2011 has been the most peaceful for industrial relations in the Philippine history with only two work stoppages recorded during the year.
“The highly successful and effective conciliation-mediation efforts of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) have led to tempering the occurrence of actual work stoppages, thus maintaining a single-digit actual strike rate for the past several years,” said Labor and Employment Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz.
Conciliation-mediation, a DOLE program started in 1988, is a mode of dispute settlement that brings together contending parties in a dispute to come to negotiations and settlement.
Citing the year-end report of the NCMB, Baldoz said that only two work stoppages occurred during the period January to November of 2011, down by 75 percent from the eight (8) strikes recorded during the same period in 2010.
“The two strikes occurred in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Region 3 (Central Luzon) while the rest of the regions were strike- and lock-out free during the period, mainly due to the functional workplace conflict prevention and settlement and workplace cooperation and partnership schemes,” Baldoz said.
The two declared strike cases involved deadlocks in collective bargaining agreement (BD) and resulted to mandays lost which, however, dramatically decreased by 89 percent, or from 34,171 last year to only 3,828 this year.
“What is significant was that the NCMB disposed the two declared strikes to achieve a 100 percent disposition rate,” she noted.
Baldoz said that NCMB’s overall dispute management rate was computed at 99.73 percent. “This just goes to show that NCMB’s conciliation-mediation services have proven very effective in resolving labor disputes in keeping the incidence of work stoppages at the minimum, if not nil,” Baldoz stressed.
The one-day average disposition of actual work stoppages is 10 days faster that it took to dispose actual strike cases in 2010.
Baldoz pointed out that 2011 marked the single biggest settlement package in a conciliation case involving the CBA of the International Wiring Systems Philippines Corporation, a locator at the Luisita Industrial Park, with the settlement package amounting to P2.8 billion.
It brought to P4.1 billion the amount of CBA packages, separation pay, and other restitution benefits facilitated by the NCMB which benefitted 11,484 workers.
Due to an innovation introduced by the NCMB in handling cases that have been subjected to intervention by the Office of the Secretary, Baldoz revealed that the number of cases subjected to her intervention continue to decline.
“The continuous marathon conciliation-mediation conferences and exploration of all options for possible settlement, prior to any decision to assume jurisdiction over the cases, helped reduce these cases of assumption by the Secretary,” Baldoz said.
“Our conciliator-mediators at NCMB and at the DOLE continue to exert efforts in exploring every possible means to effect amicable settlement in every case they handle,” adding that “they do this by balancing the rights of works to just and equitable share in the fruits of production and the right of the employers to a fair return of their investments,” Baldoz added.