Miners slam former employer, slow court case

FORMER employees of the Maricalum Mining Corp. in Sipalay City have
expressed their displeasure over the lack of resolution of the case they filed against the company that has been pending since 1997.

In a press conference held in Bacolod City on Wednesday, March 16, members of the National Mines and Allied Workers Union (Namawu) in Sipalay City, also accused the company president, Abraham Javier, of unscrupulous acts during their time working for the company.

Namawu Local 103 Secretary Ricardo Divinagracia Jr. said the case filed by 254 retrenched workers against the company stemmed from a negotiation for a wage increase that was conducted with the assistance of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).

Instead of presenting a counter-offer, the company terminated the employment of the miners, Divinagracia said.

The miners then filed a case against Maricalum with the Department of Labor and Employment, which they won. The company, however, elevated the case to the Supreme Court, which issued a restraining order.

After almost two decades, the miners were still waiting for the court’s decision.

The miners also said that Javier also acted in an unfair manner. They cited that Javier agreed to allow the workers to haul scrap metal from the mine to be sold, with the proceeds going to him for distribution to retrenched miners.

None of the money reached the retrenched miners, they said.

Divinagracia also said that Javier kept the miners’ passbooks and automated teller machine cards.

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