In Davao City, industrial peace restored at box manufacturing firm after NCMB resolves PM case through conciliation-mediation Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced that the National Conciliation and Mediation Board Regional Office No. 11 has resolved the dispute between the management of Mindanao Corrugated Fibreboard, Inc. and its union, Mincor Independent Workers Union-APL-SENTRO, through conciliation-mediation. “I commend the union and the management of Mindanao Corrugated Fibreboard, Inc. for coming to an agreement, thereby ending their dispute. This is a boon to industrial harmony in the company,” Baldoz said after receiving a report on the settlement from Ma. Theresa Francisco, NCMB Regional Office No. 11 officer-in-charge. The case arose when the union filed a preventive mediation case against the management on 24 April 2014 on the ground of unfair labor practice, specifically, bargaining in bad faith. The union, led by union president, Joel M. Banas. represented 42 union members for collective bargaining purposes. According to Francisco, the parties have been negotiating their CBA for four months, with each party making proposals and counterproposals, but still the negotiation ended in deadlock , particularly on the following issues: scope of bargaining unit; employment status of employee; union security clause; payment of check-off and agency fee. On 28 April, at a preliminary conference that Francisco facilitated, the parties discussed both the economic and non-economic provisions of their collective bargaining agreement. However, the parties did not arrive at a settlement. The union, she said, alleged that the company’s management was slow and uncompromising in its dealing with the union, particularly in negotiating the terms of their CBA at the plant level. Disappointed at the outcome, the management said the union was the one guilty of bargaining in bad faith, as it said it has already expressed its willingness and full cooperation to methodically discuss at the plant level all issues and to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement. A breakthrough came when the management requested the union to send a representative who has the full authority to negotiate at the plant level. At a conference on 5 May, the parties manifested that there were improvements on some provisions of the non-economic benefits of the new CBA. The management said the improved provisions will be reviewed by its lawyer, and promised to submit them on 7 May or earlier. At another conciliation conference on 8 May, the union still expressed dissatisfaction with the management’s proposal, and even accused the management of insincerity in settling the dispute. Francisco, with the assistance of conciliator-mediator Aerrine Marie Reyes, pushed for further plant-level negotiation. Finally, the union agreed to a four-day plant level discussion and a two-days-a-week negotiation until 31 May. On this, the management pleaded for one meeting on the first week and two meetings on the succeeding weeks in order not to disturb a scheduled plant audit. Thus, both parties agreed to discussions on the 22nd, 26th and 29th of May 2014. With the agreement, the PM case was deemed settled effective 5 May. Secretary Baldoz, in congratulating the NCMB for its adept handling of the case, said: “I am pleased that the NCMB continues to harness the conciliation-mediation mechanism to settle labor disputes. It is really an effective tool to avoid prolonged and expensive litigation which harms workers and management.” END/ Stella P. Bañares

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