MANKAYAN, Benguet (Oct. 26) — The National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (Naflu-KMU) criticized the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo) for delaying the release of mineworkers’ wages.
In its dialog with Lepanto Employees Union (LEU) officials on October 25, LCMCo management admitted that workers’ wages would be delayed this month. A company representative reportedly said it could not pay workers on time because of the late payment of gold buyers and that the company is prioritizing the payment to its creditors.
Naflu-KMU Regional Coordinator James Tulipa said the company’s reasons for the delay of mineworkers’ wages is unacceptable. “Workers’ wages should not be used for other purposes,” he stressed.
Tulipa disclosed the delay in wages started on October 5. He said workers usually get their pay every 10 days but this month, it was delayed for one to three days.
He added Lepanto Rank and File Employees Union-National Mine and Allied Workers Union-International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mines and General Workers’ Union (LRFEU-NAMAWU-ICEM) filed a petition for Certification Election (PCE) against the incumbent Lepanto Employees Union (LEU-NAFLU-KMU) on October 5.
KMU in a statement criticized the delay of wages as unreasonable and a harassment against workers as they are again entering into a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), through LEU, with the management.
Prior to the system of the gold selling, the company has already a way of paying its debts and paying the wages of its workers.
According to KMU, the company’s production never ceased since the 2005 workers’ strike was lifted. The company’s budget for the year 2007 actually comes from the earnings on the year 2006. LCMCo has retained earnings which includes accumulated gains from its operations of P1, 096,237,000.
From this study, KMU said that the company is not being fair to the workers and that they should be paid on time, after all they are the ones who worked so hard for the company to profit.
The KMU also said the company is ungrateful to its workers for passing on the burden of paying the company’s debts.
“The workers have already done their part by digging the gold ore, processing them and running the production process. The company has also its obligation to give the workers what is due to them” the statement pointed out. # Aldwin Quitasol for NORDIS