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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Strike Incidence in the Philippines Continues to Decline

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that strike incidence in the
country continued to decrease as threats by workers to declare work
stoppages declined during the first eight months of 2009.

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said there was a 20
percent decrease in strikes as only four work stoppages occurred from
January to August this year compared to five in the same period in 2008.

Roque cited a report from the National Conciliation and Mediation Board
(NCMB) which showed that two of the four strikes occurred in July, while the
two others were declared in February and March 2009.

He said the four strikes lasted an average of only three days as the NCMB
exerted efforts to settle the strikes and prevent further disruptions of
activities at the industrial front.

As a result of shorter strike duration, Roque noted that productive workdays
lost also declined by 79 percent compared to the 2008 figures.

The DOLE Chief said the decline in strike incidence is a testament to the
stability of the country's labor relations climate as workers threatening to
declare work stoppages by filing notices of strikes with NCMB declined.

NCMB data showed that for the period ending August 31, 2009, the Board
received 208 new notices of strikes filed by workers, declining 21% from the
263 new cases docketed during the first eight months in 2008.

The fewer strikes notices also involved smaller number of workers from
48,651 in comparable period in 2008 to 44,436 this year.

Roque also said that preventive mediation (PM) cases registered similar
decline as new cases docketed during the period dropped to 11 percent from
368 PM cases last year to 329 this year.

The Labor and Employment Secretary attributed the downtrend in
conciliation-mediation cases to the maturity of labor and management, saying
the two parties now opt to discuss their differences in the shop floor
instead of fighting it out in the picket lines, or in the courts.

He said the maturity of the two parties to settle their differences
underscored efforts to prevent industrial disruptions which subsequently
helped the country cope with the global economic slowdown late last year
until the first semester of the current year.

He said the NCMB's proactive programs on workplace relations enhancement and
workplace dispute resolution mechanisms have played a great part in the
reduction of labor disputes. The Board, he added, has intensified its
activities in the setting up of labor management cooperation schemes and
grievance machinery (GMs) mechanisms in establishments.

To date, there are a total of 1,334 active and functioning workplace
cooperation and partnerships (WCPs) that continue to benefit 320,000 workers
nationwide in terms of improved communication, better management practices,
and improved corporate social responsibility.

Also, 1,447 active and functioning GMs are in place ready to process and
resolve workplace conflicts before these could mature into full blown labor
disputes that could disrupt company or business operations.

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