Soldiers’ pension fund officials accused of union-busting

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Friday, November 11, 2011


OFFICIALS of the Armed Force and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AFPSLAI), which includes the Philippines' Armed Forces chief, have been accused of union busting for terminating 15 union officers illegally.

Members of the AFPSLAI Employees' Association (AEA) have filed a complaint of grave coercion, slander by deed, unjust vexation, and violations of the labor code against Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Eduardo Oban Jr., and other AFPSLAI officials at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Oban sits as chairman of the AFPSLAI, a private non-stock and non-profit savings and loan association that handles soldiers' pensions.

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"They didn't remove just one or two, they removed all the union officials," Michael Mella, the union's lawyer, told reporters.

AEA held a "peaceful lunchtime picketing" from October 26 to November 3, 2009 that the AFPSLAI reported to the National Labor Relations Commission as an illegal strike.

The NLRC sided with AFPSLAI in August 2010 but the union appealed and won the case in November that year.

The AFPSLAI appealed that decision again, and the NLRC Fourth Division ruled in its favor in July. That led to the termination of 15 union officers. The union said, however, that the officers had been fired while their second appeal was still pending.

The NLRC decided in September that what happened was not a strike but just "lunch-time picketing."

"The respondents' act of dismissing us smacks of bad faith and harassment," the union's complaint read, saying the issue had not yet been decided with finality when their officers were fired. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)

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