By ALDWIN QUITASOL
MANKAYAN, Benguet — The Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo) is removing 140 regular employees due to inefficiency, however the Lepanto Employees Union-National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (LEU-NAFLU-KMU) says it has something to do with the emergence of a new investor.
“Saan a kapapati ti ibagbaga ti management a saanen a kasapulan dagiti laing dagiti ikkaten da bayat tuloy met tipanagala da kadagiti kontraktuwal ken ti panagayab da ti ganganaet nga imbestor,” (We do not believe the claims of the management that skills of those who will be removed are no longer needed as they keep on hiring new contractual workers and encouraging the entry of a foreign investor) Binhaon said.
Binhaon said LCMCo’s Vice President of Operations Engr. Magellan Bagayao’s pronouncements during a dialogue between the management and the workers are contradictory to company’s reason for retrenching the said number of workers.
“Kunakunada nga inefficiency, santo kunada manen nga awan makaartap kadagiti kinalaing dagiti ikkaten da,” (Earlier they said inefficiency was the reason why they are laying off the workers, later they say that the skills of those they will retrench are exemplary) Binhaon lamented.
In the said dialogue, Bagayao assured the workers that this will be the last lay off this year in the presence of the Lepanto Security Force Union-NAFLU-KMU and the Lepanto Local Staff Union (LLSU) in the General Office of the Lepanto Mine Division.
According to Binhaon, Bagayao said that those essential workers being included in the retrenchment are irreplaceable especially that their skills are contributing much in the company’s production. He added that Bagayao said the retrenchment of the skilled and experienced workers would adversely affect production.
Binhaon stressed that Bagayao’s statement is alarming as the adverse effect of the retrenchment on production could be another reason to retrench more workers.
“Kasla agururay kami manen a ti baro a bagyo a paumay,” (It seems that another storm is coming) Binhaon sighed.
Meanwhile, KMU-Cordillera said that the retrenchment is part of the company’s scheme to crash the established genuine, militant and nationalist union inside the mine camp.
“Daytoy nga addang ket panagpakapsut iti panagkaykaysa dagiti mangmangged ti Lepanto tapno nawaya da nga aramiden ti kaykayat da uray isu ti pakailugeslugesan dagiti karbengan dagiti mangmangged (This move is an attempt to weaken the unity of the workers of Lepanto so they can do whatever they want to the extent of seting aside the rights of the workers),” said Michael Cabangon of KMU-Cordillera.
According to Cabangon, 123 of the 140 workers to be removed are rank-and-file underground and surface workers union members.
In this regard, Binhaon said that the officers will present to the members of the union the proposal of filing a Notice of Strike (NOS) before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) of the Department of Labor and Employment-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOLE-CAR).
According to Binhaon, the said retrenchment is a form of union busting as it is a violation to their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the company.
Binhaon also said that they will discuss with the general assembly actions they will take. Also, especially that there is still the settlement of unpaid back wages of five months, the liabilities of the company to their unpaid Pag-ibig and Social Security System (SSS) premiums amounting to several millions. Months ago, the LCMCo requested condonement from the SSS of its 39 million unremitted SSS payments.
“Mangged kami tapno adda ipakan mi kadagiti pamilya mi, isu nga aramiden mi ti rumbeng tapno met a protektaran mi ti panagtegged mi,” (We are working to feed our families, so we have the right to protect our work tenure) ended Binhaon. # nordis.net