Mineworkers on Strike
7 o’clock in the morning today, June 2, 2005, the 1,700-strong
rank and file members of the Lepanto Employees Union (LEU) trooped
to the different entry gates to the premises of the Lepanto Consolidated
Mining Company (LCMC) not to report to work but to man their picket
lines. Work operations in the undergrounds and surface grounds of
the mining firm totally stopped as the mineworkers declared a strike
and assemble their picket lines in at least five gates of the mines.
the union president said that they put up their pickets at Tubo
Gate, Nayak, Buaki, Mill site and at the 900 level. He said that
100% of the union’s membership participated in their concerted
action. They are also joined by hundreds of the women and other
community people who earlier marched the streets of Lepanto to Mankayan
proper in support of the workers’ struggle.
of the mineworkers resulted following a deadlock in their collective
bargaining negotiations last month. Lang-agan said they already
exhausted all avenues to resolve the deadlock issues on wages and
other benefits but both parties failed to reach an agreement. Both
parties have been conducting conciliation meeting even after the
union’s declaration of deadlock on April 2.
Among the deadlock
items in their negotiations are the union’s demand for a wage
increase of P29 for the first year, P29 for the second year and
another P33 for the third of their CBA. The management’s offer
is P21, P26 and P28 spread out in three years. Other demands not
resolved include housing allowance, rest leave and separation pay.
It will be recalled that an assumption of jurisdiction order from
labor secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas was issued on May 10 purposefully
to avert any form of strike or lock out stating the mining activities
of the company is indispensable to national interest. Some 85 members
of the 54th Infantry Battalion were earlier deployed in Lepanto
by the management of the mining firm’s request and are posted
within the mining premises.
But despite the assumption of jurisdiction order and the deployment
of military and para-military groups in the area, the workers are
adamant to pursue on their strike not unless their demands will
be heard by the company. ### Leonida E. Tundagui