Strike threat at Holcim Bulacan cement plant eased

Strike threat at Holcim Bulacan cement plant eased
Published: 22 September 2014


Potential disruption at Holcim Philippines’ Bulacan plant has eased following fruitful conciliation talks facilitated by a team of conciliators from the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and the Office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.

In a report filed yesterday to Baldoz, NCMB executive director Reynaldo, R Ubaldo, said that Regional Conciliation and Mediation Branch III director, Maria Teresita L Cancio, facilitated the talks that saw both the management, and the Holcim Philippines Employees Association and the independent union, representing the 162 rank-and-file employees of the company, to reach an agreement to end negotiations for the last two years of their existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The union had filed a notice of strike on 21 April 2014, invoking bargaining deadlock on the economic provisions of the CBA. They were specifically locked on the issues of wage increase, medicine allowance, danger exposure allowance, meal allowance and hospitalisation benefits.

“The parties were stuck on almost all of the issues raised by the union. There was a wide disparity between their proposals,” Ubaldo said.

The breakthrough came during the conference on 19 June, the 13th conciliation meeting, when the parties entered into a compromise agreement. The parties agreed to a PHP1400 monthly wage increase for 2014, and to negotiate the wage increase for 2015 in the same year. They also agreed to increase the meal allowance to PHP3000 (US$67.40) for 2014-15 from the existing PHP2000/month.

Part of the agreement was the grant of an industrial peace bonus of PHP30,000 covering both 2014 and 2015, although the parties agreed that this provision of the agreement will not be stipulated in the CBA.The management also agreed to grant PHP500,000 as donation to the union on the condition that the DOLE will provide an equal amount to be sourced from its livelihood programme, but this provision will not be stipulated in the parties’ CBA.