November 26, 2010
The Best Chemical and Plastic Inc. / Best Chemicals Inc. (BCPI BCI), a Korean-owned factory at Carmona, Cavite, is on the verge of a strike as workers voted overwhelmingly for it last Tuesday. The management and union are presently meeting at the office of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board in Imus, Cavite for compulsory mediation.
The workers decided to hold a strike with 48 voting yes, 2 voting no out of 69 members of the BCPI BCI Independent Union. The dispute arose out of management’s decision to shutdown the BCI plant which will lead to the layoff of 36 union members and seven union officers. Thus the union filed for a notice of strike on the basis of union busting.
Alex del Rosario, president of the BCPI BCI Independent Union, explained that “We have been forced to the brink of a strike due to management’s union busting moves. The closure of the BCI plant is dripping with bad faith on the part of management. Its not so hidden agenda is to block collective bargaining negotiations and destroy the union. We are poised to strike at any time should mediation efforts produce no results.”
The BCI plant is due to close next Monday, 30 days after the company announced the closure last October 29 amidst talks for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and management’s petition to cancel the union certification. The circumstances lead the union to question the motives of the shutdown.
The union withdrew an earlier notice of strike after management signed a memorandum of agreement agreeing to start CBA negotiations, a promise it did not however keep. The NCMB even claimed success for settling the dispute in a news story published in the Inquirer.net last October 31. “The right to organize a union and bargain collectively has been an uphill battle in the face of management’s intransigence,” del Rosario alleged.
Dennis Sequena, coordinator for the Cavite chapter of Partido ng Manggagawa which is supporting the BCPI/BCI workers, explained that highlights of the protracted dispute: “The union won a certification election last July despite management interference in the exercise of the right to organize, and collusion by local government officials and Labor Department functionaries. Management then filed a protest at the results of the certification elections which was dismissed for lack of merit. All throughout management repeatedly ignored the union’s request to table the CBA proposal it submitted. Thus the union filed a notice of strike last September 27 on grounds of management’s refusal to bargain but on good faith withdrew it once management promised to start CBA talks. The company’s betrayal of the memorandum of agreement and subsequent closure of the BCI plant led to the present stage of the workers struggle.”