DOLE-NCMB’s rookie con-med settles work time woes in San Miguel-Davao National Conciliation and Mediation Board Executive Director Reynaldo R. Ubaldo yesterday reported to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz that the NCMB Regional Branch XI has settled through conciliation mediation the preventive mediation case involving the San Miguel Brewery, Inc.-Davao Brewery.

Ubaldo, in his report, said regular workers of the brewery are now assured of a 40-hour work week after the settlement. “The parties agreed to settle on 17 June 2014, following exhaustive conciliation-mediation efforts of newly appointed Conciliator-Mediator Aerrine Marie R. Reyes,” Ubaldo said. “The settlement guaranteed the 40 hour work week in consideration of the basic need of the employees and their families,” Ubaldo said.

On 15 April 2014, the union filed a preventive mediation case with the NCMB-RBXI alleging the company of unfair labor practice, specifically violation of CBA provisions regarding work hours. The union specifically contested management’s violation of the CBA provision on work hours by implementing a reduced work scheme, cutting work days from the previous 5.5 days per week to 3-4 days.

Management justified its action, saying the implementation of reduced work hour scheme starting April was brought by the drop in sales of San Miguel Brewery Products in Northern Mindanao. “The company has been experiencing decline in sales due to the imposition of the new sin tax law which has caused prices of their products to rise,” Ubaldo quoted a management representative as saying. Management manifested during the conciliation-mediation proceedings that further consultation with the higher officials are needed to address the demands of the union.

Under the close monitoring of the NCMB-RBXI, both parties conducted plant level talks on 8, 27, and 30 May 2014, to explore solutions to the impasse. Plant-level negotiations turned out to be fruitful, and on 17 June 2014, both parties appeared before the NCMB-RBXI to submit a joint manifestation of their agreement to settle the case.

In light of the settlement of the case, Baldoz commended Con-Med Aerrine Marie R. Reyes for her pro-active efforts in conciliating the dispute. “As a new conciliator-mediator, Con-Med Reyes did a good job in guiding the parties towards a mutually acceptable, win-win solution to their problem,” Ubaldo said.

The San Miguel Brewery, Inc.-Davao Brewery, located at Darong, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, is one of the largest breweries in the Philippines. It has a total employment of 200. The San Miguel Davao Brewery Employees Independent Union (SMDBEIU) represents 76 rank-and-file employees of the company.

Gillian Pearl L. Guerrero