Thursday, February 23, 2006

Where did Lepanto workers' benefits go?

*From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran *

* Reference*: Rep. Crispin Beltran

Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006

*Tel*. *# (+632) *931-6615 *Email*:


* *


*23 February 2006*

*Where did Lepanto workers' benefits go? *

*Anakpawis solons seek probe on management's non-remittance of workers'
payments *

Anakpawis solons Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano are seeking a probe into
complaints that the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo) has so far
failed to remit millions worth of union workers' back benefits,
contributions and union dues.

The solons yesterday filed House Resolution No. 1161, asking the Committee
on Labor and Employment to conduct and investigation, in aid of legislation,
on the LCMC's non-remittance of their workers' Social Security System (SSS)
and Pag-ibig contributions and loan payments, union dues, and 11 million
pesos worth of overdue back wages.

The 1,683-strong Lepanto Employees' Union-National Federation of Labor
Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (LEU-NAFLU-KMU) reported early this February that
the LCMCo has not remitted the said deductions from the workers' wages, Rep.
Beltran said.

LCMC workers went on strike in June 2005 due to deadlocks in their
Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA), which also include the issue of
management's non-remittance of the said benefits. After three months into
the strike, the management signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the LEU,
agreeing to resolve the issues pertaining to worker's benefits.

LEU union President Christopher Bautista reported that union members have
already asked the SSS and Pag-ibig Baguio City branches for an investigation
on union members' complaints that premiums deducted from their salaries have
yet to be remitted.

Bautista also expressed concerns on the long overdue back wages amounting to
11 million pesos. The management previously stated that it is still looking
for funds to pay the workers, five months after the strike has ended.

LEU officials also have complained of the management's withholding of LEU
union dues to the workers. Baustista reported that the union had to first
secure the management's approval by writing a letter of request specifying
the amount and purpose to which the funds would be used.

KMU-Cordillera regional coordinator Lorico Espejo criticized the LCMCo for
withholding the union funds, stressing that while it was the management's
responsibility to collect union dues and submit it to the safekeeping of the
respective union, only the presence of a court order could permit the
management to withhold union funds from the LEU.

"It's disappointing to hear of how the management is continuing to deny its
workers their access to their hard-earned benefits and back payments,
despite the LCMCos prior commitment during the strike period. We are hoping
that a Congressional probe will shed more light and bring affirmative action
into the management's failure to remit these back payments and contributions
to the LEU," Beltran said. ###


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