Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday praised  the management of the country’s largest book seller, National Bookstore, Inc., (NBS) and its union, the Alliance of Concerned Employees of National Bookstore, for their openness and maturity which had led them to successfully settle a labor dispute among themselves with the assistance of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB).

Citing a report of NCMB Executive Director Reynaldo R. Ubaldo submitted through Labor Undersecretary Rebecca C. Chato, head of the DOLE’s Labor Relations Cluster, Baldoz said  it took only the NCMB two conciliation-mediation conferences in less than a month to resolve the dispute.

“The willingness of the disputing parties to go into a constructive engagement to settle their differences, with the facilitative assistance of the NCMB, resulted to the amicable settlement. This restored the harmonious labor-management relationship in the company which is good for both sides,” said Baldoz.

The NBS union, Alliance of Concerned Employees of National Bookstore, affiliated with the National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU) and headed by union president Arnulfo Pardo, is the sole and exclusive bargaining agent of NBS’s 900 rank-and-file employees. It filed a Notice of Strike against the company on 11 September for unfair labor practice, specifically, the dismissal of 20 union members and 10 union officers and misinterpretation of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provision on retirement.

The NCMB speedily acted on the dispute and, following two conciliation-mediation conferences, both management and union mutually agreed on 30 September to settle by adopting the proposal of NCMB Board’s NCMB-National Capital Region conciliator-mediator Jay Jasper B. Javines, to wit:

“(a) The employees who are 60 years of age with 35 years of service shall be retired in  accordance with the law and granted the benefits provided for in the CBA.  Further,  service award shall also be given to qualified employees, and the Christmas bonus shall  be computed on a pro-rata basis up to 2 October 2013, which is the efffectivity of the  retirement; and,

“(b) Those not covered [by item (a)] shall be subject to continuing consultations and  discussions between the union and the management at plant level.”

The National Bookstore, the largest bookstore chain in the Philippines, is headed President Alfredo Ramos and employs about 1,000 employees in all its branches.

Baldoz also commended conciliator-mediator Javines for facilitating the speedy settlement of the dispute.

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