Twenty-six terminated members of the Bacolod Columbia Marketing Workers Association, and other workers who voluntarily joined the strike last year, were ordered reinstated by the National Labor Relations Commission 7th Division, Jose Roland Cansenaje, its president, said in a press conference yesterday.
The decision signed by NLRC presiding commissioner Violeta Ortiz-Bantug, and commissioners Jose Gutierrez and Julie Rendoque, said the workers are entitled to reinstatement without losing their seniority rights and other privileges.
Cansenaje said that the NLRC declared the 11-day strike of the worker’s union on August 2012, valid. The termination of the 26 employees is also illegal, the agency said in its decision.
The management of the BCMI was also directed to pay the dismissed employees P393,717.10, as full back wages and attorney’s fees, the decision said.
Cansenaje said that on August 13, 2012, the 16 unionists were harassed by the personal bodyguard and driver of Alfonso Chan Choa, owner of BMCI, who pointed a gun at them. “The workers went out and the company charged them for abandonment”, he said.
Cansenaje said that when the management learned that they were electing new officers, they were terminated because the BMCI said that they cannot form a new union because there was an existing one.
The order will take effect 10 days after the BMCI receives it, he added.
The DAILY STAR contacted the BCMI for comment but a woman from the firm’s human resources department said over the phone that the case is being handled by their legal counsel.*SGG