Radio, banana workers okay strike

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Saturday, October 8, 2011


UNION workers of a banana company and a radio network based in Davao City have agreed to hold a strike anytime soon based on the results of strike balloting conducted Friday.

Workers of RMN Davao Employees Union (RDEU) of the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN-Davao) and the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm-Packing (Namasupa) Plant 90 of Sumifru Philippines unanimously voted to stage a crippling labor strike.

Both unions earlier 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.

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Union leaders said operations of their respective companies are expected to be adversely affected once the strike pushes through.

At the protest rally in front of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) regional office Friday, Joel G. Virador, regional coordinator of the National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (Naflu-KMU) said that Namasupa and RDEU are now ready to hold the strike.

Namasupa and RDEU are both affiliates of Naflu. The group staged the protest rally in front of the NCMB regional office to denounce Philippine Airline's (PAL) spin-off.

"Scheduling na lang ang kulang kay napahigayon naman ang strike balloting sa Namasupa nga nag-resulta 71 yes to strike and 0 no to strike (It's a matter of scheduling the strike, as votes have been cast resulting to 71-0 in favor of 'yes to strike')," Virador said.

In another strike vote on Friday, 21 workers of RDEU all voted "yes" for the holding of a strike.

"Amo lang ni iagi ug proseso kay after sa pag-file namo ug NOS (notice of strike) ang proseso jud kay tagaan mi ug 37 days gikan sa among pag-file diha mi magdecide kanus-a namu sugdan ang welga (We will be following the process because after we filed the NOS, we are given 37 days, then we can go on with the strike)," Rey Hernan Fabe, president of RDEU told Sun.Star Davao in a telephone interview.

But he said they are still giving the RMN management until next week to negotiate with them over their demand for salary increase.

The CBA talks came to a deadlock when RMN management stood pat in its decision not to give a salary increase to their employees for a period of two years, saying the network is "suffering financial losses for the past year."

However, Fabe earlier 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," he 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, Fabe also accused the management of denying other economic benefits that the union proposed like the free meal, rice subsidy and allowances.

"Pagkahuman sa among last nga negotiation sa ilaha sunod semana ug walay mahitabo dili na jud mi makig-negotiate sa ila, basta i-agi lang namu ni sa proseso after 37 days ug wala jud mahitabo, magwelga nami (After giving them next week to negotiate, it will be the last. We will just follow the process after 37 days; if nothing happens, we will stage the strike," Fabe said.

Namasupa, on the other hand, 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 (Bureau of Labor Relations') 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 said.

The banana workers are also on the bent of launching their strike anytime this month.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 08, 2011.

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