Workers stage noise barrage over delayed payment of benefits

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/13 January) — Break time is protest time.

Since Monday, workers of the Pacific Cement Philippines Incorporated have been spending their breaks not in the canteen for snacks but in the front of the administration building, marching around and banging metals to urge management to release their benefits.

NOISE BARRAGE. A worker flashes a V sign as he joins co-workers in staging a noise barrage in front of the administration office of the Pacific Cement Philippines Inc., in Kilomter 11, Surigao City . January 12, to urge management to release benefits due them. MindaNews photo by Roel N. Catoto The company’s 400 workers have been asking management to release their year-end bonuses, monthly benefits and retirement pay on time.

“It seems that the company has forgotten its obligations to the company’s workforce,” said Edwin Batac, chair of the Pacemco Mamumuong Nagkahiusa (Pamana).

Batac said the payment of benefits has been delayed since November.

He also alleged the company has been remiss in paying their share of the PhilHealth, SSS and Pag-ibig contributions.

Batac said only the sick leave, which is convertible to cash equivalent to 11 days work, was released to them on Wednesday.

On top of this, Batac alleged that the company has yet to pay the two workers’ cooperatives–the Pacemco Credit Cooperative and the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Pacemco Cooperative. The workers claim the company owes them P3 million.

Batac also said the company has been paying the retirement pay of workers on installment, in violation of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

He assured their protest action would not affect the operations of the company, stressing they are venting their sentiments only during non-working hours.

Jojie Kaimo, the company’s secretary to the administration officer told Mindanews no official statement has been issued as they are still awaiting word from their main office in Makati, Metro Manila.

Pacemco is one of two cement companies in the country run by a Filipino entrepreneur. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)