Lepanto Workers’ Back Wages Still Unpaid

Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat.com

BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) — Mine workers of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo) are complaining that their wages are still being given partially despite promises of the company to pay them regularly.

In a press conference here, Marciano Paway of the Lepanto Employees Union-National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (LEU-NAFLU-KMU) said that even their 13th month pay was paid partially by the management. “Our Christmas was miserable because we have no money to spend to buy what is needed,” said Paway.

“It will be hard for us as vacation is near again and after that is enrollment. It will be difficult for us to look for money if the payment of our wages continues to be delayed,” said Paway.

According to Paway, the management of LCMCo did not comply with what they committed in a meeting between them and the union at the Makati head office last Dec. 22. In the said meeting, LCMCo President Brian Yap said that the company will pay P14 million for the unpaid salaries of the workers and P9.2 million for back wages. The payments promised by Yap will be given before the end of January or February 2010.

He also said that Yap even said that they have a budget amounting to P5 million to be given to the rank-and-file employees as well as the staff.

During the said meeting, Paway said the management claimed that they had already made an arrangement with the SSS with regard to the premiums and loan payments. “But up to now, nothing is done, we cannot even apply for loans,” Paway said.

In a statement from the LEU Research and Education Committee, the union said that the LCMCo did not remit around P91 million for the SSS and Pag-ibig premiums.

The union added that around P4.5 million of back wages from 2007 has not yet been paid. The statement further noted that the unpaid wages from June 2009 have reached P85 million.

The union said the company claimed that they had been paying the workers’ wages partially because of low production. “The company promised to pay in full once the workers will be able to produce 3,000 ounces of gold. The workers did their best and they even produced more than 4,000 ounces of gold,” the union stated.

According to the union, the production from January to June of 2009 is 27,656 ounces gold and 42,114 ounces silver.

The union said the value of the said production is P1, 172,038,662 based on present prices for gold and silver.

“We cannot avail even of the deductions from our wages supposed to be for the Lepanto Consumers Cooperative Store reaching P7 million and Lepanto Savings Loan that is around P5.2 million,” said Paway.

He said they cannot apply for loan in their own cooperative.

The union said that LCMCo owes them a total of P265,200,000.

Paway said that the work reduction in the guise of work rotation is still being implemented by the company on the different departments of the Lepanto Mine Division (LMD). “We tried again to seek help from the DoLE (Department of Labor and Employment) but practically nothing happened. So where then do we seek redress?” Paway said. (Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat.com)

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