The labor row at the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) will be resolved soon after conflicting parties submitted their respective position papers to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas disclosed recently.

Sto. Tomas was the guest at Tuesday evening’s Network Forum program hosted by Cerge Remonde aired over NBN 4 television network.

She said during the program that representatives from CAT management and Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) have already met four times in an effort to reach an agreement after the DOLE mediated between the parties.

“We asked both parties to submit their respective position papers, and hopefully we’ll be able to decide on the case before the week ends,” Sto. Tomas said.

The case involving another workers’ union in Hacienda Luisita, the United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU), has been scheduled for hearing at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) on January 18 and 20, 2005.

Asked by Remonde on what should be done to avoid a labor-management confrontation like the Luisita incident from happening in the future, Sto. Tomas cited continuous dialogue as one of the key factors.

“Huwag tayong bibitiw sa pakikipag-usap, lalo na iyong dalawang panig, kasi babalik din lang pala sa usapan, kakalas ka at mag-i-strike ka muna. Walang dahilan para pumasok tayo sa ganoong sitwasyon.”

“Secondly, good faith on the part of both parties. In a muddled situation, workers would hurt, management would hurt, yet in the end, it will all boil down to the resumption of talks. So why not just settle everything peacefully?”

Sto. Tomas also emphasized that workers, employers, and government are all involved in the entire negotiation process.

“Ang sakit ng kalingkingan, dama ng buong katawan. Kaya walang dahilan bakit di natin sama-samang hanapan ng solusyon ito.”

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