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 Dumaguete port workers ink CBA

 

By Enemesia Sanchez

   

 

After six turbulent years with notices of strike and five actual strikes, the struggle for better work conditions of Dumaguete port workers has been completed with the renegotiation of the economic provisions of the Prudential Customs Brokerage Services, Inc Employees Union (PCSBSIEU)–ALU and Prudential Customs Brokerage Services, Inc. (PCBSI) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). They  include health and safety benefits; adjustments in the number of days of the workers’ sick, vacation and emergency leaves; loan benefits, among other things.  

 

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) - Dumaguete City Port Manager Annie Lee Manese, PCBSIEU President Levy Tambiga, PCBSI Manager for Administration Marcus Arcadio Lauron, Associated Labor Unions (ALU) Dumaguete District Officer Felizardo Calimpong, and ALU Central Visayas Regional Office Officer-in-Charge Ferdinand C. Jumapao signed the CBA on 15 September 2011 at the Plaza Maria Luisa Suites in Dumaguete City.  

 

The latest CBA signing carries with it early struggles to organize, bargain collectively, keep jobs and protect union life.  

 

Around 200 Dumaguete port workers were organized in June 1999 with registered name of Cipres Stevedoring and Arrastre Inc. Employees Union (CISAIEU) – ALU.  Duration of the first CBA was from 1 June 1999 to 31 May 2004.  

 

Dumaguete port workers held a total of five (5) strikes from March 2002 to March 2008.  

 

The 13-31 March 2002 strike pressed for the strict implementation of CBA provisions.  The labor dispute was immediately assumed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. During the strike, ALU’s Calimpong was shot at the upper nape and was in critical condition for sometime in a local hospital.  Fortunately, he survived the gunfire and has remained a union leader in the area.  

 

Six months later, on 19 - 23 September 2002, another strike was held and, this time, the PPA assumed jurisdiction.  After four peaceful years, another strike was staged by the union members on 1-7 December 2006 against the PPA and Dumaguete Port Services (DPS).  

 

The 2007 strike started on 9 September and lasted for more than a month.  The  main concern was the employment absorption of all union members by new management.  However, PCBSI refused, claiming it was not bound by the CBA between the workers and the workers’ former employer, the Cipres Stevedoring and Arrastre, Inc. (CISAI).   The Secretary of Labor and Employment assumed jurisdiction over this dispute between the union and the PPA and DPS.  

 

The last strike was staged from 13 March to 22 April 2008, again, due to the company’s failure to hire all workers of the previous port operator, the CISAI.  On 28 March 2008, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) ordered the union to stop its ‘illegal’ strike. Four workers were injured when police attempted to disperse workers who continued to picket. On 24 April, workers returned  to work after PCBSI agreed to rehire all the former workers under the same terms and conditions of employment prior to the labor dispute and to recognize the union.  

 

On 4 February 2009, a supplemental CBA was included in the original CBA. The last two years of the CBA economic provisions was renegotiated and inked on 15 September 2011.