Labor and Employment Secretary Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed relief and satisfaction after she witnessed the signing of an agreement between the management of Nestle Philippines, Inc. and a group of 112 former employees of the company’s Cabuyao Factory that spells out the terms and conditions finally closing a long-running industrial dispute that arose from a deadlock in the negotiations of the collective bargaining agreement way back in 2001.
John Martin Miller, Nestle Philippines, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, signed the agreement on behalf of the management, while Jose Noel Alemania signed on behalf of the 112 former employees under the Union of Filipino Employee Drug, Food and Allied Industries Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (UFE-DFA-KMU).
Also signing the agreement were the counsels of both parties, Atty. Jacinto R. dela Rosa, Jr. for Nestle Philippines, Inc., and Atty. Remegio Saladero for the UFE-DFA-KMU. The following signed as witnesses: BLR Officer-in-Charge Romeo Montefalco, Jr.; NCMB Executive Director Reynaldo R. Ubaldo (in behalf of Undersecretary Rebecca C. Chato); DOLE Region 4A Director Ma. Zenaida Eusebia A. Campita; Nestle Philippines Inc., HR Director Carmen Melissa F. Antonio; Atty. Ria T. Viesca of Dela Rosa & Nograles Law Office; Ms. Luz Fortuna, Mr. Vicente Batayon, Mr. Isagani Alcasabas, Mr. Reynaldo Batitis, Mr. Noel Adia, Mr. Teodoro Mendoza, Mr. Mariolito Malabuyoc, and Mr. Edwin Bermudez of UFE-DFA-KMU; and Mr. Roger Soluta, Secretary General of KMU.
The agreement is the “out-of-the-box” solution initiated and facilitated by the DOLE to solve the drawn-out case that has attracted so much attention, has reached the International Labour Organization (ILO), and was one of the agenda items of the 2009 ILO High Level Mission to the Philippines.
The labor dispute at the company that started in 2002 had resulted to the dismissal and filing of criminal charges against several Nestle workers. It also led to other alleged violations of freedom of association.
“Given the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the validity of the dismissal of the workers, we have, at the DOLE, explored possible out-of-the-box solutions pursuant to the recommendations of the 2009 ILO High Level Mission,” said Baldoz.
The agreement include, among others, the availment by the former employees of financial assistance extended by Nestle and the setting up of a Livelihood Program for the dismissed employees, where the company and the DOLE shall co-share the financial requirements of the same.
On its part, the DOLE facilitated the NBI clearances of the dismissed workers and granted Isabelo delos Reyes Scholarship, under the DOLE Workers Organization and Development Program (WODP), to the dismissed workers’ qualified dependents.
“With the agreement and these other out-of-the-box solutions, it is my sincere hope that we can put this issue behind us now and move ahead after learning and harking to the lessons we have learned,” Baldoz said, finally.