Strike settles with MOA
labor strike in the leading gold mining firm in the country ended
with the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the leaders
of the Lepanto Employees Union (LEU) and the Lepanto Consolidated
Mining Company (LCMCo) that settles the 92-day strike on September
The MOA materialized
from the last bout of negotiation between the two parties was on
September 3 and 4, 2005 that was held in Makati City.
It was stipulated in
the MOA that the LEPANTO EMPLOYEES UNION (LEU) and the MANAGEMENT
OF LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING COMPANY (LCMC), recognizing the need
to establish and foster industrial peace and unhampered operations
and promote productivity.
It was agreed upon that:
1. The nineteen (19)
officers of the LEU hereby acknowledge and accept their severance
from service and may exercise their rights under the law.
2. All other dismissed
LEU members who have been dismissed by reason of or in relation
to the strike shall be reinstated back to work under the same terms
and conditions prior to the strike.
3. All other LEU members
shall upon signing of this agreement immediately report for work
under the same terms and conditions prior to the strike.
4. The LEU shall not
take any action that would violate the industrial peace and the
LCMC shall not take any retaliatory actions against the LEU members
who will be reinstated back to work.
5. Both parties shall
take active steps to promote industrial harmony and increased productivity
and shall regularly meet for this purpose.
6. All pending criminal
and labor cases filed by one party against the other by reason or
on account of or in relation to the strike shall be withdrawn or
its dismissal effected.
7. That the present officers
shall continue to discharge their functions until their successors
shall have taken their oath.
8. That both parties
shall agree to conclude the 23rd Bargaining Agreement which started
last November 2004 and ended in a deadlock in May 2005.
Ninian Lang-agan, president
of the Lepanto Employees Union disclosed that the officers went
through a very difficult, tough and emotional process in coming
up with a last option to consider “in order to save the whole
membership of the union”.
“I would like to
assure the whole membership of LEU and our families that we have
not sold the union. The termination of the union officers does not
mean defeat. This is a new phase of renewed commitment to face the
challenges ahead. We have been together in this struggle for more
than three months; we have built stronger unity among us. But we
have to come up with this heartrending decision of sacrificing the
union officers’ employment for the sake of the majority.”
Lang-agan added that
“we are thankful to the Kilusang Mayo Uno and to all those
who have extended their moral, financial and material support to
us during the time that we are in dire need.”
Meanwhile, militant labor
center, Kilusang Mayo Uno in a statement “commends the 19
officers of the LEU who selflessly sacrificed for the interest of
the majority. They did this for the sole intention of saving the
union and uplifting the economic and working conditions of the mineworkers
and their families.”
KMU furthers that “in
spite of the difficult situation in the picket lines, including
harassments, threats, intimidations and other pressure they received
from the company in the duration of the strike, we salute the officers
and members of the union who stood firm their grounds in defense
of their labor and political rights. The oppressed situation of
mineworkers in the company had unified the workers into a more militant
In the course of the
3-month strike, LEU recorded 20 violent dispersals, 24 arbitrary
arrests and detention and 4 cases of abducted inflicted by upon
by the PNP’s Task Force Lepanto who were deployed supposedly
to maintain peace and orders. Warrant of arrests were issued to
at least 7 workers and supporters to the strike.
The company and the union
filed criminal charges and counter-charges to each other due to
alleged coercion, direct assault on the part of the company and
alleged human rights violations against the company and the PNP
on the part of the union.
It will be recalled that
the labor union filed a notice of strike at the office of the National
Mediation and Conciliation Board-Cordillera Administrative Region
on April 5 on the basis of a deadlock in their collective bargaining
negotiations after series of negotiations that went futile as the
company denied some of the CBA proposals of the union moreover regarding
the salary increases of the workers for 2005 to 2007.
On April 20, the union
conducted a strike vote referendum where 95% of the membership agreed
to strike. Series of conciliation meetings were conducted in an
attempt to resolve the dispute but both parties failed to reach
any agreement. The union staged their strike in the morning of June
By: LEONIDA E. TUNDAGUI
Kilusang Mayo Uno-Cordillera
09 September 2005
The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and the Kilusang Mayo
Uno (KMU)-Cordillera extends its utmost thanks to all individuals,
organizations, and institutions in the country and abroad who extended
their support (financial, moral, and political; pressure letters
to concerned agencies and individuals, letters of support) to the
Lepanto Employees Union and their families in their strike for basic
rights from June 2 to September 11, 2005. Your invaluable support
and solidarity helped sustain the workers in their struggle, and
beyond. Once more, our thanks and appreciation from the CPA and