Mining Workers to Suffer Due to Unpaid Social Security Premiums

Northern Dispatch
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BAGUIO CITY — Workers and employees of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) cannot avail of short-term benefits from the Social Security System (SSS) due to the company’s unpaid premiums since 2004.

According to Luis Olais, SSS assistant vice president for northern Luzon, Lepanto has an outstanding payable of some P90 million in SSS contributions accumulated since 2004 and is offering to pay in six years some P42 million in arrears and another P48 million in interests accumulated since July 2007.

Earlier, Lepanto reportedly filed to settle its January 2004 to December 2005 unpaid contributions, which amounted to some P11 million in principal and P13 million in interests.

“I bargained for a five-year payment scheme, instead,” Olais told the Baguio-based press in a Kapihan forum, here, Wednesday morning. He added his proposal was for the company to pay the principal within a two-year period and the interests in the following three years.

The social security law rules the payment of premiums at least three to six months in the current year for a member to enjoy the benefits like calamity and personal loans, maternity, and sick leaves, among others.

In previous press conferences, the Lepanto Employees Union (LEU) has aired workers’ complaints attesting to the non-remittance of SSS premiums despite automatic payroll deductions.

There are about 2,245 employees who are now on a reduced work schedule since later last year.

Only premiums for retiring Lepanto employees are being paid, according to Olais.

Besides non-remittance issues, underground and surface workers complain of getting wages on installment schemes. Northern Dispatch/Posted by

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