The long drawn labor case involving Rubberworld Philippines Inc., and its workers’ union was finally settled, the labor department reported over the weekend.

“The settlement was efficiently facilitated and the parties agreed to settle after more than two decades,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said.

With Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod acting as intervenor, Rubberworld liquidator Danilo Concepcion agreed to pay the union’s money claims amounting to P28,090,648.97 for the 718 workers of the Lingkod Manggagawa Sa Rubberworld, Adidas-Anglo (LMRAA).

The settlement came after three conciliation conferences facilitated by Maglunsod who is in charge of labor relations, and the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.

“The case took a long time and I’m relieved that Rubberworld finally agreed to pay its workers. Back in 1994, the company had severe financial crisis resulting to termination of employment, and these money claims are just the payment of their separation pay,” Maglunsod said.

In September 1994, union president Sonia Esperanza filed a complaint against Rubberworld and its Vice Chairperson, Antonio Yang, for unfair labor practice, illegal shutdown, and non-payment of salaries and separation pay.

The National Labor Relations Commission then ordered the reinstatement of the terminated union members or the payment of separation pay equivalent to one month for every year of service. But the company, then located at Barangay Talipapa, Novaliches, Quezon City, filed a petition with the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court claiming that the NLRC decision was erroneous since the company was under liquidation.

Both the appellate court and the SC ruled it was the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) that has jurisdiction over the workers’ claim. After proper proceedings, SEC ordered the payment of gratuity pay to workers pursuant to their collective bargaining agreement.

 

But only the members of Bisig Pagkakaisa-NAFLU, the other workers’ union of Rubberworld, received their share while the members of LMRAA held pickets and protests at the SEC after they did not receive any of their money claims.

 

“Ang tagal nang proseso na dinaanan ng papel namin. Biruin mo, halos dalawang dekadang nagpabalik-balik ang documents namin sa Supreme Court at Court of Appeals. Halos napudpod na tsinelas naming kaka-follow up. ‘Yung ibang members namin, hindi na rin umaasa pero hindi kami sumusuko,” LMRAA Vice President Bernardo Permejo said.

 

Esperanza raised their issue with Maglunsod a few months ago prompting the latter to facilitate conciliation conferences which resulted to the settlement.

 

“Malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa DOLE, lalo na kay Undersecretary Maglunsod. Sa tagal nang pakikipaglaban namin para sa aming karapatan, ngayon lang kami nagtagumpay,” Esperanza said.

The workers will start receiving their separation benefits before Labor Day.

 

###Abegail De Vega

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