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November 12, 2007

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LCMCo Delays Mineworkers' Salaries

The Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo) is delaying the salaries of its more than 1,400 mineworkers. The mining company said that they cannot pay the workers on time because of the late payment of the gold buyers. The company management also said that they are giving priority in paying the companies debts.

According to National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU) Regional Coordinator James Tulipa, the delay of the mineworkers' salaries should be for some purpose. He said that since the Lepanto Rank and File Employees Union-National Mine and Allied Workers Union-International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mines and General Workers' Union (LRFEU-NAMAWU-ICEM) filed a petition for Certification Election (PCE) against the incumbent Lepanto Employees Union (LEU-NAFLU-KMU) on October 5, the said delay started. The workers usually get their salaries every 10 days but this month, they were able to receive payments 1 to 3 days delayed.

KMU criticized the delay as unreasonable and a form of harassment to the workers as they are again entering to a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) through their legitimate union with the management. Prior to the system of the gold selling, the company has already a way of paying its debts together with giving the wages of its workers. According to KMU, the company's production never ceased since the 2005 workers' strike was lifted. The company's budget operation for the year 2007 actually comes from the earnings on the year 2006. LCMCo have retained earnings which includes accumulated gains from its operations of P1, 096,237,000.00.

From this figure, the KMU said that the company is not fair to the workers that they should be paid accordingly when they are the ones who worked so hard to be able to have such huge gains. The KMU also carped on the company's ungratefulness to its workers for passing on the burden of paying the company's debts. The workers have already done their part by digging the gold ores and processing them and run the production. The company has also its obligation in giving the workers what is due to them. *** Aldwin Quitasol/KMU-Cordillera

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