Miners, their wives and other community members assailed Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company’s (LCMCo) new policy of reduced working days, which is essentially a work rotation scheme, in a protest rally in front of the company’s general office in Mankayan.
BY CYE REYES
Posted by Bulatlat
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) — Miners, their wives and other community members assailed Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company’s (LCMCo) new policy of reduced working days, which is essentially a work rotation scheme, in a protest rally in front of the company’s general office in Mankayan.
Spearheaded by the Lepanto Employees’ Union-NAFLU-Kilusang Mayo Uno (LEU-NAFLU-KMU) the protest action demanded that the mining firm retract its order for a reduction of working days for its employees.
Lepanto management released a notice to its workers on Oct. 27 announcing its plan to reduce the working days to 20 per month with the implementation of the work rotation scheme for all its surface employees and about 119 underground employees. The work rotation scheme was supposed to take effect starting Nov. 1.
The company’s reason for the reduction of workdays is its low production and the supposed eventual losses it may incur.
Lawyer Ana C. Dione, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) for Cordillera, said during the weekly Kapihan sa Baguio that she has received an informal report from the mining company about its plans for the reduced workdays.
“Lepanto would be undergoing reduced workdays because according to them the price of copper in the global market went down,” said Dione. She added that some workers hoped the said scheme would only last for three months to prevent major adverse effects on their livelihood.
According to Dione, this could be an effect of the global financial crisis.
Aside from the case of Lepanto, DoLE also reported one occasion of termination in one of the sub-contractors of Texas Instrument (TI) in the export-processing zone in Loakan, due to the financial crisis.
“Other than that, we have not received any other report, but our office is now undergoing a heightened monitoring on possible effects of the global crisis on the local industries specifically here in the region,” added Dione.
Meanwhile, Lepanto employees who were frustrated in their attempts to have a dialogue with the company’s management are planning to stage a series of protest actions against the work rotation scheme and other unfair labor practices of the company.
The workday reduction scheme prompted LEU to hold a general membership assembly on Oct. 31.
“This is a gross violation of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and comprises an unfair labor practice,” said LEU chairperson Manuel Binhaon during the rally.
Lepanto reportedly failed to remit some P52.2 million ($1.08 million at the Nov. 7 exchange rate of $1:P48.19) social security contributions and loan payments and another P3.2 million ($66,403.82) employees premiums in a government housing fund. It has also neglected the payment of backwages since November last year.
“The company uses diversionary tactics to evade its financial obligations to workers,” Bihaon said. Northern Dispatch / Posted byBulatlat.com