Dolefil union files strike notice

By Bobby S. Terencio, Sun.Star, Monday 5 April 2004

POLOMOLOK, South Cotabato—An official of the union currently holding collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiation with Dole Philippines, Inc. (Dolefil) said Saturday they have already filed a notice of strike to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) after CBA and Dolefil reached deadlock last month.

Jose Teruel, union president of Kilusang Mayo Uno affiliated AK-NAFLU, said they filed the notice of strike last Friday.

Teruel said around 500 of their members joined a caravan from Cannery site to Polomolok town center to dramatize the filing of the notice of strike.

NCMB 12 Officer in charge Tomas Biboso, who received the strike notice, immediately scheduled a hearing for today (April 5).

We were a little bit surprised why NCMB automatically scheduled the hearing. We found out later that Dolefil management immediately called up NCMB after the negotiation was declared deadlock, Teruel revealed.

The union could hold a strike vote within seven days after filing their notice of strike.

They, however, will have to wait for a 30-day cooling off period if their members agree to go on strike. Teruel said they are expecting series of negotiations between union leaders and Dolefil management, but this time, with a third party (mediation board).

The union is asking over P1,500 in salary increase spread over the remaining two years of their CBA with the company. Management, however, is only reportedly willing to grant a 2.5 percent pay increase.

Teruel said the management counter proposal is only equivalent to something like P9.50 daily wage hike for the average Dolefil worker.

Meanwhile, company sources said the giant pineapple company is already bracing for the inevitable but warned workers against going holding an illegal strike.

Sources said the Department of Labor and Employment would most likely assume jurisdiction over the labor dispute.