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Bacolod City, PhilippinesSaturday, January 8, 2011
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‘Union’ members, hospital
split over retrenchment

The workers' union of the Bacolod Our Lady of Mercy Specialty Hospital yesterday claimed that some of its members have been asked to sign a waiver withdrawing their union membership, Roberto Villaram, its president, said.

Villaram said they learned about the waiver two days ago but this will not stop them from pressing charges against the hospital.

Meanwhile, he said, they are preparing for the first hearing on the case they filed against BOLMSH for illegal dismissal and unfair labor practices at the National Labor Regulations Commission on Jan. 19.

A statement from BOLMSH said it started retrenchment of non-patient care-related positions due to insufficient revenues and its reorganization. It said retrenchment is a prerogative of management in order to properly manage its meager resources and improve its operations and services.

Retrenchment is legal and allowed by the Department of Labor and Employment so long as DOLE regulations are complied with, including renumerations and benefits as required by law, the BOLMSH also said.

Most hospitals in the country have also sourced out orderlies and janitorial services, and BOLMSH is doing the same, it added.

It also said that the employees who rallied were not affected by DOLE wage orders 16, 17, and 18 because they have already been paid the required salaries.

The BOLMSH also said that when the hospital issued the notice of retrenchment, the management had no knowledge, nor had it received any notice of a registered union.

The hospital also disclosed that many of the signatories to the formation of the supposed union have issued affidavits on how they were misinformed about the signature campaign. They thought their signatures were needed to request for the status of the Social Security System account, they said.

The BOLMSH management admitted the delay in remitting its employees’ SSS premium payments but said it has already updated its payments and have completely complied with the law by availing of the amnesty program of the SSS.

The SSS premium payments of the janitors and the orderlies had been fully cleared even before their picket, and they were paid one month of their salaries in advance on Dec. 30, 2010 which they received directly through their ATM accounts.

They will also receive their separation fees when due, the BOLMSH said.*LTG



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