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DOLE facilitates settlement of union claims with Coca-Cola FEMSA (KOF) Zamboanga
Tue, Apr 05, 2016 (Source: ZCFO)
After a series of discussions since January 2016, the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office 9, through a Technical Working Group (TWG) composed of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) -9, Zamboanga City Field Office (ZCFO) and the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) - REU9 facilitated the signing of a Settlement Agreement between Coca-Cola FEMSA Zamboanga Plant’s management and twenty-one (21) members of its two (2) unions, the Independent Zamboanga Coca-Cola Plant Local Labor Union-AWATU and the Zamboanga Coca-Cola Region One Sales Force Union-AWATU on March 28, 2016 at its Zamboanga Plant in a unified understanding to resolve the union’s claims raised before DOLE’s Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) in May 2015.

The claims, which range from underpayment, non-payment of holidays and rectification of No Attendance Record (NAR) brought about by the implementation of Coca-Cola’s new system, Project SHARP to non-adherence to CBA provision on the 40-hour/week duty of employees were addressed in the Settlement Agreement, which states among others, that after due validation and re-computation, all monetary claims shall be paid by KOF within 30 days. The agreement explicitly demonstrates management’s will to address the unions’ claims.

In his message, Mr. Alvin Alvarez, plant manager informed DOLE that they have employed BWC’s recommendation to implement the 3-shift scheduling system within a 24-hour period effective March 8, 2016 and that all workers now, regardless of their shift, are able to complete the 40-hours workweek from Monday to Friday.

With the progress made by the DOLE-COKE TWGs, Mr. Jay Gonzales representing the Independent Union and Mr. Karl Rolan Macasinag of the Sales Force, respectively expressed their gratitude to DOLE for providing the technical assistance in the settlement of their claims, and Coca-Cola’s management for the support it demonstrated from the beginning.

Mr. Macasinag further stated that unlike other unions, theirs are not radical, and that they always recognize the benefit of peaceful negotiations within the confines of a boardroom. His statement was validated by no less than NCMB’s regional director and TWG team leader, Reynaldo Foncardas who said that he has been a witness to many strikes carried out by unions in other parts of the country. He said that unions in Zamboanga City are more reasonable and that they recognize the importance of sitting down and dialogue.

Mr. Foncardas also shared about his very recent attendance to a Productivity Training in Singapore where he said that work-related issues are mediated by no less than the prime minister himself. He further mentioned that even managers in Singapore enjoy membership in its one and only union, which works towards the betterment of the country.

TWG Chair and DOLE Regional Director, Sisinio B. Cano congratulated all the parties involved in the settlement agreement, which he said is just the beginning of its implementation. He also mentioned that any agreement should always redound to the benefits of all concerned and that industrial peace must be sustained within the company. He also recognized Coca-Cola’s safety signage as a mark of its quest for productivity and quality.

Lastly, he said that the workers are the backbone of our country, and encouraged both management and unions to seek out DOLE’s services, for productivity is a collective responsibility and should be felt by all.

In closing, Ms. Charlotte Concepcion, HR Executive for Visayas-Mindanao for Manufacturing acknowledged DOLE’s efforts to help Coca-Cola FEMSA, for the local management’s support would have not been enough without outside support. She further mentioned that as of March 19, 2016, money claims have been settled except for some minimal deficiencies which may be settled by the first week of April.

Annavic S. Cordova

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