Dolefil, labor unions forge ‘industrial peace accord’

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/01 February) – Two labor groups seeking to represent the workers of Dole Philippines in a new collective bargaining agreement with the fruit giant have forged an “industrial peace accord” with the company and other stakeholders for a peaceful and credible certification election, a top Labor executive said on Tuesday.

Ma. Gloria A. Tango, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment in Central Mindanao, said that Dolefil and two labor unions have agreed to respect the social partnership accord they signed last Monday.

The move was in line with the looming expiration of the CBA between the company and the workers.

Tango said that Labor Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz issued last month an order creating a tripartite committee to ensure the integrity of the certification election at Dolefil, the date of which is yet to be set.

Tango said that a pre-election conference was set on February 4, where the parties will agree to set the date for the voting.

Two labor unions—the Amado Kadena-National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno and the Labor Employees Association of Dolefil-Polomolok Hourlies (Lead-Polomolok Hourlies)—have been jostling for recognition as labor union representative.

The CBA, signed between the Dolefil management and Amado Kadena, is set to expire on February 10, 2011.

Tango said that other “social partners for industrial peace” in the region, such as the military and the police, Commission on Human Rights, and local government unit of Polomolok, have also committed support to ensure the credibility of the election.

Leaders affixed their signatures to a document titled “Social Partnership Accord on the Conduct and Related Activities Before, During and After the Certification Election at Dole Philippines, Inc., Cannery Site, Polomolok, South Cotabato,” a copy of which MindaNews obtained.

Lawyer Rene Ruel B. Almero, Dolefil legal department manager, assured the company will take no part in the certification election save as mere “by-stander” pursuant to the Labor Code of the Philippines.

“[Dolefil] fully supports the certification election as a democratic process which will allow the workers freedom to choose which union will be their next bargaining agent,” he said.

For their part, the Amado Kadena and Lead-Polomolok Hourlies, represented by Jose N. Teruel and Francis R. Gales, respectively, vowed to conduct activities related to the certification election, including campaign rallies and programs, in a peaceful and orderly manner.

Both leaders also promised to “refrain from giving statements that may ruin the reputation of some persons or will hurt others’ feelings.”

Last year, Dolefil has denied being a labor rights violator, after it was accused of union busting when management recognized the Lead-Polomolok Hourlies headed by Gales.

Kevin Davis, Dolefil general manager, said that as a matter of policy, “Dolefil respects the rights of its workers to organize, which is public knowledge in the community and as demonstrated by its historical dealings with various trade unions as early as the 1960s in its operations in the Philippines.” (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)