leadership to the members. But until now, he continued that workers have barely felt the presence of these officers.
The only general membership assembly the officers initiated he said was when they let the union members ratify the first Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the union and Philex Mining Corporation (PMC). He also said that the CBA negotiation seem to have even been kept secret that the members were only informed that there was such when they came to know about the ratification. He said the union also did not ever consult the members on the union’s CBA proposals so that they can also suggest matters that will be beneficial to the members.
Fernandez said PRFEU got the union leadership after beating the National Mines and Allied Unions(Namawu) -local 101 in the Certification Election (CE) on July 19, 2010.
According to him, the union officers are silent on every issue that affects the union members. He said there were many labor cases that were not being attended to by the officials. The officers only promised their members that they are following up the cases. He added that there were members who were unjustly terminated by the company and yet the union made no appropriate actions.
Fernandez also complained that the officers are letting their members sign a blank paper without any cover letter or letter head. He said that when they asked what is the signing all about, the officers told them that it is for their back pay from their retroactive benefits indicated in the first CBA of PRFEU and PMC to be released.
But when he demanded and read a letter from the officers who were letting them sign, he observed that the letter stated that it is an acknowledgment that they had already received their benefits. He said this was suspicious.
Fernandez said further that they are demanding for their copies of the CBA. But they were only told by the union that there was only one copy. He said the members have the right to be given copies and know the content of the CBA.
“Itatta nga agsagsagana ti unyon para iti renegosasyon nu next year para iti nabatbati a dua a tawen ti CBA, kayat mi a sukatan dagidiay opisyales mi ta awanen talek mi kada isuda,” (Now that the union is preparing for a renegotiation next year for the last two years of the CBA, we want to change our leaders because we do not trust them anymore) Fernandez said in Iloko. He added that when their petition for local elections will materialize, they will see to it that they will campaign hard for the leaders they find trustworthy. # nordis.net