The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) issued an order Monday assuming jurisdiction for compulsory arbitration over the labor conflict between the University of the Cordilleras’ (UC) employees’ union and the management.
BY ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 50, January 27-February 2, 2008
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. north of Manila) – The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) issued an order Monday assuming jurisdiction for compulsory arbitration over the labor conflict between the University of the Cordilleras’ (UC) employees’ union and the management.
Kapatiran ng mga Empleado ng UC-BCF (Kapatiran), the UC union, branded the move as a suppression of their constitutional rights, including the right to strike. Kapatiran will undergo compulsory arbitration for the settlement of their issues but the order will not stop them from exercising their other constitutional rights, according to Regi delos Santos, the Kapatiran president.
“We will not stop fighting for our case. We will continue exhausting various ways and means to put into proper perspective the issues we raised,” said delos Santos in a press conference here on Tuesday.
Delos Santos said the union wanted to rise up for the alleged violations of their rights. He added they followed legal processes before collectively deciding for a strike but these efforts were put to waste because of the DoLE order, which would make their strike illegal if pushed through.
Nordis learned that with the Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) order by DoLE Sec. Arturo Briones, the union’s issues would be submitted for compulsory arbitration. The said order also enjoined the union not to resort to strike, and the management to a lockout. The union received the order Monday.
The union claimed that the issues they are pushing in their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) could have been discussed by the union and the management were it not for the latter’s continuous refusal to recognize delos Santos on the bargaining table.
In an interview with Nordis two weeks ago, UC President Jaime Buzar said that delos Santos could not represent the union because she is no longer a UC employee. This management treatment, said Kapatiran, led to a stalled bargaining agreement.
Lawyer Milton Balagtey, Kapatiran counsel, justified the presence of delos Santos in the bargaining. “By law, she is their bargaining agent,” he explained to local media.
“Since the union had chosen delos Santos, her presence in any bargaining is non-negotiable,” added Balagtey. Sonia Masaway, Kapatiran secretary agreed with Balagtey who spoke in the press conference that was held here on Jan. 23.
The management refusal to negotiate with the union had been revolving with (the issue on) delos Santos, union members said. They said it is a “non-issue.”
Dismissed from service
UC management insists that delos Santos is no longer a part of the institution.
Nordis learned that a case was filed by the UC against delos Santos at the regional office of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in 2005. The case led to the dismissal of delos Santos, which was upheld by the NLRC national office and the Court of Appeals but is presently under appeal at the Supreme Court.
While the UC believes that delos Santos is no longer an employee, the union believes that the case is not yet final as it is under appeal at the SC.
“Assuming, but not accepting that she is no longer an employee, we can still have her as a bargaining agent under the law,” another union member points out.
There is as yet no schedule for the Kapatiran and the UC management arbitration. Northern Dispatch / Posted by (Bulatlat.com)