An alternative dispute settlement mechanism of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has proved its effectiveness in settling labor conflicts involving monetary and collective bargaining benefits amounting to more than P2 billion.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello on Monday said it was a record expeditious settlement of labor disputes using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms that benefited 39,691 workers within eight months or from July 2016 to March 2017.
Called the Single Entry Approach (SEnA), it is a system that prescribes a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation service to effect a speedy, impartial, inexpensive and accessible settlement procedure of all labor issues or conflicts, thus preventing them from ripening into full-blown disputes.
“Alternative dispute resolution is our strategy in ensuring speedy delivery of labor justice. DoLE stands firm on sustaining industrial peace through the fast settlement of labor disputes,” Bello said.
In a report to the DoLE chief, Executive Director Shirley Pascual of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) said 27,226 requests for assistance (RFAs) on SEnA were settled, resulting in P1,382,516,848.23 in monetary benefit to 32,017 workers.
“Through SEnA, we settled 27,226 RFAs from a total of 44,863 cases we handled. Some of the reported cases involved illegal dismissal, underpayment of wages, non-payment of overtime pay, holiday pay and 13th month pay and non-coverage of social protection benefits,” Pascual reported.
On the preventive mediation (PM), she said the NCMB resolved 332 cases of 404 handled cases, resulting in P59,577,925 million in monetary benefits to 2,509 workers.
“One of the recent settled cases involving unfair labor practices is that of Maynilad Water Services and its workers. The case was settled last March 22 and resulted in estimated total benefits of P50 million to 200 employees,” Pascual added.
Also, some of the companies/employers with high settlement of money claims include Kepco SPC Power Corp. with P130 million in monetary benefits to 96 workers; Novartis Health Care Phils. Inc. with P34 million to 137 workers; Capitol Medical Center with P 20.52 million to 600 workers; and Pepsi Cola Philippines,Inc. with P13 million in monetary benefits to 110 workers.
The NCMB chief also reported that 121 cases on notices of strike/lockout (NS/L) were settled with monetary benefits amounting to P545,314,519 million to 4,914 workers.
She said the decrease in work-disruptive industrial disputes resulted in 310,521 man-days saved.
The NCMB also reported that 10 cases out of 17 handled cases on actual strikes/lockout were settled and resulted in P26,945,47 in monetary benefits to 211 workers.
On the voluntary arbitration (VA), it handled 363 cases and disposed of 67 VA cases, resulting in P145.8 million in monetary benefits to 40 workers.
Bello also reported that the case involving RubberWorld Philippines Inc. and Lingkod Manggagawa Sa Rubberworld, Adidas-Anglo, which started in 1994 because of a severe financial crisis and resulted in termination of workers, is nearing settlement.
“After 22 years, the labor dispute involving Rubberworld and its workers will soon be resolved. Both parties are attending conferences to finally settle their differences,” he said. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL