Mabuhay to Mabuhay!

The latter refers to Mabuhay Vinyl Corporation (MVC), which is one of the country’s biggest producer and supplier of liquid chlorine based in Iligan City.

The company, which carries with its name the Filipino’s universal greeting of Mabuhay (or Long Live), has sustained its success as a corporation due remarkably to its efforts to promote harmony and cooperation with labor. Indeed, the company is living up to its name.

Unknown to many, Mabuhay attributes its growth to the vibrant, vigorous interaction of its workers and management made possible through its Industrial Peace Council (IPC)–treating the prized IPC as a crown, a clinching element, in its endurance, viability, and productivity for some 70 years now. For its accomplishment as a channel for labor-management cooperation (LMC), Mabuhay’s IPC was cited as an outstanding LMC in 2003.

Even as the nation prepares for a new, year-round Search for the 2005 Outstanding LMC Awards for Industrial Peace that will culminate on November, it remembers how Mabuhay has helped in staying the course of industrial peace via its IPC unwaveringly.

Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas said the LMC is a cutting-edge tool in shaping excellent work sites at par with, and as competitive as, the best in today’s global economy. Sto. Tomas remarked that LMCs boost industrial peace, which sustain job-friendly business operations, and expansion.

She noted that LMCs help prevent strikes, adding that as a consequence, “we have reduced the incidence of strikes in the Philippines by 96 percent, or nearly 100 percent, from a glaring high of 581 in 1986 to only 25 last year.”

“We have a relative success in bequeathing to mature and responsible unions and management the benefits of a Constitutionally-guaranteed industrial democracy– but where do we go from here?” she asked.

“To move forward, we need to push further the best forms of interaction and productive relations between the two economic partners, the workforce and the management, which is the heart of the matter,” she said.

“And thus,” Sto. Tomas said, “in the new millennium, we shall be needing, indispensably, model firms like MVC that will champion productive cooperation, and pave the way for the growth of opportunities for the workers.”

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Undersecretary for labor relations Manuel G. Imson said the Outstanding LMC Awards for Industrial Peace is to be conferred again to companies with outstanding LMCs on November this year, showcasing productive labor and management cooperation which boosts jobs and other opportunities for our workers.

He said the Awards was launched by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) in coordination with the Philippine League of Labor Management Cooperation Practitioners, Inc. (PHILAMCOP) to encourage responsible unionism and recognize Labor Management Councils/Committees that have greatly improved plant level labor relations for the mutual benefit of stakeholders.

According to Imson, the submission of applications/nominations to the NCMB shall proceed from March 1 to May 16, followed by the screening of entries/selection of semi-finalists from May 23 to June 30, the selection of winners from July 1 to September 30, final interviews by the Board of Judges on October 5, and finally, the Awarding of winners on a scheduled day in November 2005.

Since 1987, the number of LMCs grew from 44 to 915 in 2004.

Mabuhay swiftly adopted the advantages of LMC, going on to rename its council in 1992 as the Industrial Peace Council or IPC with a vision to bind labor and management cohesively to achieve a quality work life for all via a continuous process of people involvement, unlimited participation, and development.

As a result of the active espousal and practice of LMC, harmony and industrial peace not only benefited the workers but also the surrounding community. MVC’s presence in Iligan City is in fact synonymous with the city’s growth as one of southern Philippines’ premiere cities. The firm first set up shop there in 1965 with an original 50 employees, and in one of its recent moves, invested towards a significant expansion in 2002 regenerating the city’s economy.

With LMC actively in motion at Mabuhay, a stream of concrete accomplishments resulting in better workers and management relations, the company’s successful passing of International Standards Organization (ISO) surveillance, proactive pre-collective bargaining efforts, provision of educational loans for employees and their families, sustained resolution of issues, anti-child labor efforts, and pro-poor, socially-responsible commitment to the surrounding communities.

The IPC is made up of the firm’s VP for manufacturing, managers, the rank-and-file and supervisory unions’ respective presidents, and two representatives from each department.

The Council has organized four significant committees, namely the committees on 1) the promotion of industrial peace, 2) employee empowerment, 3) responsible parenthood, and 4) environmental concerns. Their objectives fully complemented the company’s mission-vision founded on the core values of God-Centeredness, Service, Integrity, Teamwork, Excellence, and Social Responsibility.

Via these committees, the IPC aims to a) foster harmonious relations; b) develop mutual respect and teamwork among employees; c) stimulate employees’ participation in solving work problems; d) instill the importance of customer satisfaction; e) develop commitment to safety and quality awareness at all levels of the organization; and, f) maintain non-adversarial relations based on mutual understanding and trust.

To accomplish the objectives, meetings allowing for open discussions of issues and paving the road to consensus were scheduled at least once a week by the IPC, which also lined up regular activities including information dissemination on various labor-management concerns; the resolution of issues; and the setting up of priorities to accomplish continuous improvement.

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