Reforms hasten settlement of labor row at SMB’s Valenzuela brewery; 167 workers get P31.7-M in CBA benefits

November 26, 2010 2:09 am 

MANILA, Nov. 25 — With reforms firmly in place, the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) has hastened the settlement of the labor dispute at San Miguel Brewery Inc.’s (SMB Inc.) Polo Brewery in Valenzuela City, giving some 167 workers who stand to receive a total of P31.7 million in collective bargaining agreement (CBA) benefits.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said this on Wednesday as the NCMB reported the quick settlement of the notice of strike involving the dispute between SMB Inc. Employees Union-PTGWO and the SMB Inc.-Polo Brewery in only 25 days — very much faster than the national average of 48 days of settlement of strikes and lockouts (NS/L) recorded between January and June 2010.

“The duration of the dispute settlement is also faster by four days compared to the target number of days which the NCMB had set for the settlement of NS/L when we began implementing reforms in labor and adjudication system in the second half of this year,” Baldoz observed.

“With this very quick settlement, the workers are guaranteed uninterrupted work, which will benefit their families and the company’s unhampered operation for three years, which, in turn, will definitely benefit the people and the country’s economy,” she added.

NCMB data showed that the SMB Inc. Employees Union-PTGWO filed a notice of strike with the NCMB on 06 October 2010 due to deadlock in collective bargaining negotiations with management. The notice of strike was amicably settled on 11 November 2010, after six conciliation-mediation conferences held by Conciliator-Mediator Edgar G. Aquino.

“The package of reforms which the DOLE and its labor relations arm are implementing to improve the labor arbitration and adjudication system in the country is beginning to bear fruit as the labor row at SMB Inc.-Polo Brewery was successfully settled earlier than the NCMB’s 29-day target for the settlement of NS/L,” Baldoz said.

Baldoz initiated the reforms to eliminate red tape, reduce the process time in service delivery, and ensure the integrity and accountability of officials and personnel of the DOLE and its family of agencies in pursuit of the 22-point labor and employment agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The NCMB, National Labor Relations Commission, Bureau of Labor Relations, and Legal Service constitute the DOLE’s labor relations cluster tasked to ensure sound labor relations and industrial peace based on social justice through reforms in labor arbitration and adjudication system.

Baldoz said that the union and management at SMB Inc.-POLO Brewery decided to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to end their dispute and ensure the well-being of the brewery’s workers and their company’s competitive advantage and growth.

“The settlement of the dispute prevented the occurrence of a work stoppage that, had it pushed through, could have hampered the brewery’s operations and affected not only involved workers but also down line sectors which are dependent on the sale of SMB Inc. products,” she said.

SMB Inc. is one of the country’s largest firms producing very popular and saleable consumer goods. It has five breweries strategically located across the Philippines and a highly developed distribution system serving approximately 471,000 retail outlets.

The MOA between SMB Inc.-Polo Brewery and SMB Inc. Employees Union-PTGWO outlines the provisions that shall be incorporated into the CBA. It provides that all regular employees within the appropriate bargaining unit from July 1, 2010, and continued to be on active regular payroll as of

November 11, 2010, shall receive a basic pay increase of P1,300 monthly and a P45,000 signing bonus each effective July 1, 2010.

Another P1,300 monthly pay increase and P10,000 management grant shall be provided each employee effective July 1, 2011. The following year, on July 1, 2012, each worker will be given a P1,200 monthly increase and a P10,000 management grant.

Covered workers will also enjoy retroactive pay covering differentials in basic pay, overtime pay, 13th month pay, and holiday pay. (PNA)

DCT/PR/rsm

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