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Strike looms at Carmen Copper

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The labor union of Carmen Copper Mining Corporation in Toledo City yesterday filed a notice of strike before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board-7, accusing the management of violating their Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Mark Cuizon, secretary of the Panaghiusa sa mga Mamumuo sa Carmen Copper-Association of Genuine Labor Organization, said the company did not adhere to the provisions stipulated under the CBA that they entered into in 2012.

Among the violations cited by Herbert Cabaluna, union’s vice president, are on the CBA provisions on the next of kin, on uniform, on job classification, on medicine allowance, on hiring of new workers, and alleged double standards in company policies. 

The union also accused the company of illegally terminating 30 regular employees and the non-regularization of 250 casual employees. The management was also accused of interference in the affairs of the union.

PAMCC also accused the management of union-busting by trying to organize its own union. The alleged company union however was cancelled and delisted from the roster of legitimate labor organizations by the Department of Labor and Employment in May 2013.

“It is our time to counter and fight back with all the means available to us. We will strike where it will hurt the most. We will respect the cooling-off period but after that we will hold a strike. This will be a winner take all battle, it’s either us who will surrender or them. This is our demand. We’ve been here before and we’ve done this before, PAMA then is the PAMCC now,” in a statement issued by the union.

“We have been negotiating with the management through the Local Management Relations Committee for fourteen (14) months but wala gyud mi nagkasinabot. Mao na nga the union decided to file this notice of strike,” Cuizon said during a press conference.

Cuizon vowed that the company’s operation will be affected as soon as the strike will push through after the cooling-off period because there are 3,020 union members.

He said the company ships to China three vessels of copper every month with an estimated income of P800 million per shipment.

According to Cuizon, majority of those who are working in the construction division are union members.

“The company now is in the expansion phase and they targeted this to be operational by March this year. I don’t think so, mahuman ni anang petsaha, if the strike pushes through,” he said.

The union was left with no option but to file a notice of strike due to the management’s alleged “intransigence, delaying tactic and bad fate putting the issues in protracted and tiring cycle of endless negotiations and renegotiations.”

“PAMCC is left with no option but to end the LMRC proceeding and elevate the issues to a higher level by filing the notice of strike before the NCMB,” the union resolution read.

Union officials have already notified the company officials on their decision to hold a strike. With the impending strike, Cuizon is still optimistic that the company and the union will be able to come up with an agreed terms within the 15-day cooling-off period.

After the cooling-off period, which started immediately upon filing of the notice of strike, Cuizon said they will launch start the strike if no settlement is reached.

The management has yet to issue a statement on the matter. Efforts were made yesterday to get the company’s reaction but no official is willing to issue a statement for the moment.

Most of the union officials were the same people behind the Panaghiusa sa mga Mamumuo sa Atlas (PAMA) that launched a crippling strike 14 years ago against Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. (ACMDC), which led to the eventual closure of the Asia’s largest copper mine. — /FPL (FREEMAN)

ATLAS CONSOLIDATED MINING AND DEVELOPMENT CORP CARMEN COPPER MINING CORPORATION CARMEN COPPER-ASSOCIATION OF GENUINE LABOR ORGANIZATION COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT COMPANY CUIZON DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT HERBERT CABALUNA STRIKE UNION
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