Region 12’s industries strike-free for 6 years

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 20 Nov) – Region 12 or Soccsksargen Region’s industries have remained “strike-free” in the last six years due to the sustained industrial peace in the area, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Chona Mantilla, DOLE-12 regional director, said such scenario was mainly due to the successful interventions of the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (RTIPC) in various labor-related disputes that emerged in the area in the last several years.

“Contending parties (labor and management) in the area usually opt to engage in dialogues with the guidance of government entities to exhaust all peaceful means to resolve conflicts as well as issues and concerns,” she said.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The official said among the RTIPC’s major accomplishments was the resolution earlier this year of the long-drawn labor dispute at pineapple giant Dole Philippines Inc. (Dolefil) in Polomolok town in South Cotabato.

The settlement came after DOLE-12 and other government agencies brought Dolefil and labor groups Asosasyon sa mga Mamumuo sa Dolefil Alang sa Kalingkawasan ug Demokrasya sa Nasud-National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (Amado Kadena-NAFLU-KMU) and Labor Employees Association of Dolefil.Polomolok Hourlies (Lead.PH) to the negotiating table for a peaceful settlement of claims.

For over a year, the involved parties engaged in 32 meetings that eventually resulted to an out-of-court settlement, said Feliciano Orihuela Jr., National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB)-Region 12 director.

Last February, he said Dolefil paid Amado Kadena-NAFLU-KMU some P1.113 million for the settlement of workers’ claims.

The settlement also resulted to Amado Kadena-NAFLU-KMU’s concession to Lead.PH as the legitimate labor group within the company, he said.

In other cases, Orihuela said the timely intercessions of the RTIPC have helped quell plans by some local labor groups to stage strikes and related actions.

Through the regular RTIPC-led dialogues, consultations and meetings between the labor and management sectors, he said various labor-management issues that came up in the area were effectively addressed and eventually resolved.

With the continuing industrial peace in the area, the official said the operations of local industries and companies have become more stable.

He said they intend to maintain a clean record in the area in terms of labor strikes to help attract more investors. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)