Workers Assail Delayed Wages, Mining Firm Refuses to Implement Agreement

Northern Dispatch

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MANKAYAN, Benguet ? The rank-and-file employees of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) picketed the general office of the company to demand payment of delayed wages.

Headed by the Lepanto Employees Union-National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (LEU-Naflu-KMU), some 400 workers with their wives, children and supporters started the picket on March 8. They sought for an explanation on the continued delay of wages and non-payment of contributions to the Social Security System (SSS).

LEU president Manuel Binhaon said they wanted to have a dialogue with the management but as of press time, they got no reply. “It is clear that we are not staging a strike, we just like to know why the agreements with the management are not being complied with,” said Binhaon.

Last December 22, 2009, LCMC President Brian Yap promised that the company will pay P14 million for the unpaid salaries of the mineworkers and P9.2 million for backwages. Binhaon said that Yap promised this in a dialogue between the officers of the union and the management in the Makati head office of the company.

Same issue

Binhaon said that the management seemingly does not want to fulfill its commitment to resolve the issue of unpaid SSS premiums, back wages and regular pay of the workers. He said that what is only being addressed is the stoppage of work rotation imposed by the management last year.

According to the last statement of the Research and Education committee of the union, LCMC owed them a total of P265.2 million. The management did not submit around P91 million for the SSS and Pag-ibig premiums. The union also noted that the unpaid wages from June 2009 has reached P85 million.

The union said that because of the non-payment of their SSS and Pag-ibig, the mine workers cannot apply for loan and enjoy other benefits. They also complained of delayed payment of their salaries.

On March 11, a worker reported that they were partially paid by the management just P1,500 each. “How will we live, what will we feed our children if management will give us partial payments again,” said one of the workers who requested for anonymity.

Binhaon said that they will continue with the picket until the management will face them in a dialogue. “We do not mean harm, all we want is for management to fulfill their promises to us,” said Binhaon.

The picket was also attended by the Tignayan dagiti Babbai iti Minasan a Lepanto (Movement of Women in Lepanto Mines or TBML), the members of the Anakbayan-Lepanto together with the children of the mine workers as well as their relatives and supporters.

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