June 29, 2009
Management has changed its position from not saying anything during the hearings at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) (and privately daring the workers to file a court case for illegal suspension) to an offer to retrench the workers and pay a separation rate of P2,000 (approximately US$40) per year of service. That is below the standard set by the Labor Code that retrenchment in cases where the company is not suffering losses should be a month's wage per year of service (the minimum wage prevailing at Cebu is roughly P7,000 (US$140) a month). At the hearing today at the NCMB, management raised the offer to P3,000 (approximate US$60).
The workers are refusing management's offer of separation. Likewise, the workers do not want to pursue a case at the labor court for illegal suspension since the system is so corrupt and even when the workers get a favorable decision, it would take a year or more. Instead the workers would rather fight it out through protests and solidarity.