2 union officials sue Dolefil; Dolefil says workers violated policies

Florentino Beghanilum, vice chair for internal affairs of the union, and Edmundo Velonero, the treasurer, filed the complaint before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) last Monday.

“The management illegally terminated us. The move is labor busting and we are fighting for our rights,” Beghanilum said. But he added they will withdraw their complaint if the company reinstates them.

In a press statement,  Kevin Davis, Dolefil managing director, said the company respects the decision of the two in filing a complaint with the NLRC.

But Davis said Beghanilum and Velonero violated the company’s rules by repeatedly incurring absences without permission (AWOP) – 71 days for Beghanilum and 64 days for Velonero – in a span of seven months.
 
“Despite several earlier warnings, they continued to repeatedly violate the rules by insisting to be absent from work. Eventually, they were again found guilty, after due process, of committing AWOPs which is now tantamount to gross and habitual neglect of duties,” the statement read.
 
Beghanilum said they got the ire of the management after they took a hard stance during the collective bargaining agreement negotiations in 2006.
 
He added they have not incurred absences since they have filed a union leave, explaining that the company has allowed union members to avail of 1,000 days leave annually from 2001 to 2006.
 
“But the company claimed the union members have already utilized the leave credit allowed us,” Beghanilum said.
 
In a letter dated September 11, 2007, Robert Buranday, Dolefil industrial relations manager, notified Beghanilum “with regret” that the latter was found guilty of violating company rules and a section of the Labor Code.
 
“In view of this, your employment shall be terminated for cause effective the close of the business hours on September 13, 2007, or upon receipt thereof, whichever comes first,” Buranday said.
 
Buranday added that Mr. Beghanilum’s retirement benefits as well as vacation leave credits are forfeited.
 
Beghanilum estimated that his retirement benefits could reach P800,000, having been  working in the company for 32 years up to the time of his termination.
 
Velonero has almost similar number of years working with the company, Beghanilum said.

The NLRC has set the hearing for the case on February 22 in nearby General Santos City, the union members said.
 
“We are confident that the case will be resolved justly and fairly (in our favor),” Davis said. (MindaNews)

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