Amid labor dispute with hospital staff: Maternity files notice of lockout
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - February 3, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House Inc. (CPCMHI) has filed a notice of lockout before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board-7 to temporarily stop its business and the closure of its premises amid the ongoing labor dispute raised by its employees.

 Lawyer Celso Reales, the counsel of CPCMH, said they filed the notice Friday last week to protect patients and non-union members as the Association of Democratic Labor Organizations – Kilusang Mayo Uno (CPCMHI-ADLU-KMU) is set to stage a strike that may hamper hospital operations.

  “Aron patas, ni-file mi notice of lockout. Manira daan mi kaso mag-strike sila,” Reales told reporters.

 The lockout also means that the hospital will no longer accept patients, which already started January 28.

 CPCMH posted a tarpaulin outside the hospital bearing a Notice to the Public on the temporary ceasing of its operations due to a labor dispute effective last Jan. 28.

 “Effective January 28, 2016, Cebu Puericulture Center & Maternity House, Inc will temporarily cease to operate due to labor problems and an impending strike. We will no longer accept admissions by said date for the safety of our patients and employees,” read the notice.

 The closure stemmed from the notice of strike filed by the union before NCMD on January 4.

 “The filing of the notice of strike is our action to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP), particularly in Bargaining in Bad Faith and violating the duty to bargain collectively, and utter disrespect of the management to the union,” Fundador Alforque, the union vice president, earlier said.

 The union first staged a strike against the hospital in 1997, a decade after it was organized.

Conciliation-mediation

 The management and union members yesterday underwent a conciliation-mediation, to possibly reach a mutually acceptable settlement to the labor dispute.

 Conciliation-mediation can still continue even during an actual strike or lockout to exhaust all possible remedies and explore solutions mutually acceptable to both parties in resolving the labor dispute.

 The parties, however, have not yet agreed to an amicable settlement, without going through legal procedures.

 Jay Jasper Javines, deputy administrator of the conciliation-mediation board, spoke and facilitated the parties to come up with a “win-win solution” on the labor dispute, as instructed by DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.

 “The conciliation-mediation is a process so that the parties could find a win-win solution. Ang instruction Secretary is to have industrial peace,” he said after the meeting.

 He said the resolution of the ongoing dispute can only be aided by the management and the union.

 “Sila lang ang magkasabot sa ilang terms and conditions,” he added.

 Both parties agreed yesterday not to issue statements not until the dispute is solved. They are expected to meet again within the month.

Alforque in an interview yesterday afternoon though, said they are willing to negotiate with the management.

 “Open mi sa pag-adjust sa P20-25 wage increase basta ang management naa counter offer na bag-o,” he said.

Still reporting

 Alforque, in an interview prior to the conciliation-mediation meeting, said union members are still reporting in the facility.

 But he admitted that not only patients are affected, but also hospital employees.

 According to Reales, the hospital has only five remaining patients and they are scheduled for release.  Others have been referred to other hospitals, particularly those who were supposed to avail themselves of the prenatal package programs of their hospital.

 The 90-year-old hospital has 145 rank-and-file employees wherein 111 are union members. Most of them are nurses and midwives.

 Alforque said the union members want the management to implement the P20 to P25 increase, which was what was approved on March 25, 2015

 He said the union and the management representative, lawyer Cornelio Mercado, signed an agreement last March for a P20 increase in the daily wage of the employees for 2015 and another P25 in 2016.

 However, he said the management belied and rejected the agreement and insisted on its proposal to grant only a P1 increase.

 “Ma-solusyonan raman unta ni kun ang gisabutang umento sa sweldo ilang ipatuman,” he said.

 Alforque earlier said the management opted for the counteroffer of P1 daily wage increase notwithstanding the Hospital registered a P200 million fund balance in 2013 based on its Audited Financial Statement.

 Aside from the meager salary, Alforque said the union is also experiencing harassment from the management.

 “The union is closely monitored by the management that they hired additional plain clothes roving guards we thought were hired to add security to the establishment and the patients but actually observes our activities. Absurdly, the management wants us to remove our tarps and banners accusing that it could merit security issues.” Alforque said.

 “Should these will not be immediately resolved, we will continue our protest actions,” Alforque said. “If the only way to get what is due to us and rightfully ours is through strike, we are preparing ourselves to actually do it,” Alforque added.

Protocol

The Department of Health-7 has yet to receive a letter from the Cebu Puericulture Center & Maternity House, Inc. Hospital on the temporary stoppage of its hospital operations.

 Dr. Mancao said they were only informed about it Tuesday.

 Citing the Department of Health protocols, Dr. Sophia Mancao, acting assistant regional director of DOH-7, said it is mandatory among hospitals whose licenses to operate are under the DOH, including CPCMH, to submit a formal letter on the plan to cease operations.

 Once the management is able to submit the pertinent letter and after the due process, Mancao said they can officially revoke CPCMH’s license to operate.

 “If they want DOH to cancel their license, it’s up to the management. DOH will not initiate the revocation. We cannot cancel unless there is a request,” she explained. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ALFORQUE CEBU PUERICULTURE CENTER HOSPITAL LABOR MANAGEMENT MATERNITY HOUSE NBSP STRIKE STRONG UNION
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