A team from the Regional Conciliation and Mediation Branch – Cordillera Administrative Region (RCMB-CAR), led by their very energetic director, Ms. Lourdes Estioco, provided a much-needed plant-level re-orientation seminar on Labor-Management Cooperation (LMC) and Grievance Machinery – Voluntary Arbitration (GM-VA) at Philex Mining Corporation on June 9, 2022. This activity was initiated by the Branch to guide the management and employees on a path of dispute prevention rather than confrontation. It was attended by representatives from the management and the officers of the two unions, the Philex Mines Supervisory Employees Union (PMSEU) and Philex Mines Independent Labor Union (PMILU).

In his remarks to open the orientation, Mr. Dominador Sotelo, PMSEU president, informed his co-participants of a story about how teamwork and cooperation prevented a major accident involving a number of employees in the underground.

RCMB-CAR Supervising LEO Maggie Balagtey used the said story to jumpstart her lecture on LMC. In her presentation, she focused on inspiring the participants to understand that continuous and constructive communication between the management and employees has a great impact on dispute prevention. “Having programs and activities that nurture communication and greater participation help build a stronger relationship based on openness and trust,” she told them.

Labor and Employment Officer Gabriel Bayao gave a review of the basics and important points of Grievance Machinery and Voluntary Arbitration. He concentrated on emphasizing the importance of knowing how to identify grievances, the Grievance Procedure, and the jurisdiction of the Voluntary Arbitrator. He then engaged the participants in studying their GM as stipulated in their Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs). He provided them with two questions to consider before they started: “Is it Right?” and “Is it effective?”. The activity resulted in proposals that their GM should be reviewed further and amended, if necessary, to make it function better.

In the afternoon, Dir. Estioco and Sup. LEO Balagtey guided the participants in restructuring their Labor Management Council. They also led them in a workshop wherein members of the different committees planned programs and project proposals. Their output showed their determination and willingness to embrace the way of cooperation and participation. Their proposed plans and projects, which were critiqued by the Branch’s personnel will be forwarded to the top management for study and consideration.

In this one-day activity, Dir. Estioco challenged the participants to continue to communicate constructively to at least minimize if not prevent the emergence of disputes in the workplace. “I hope that our efforts in conducting this orientation will not be put into waste. Ituloy ninyo and inyong pag-uusap dahil ito ang pinakamabisang sagot at solusyon  sa anumang hindi pagkakaunawan. Ito ay makakamit ninyo sa pamamgitan ng inyong LMC,” she said. She also impressed upon them to effectively use their Grievance Machinery to resolve grievances peacefully.

Gabriel P. Bayao