In a decisive move to consolidate further the gains in the country's labor relations and industrial peace, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has initiated Project SpeED (Speedy and Efficient Delivery of Labor Justice) to hasten the disposition of pending labor cases.
The thrust complements the DOLE's efforts ensuring, hand-in-hand with the social partners (labor, management and government) the progressive decline in the incidence of strikes now reaching record low levels in the country's history.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said that there was a 20 percent decrease in strike levels nationwide from five in the same period last year, to only four from January to August 2009.
Amidst the development, the DOLE had set in place a mechanism to facilitate the resolution of all labor disputes, and relatedly, the delivery of labor justice and assistance to needy workers.
Roque constituted a committee headed by Labor Undersecretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz to take charge of the Project aimed at ensuring speedy and efficient delivery of labor justice (or DOLE SpeED).
Baldoz indicated that crucial DOLE agencies are involved in the process to achieve this, including the National Labor Relations Commission, National Conciliation and Mediation Board, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Bureau of Labor Relations, the Bureau of Working Conditions, the DOLE Legal Service, and DOLE Regional Offices.
She said that towards this, the agencies involved will together aim to substantially declog their case dockets through salient and practical approaches, with the NCMB designated as the Secretariat to ensure the progress of the efforts and accurate report. The approaches, she indicated, include the adoption of an efficient quota system, as well as the sharing of resources and manpower wherein the regions with less cases will assist and complement those that have current backlogs. In addition, strict monitoring and provision of performance-based incentives and imposition of sanctions on non-performance will be observed, towards the review of procedural rules to achieve the expeditious resolution of the cases.
Meanwhile, the NCMB has indicated that it had operationalized an additional 127 Grievance Machineries (GMs) and strengthened 352 others in organized establishments, and at the same time, institutionalized 109 GMs and strengthened 130 more in unorganized establishments from January 1 to August 15, 2009.
In total, there are now 1,163 active GMs in organized establishments, along with 510 in unorganized ones nationwide, the NCMB said.
In addition, since January this year, the success of the agency in disposing 461 Single Entry Approach (SENA) cases resulted in cumulative economic packages P15 million benefits to 811 workers, even as it also disposed 59 voluntary arbitration (VA), and 288 preventive mediation cases.
Moreover, the NCMB said that under Preventive Mediation, the cumulative monetary benefits as a result of the settlement of collective bargaining deadlock issues reached P48 million benefiting 879 workers, while cumulative separation and restitution packages amounting to P56 million were facilitated benefiting 931 others.
Finally, cumulative CBA economic benefits achieved as a result of the settlement of bargaining deadlock cases were computed at P345 million benefiting 5,966 workers, alongside separation and restitution packages worth P129 million benefiting 1,416 workers. END/mjlc