TUBA, Benguet – The Philex Mining Corporation and the Philex Mines Independent Labor Union (PMILU) recently signed a P385.855 million 5-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) package that is retroactive in 2020.
The CBA was signed by Philex Mining Corporation president and chief executive officer Engr. Eulalio B. Austin, Jr. and PMILU president Herman Pingot that paved the way for both parties to renew their commitment to maintain industrial peace in the mine site after a strained relationship between the members of the negotiating teams during the prolonged negotiation process.
The CBA only covers the wage-related and cash benefits of the 1,287 daily and monthly paid rank-and-file workers of the country’s largest producer of gold and copper.
However, the non-cash benefits granted by the company to the workers such as free housing for their families, transportation, free schooling for their dependents, among others that account for an additional 75 percent of their wage-related and cash benefits, are not included in the coverage of the CBA.
For the first 3 years of the life of the CBA, PMILU members will be receiving approximately P193.46 million in terms of accumulated benefits that will greatly help them cope up with the negative impact of the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic although Philex continued to operate during the Luzonwide lockdown after the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases classified mining as an export-oriented industry that must not be unduly interrupted.
For his part, Austin expressed his gratitude to the labor union for having understood the position of management in striking a balance of everything during the negotiation process as no one can win them all.
He also thanked the national and regional officials of the National Conciliation and Mediation board (NCMB) for their timely intervention that paved the way for both parties to agree on the conditions of the CBA and the economic package attached to it to sustain industrial peace in the mining company.
The Philex official pointed out that whatever lessons that were learned by both parties during the negotiation process should be used to further enhance the harmonious working relationship between labor and management for the benefit of the concerned stakeholders and the host and neighboring communities that depend on the company for their jobs and other related economic activities.
Austin disclosed that Philex is the only company that is providing its workers with one of the highest compensations in the whole cordillera as it only places second to Texas Instruments in terms of economic package for its workers.
At present, Philex provides its lowest rank employee with more or less P900 daily wage which is way above the P350 prescribed daily minimum wage in the cordillera and the P535 mandated minimum daily wage in the National Capital Region (NCR).
PMILU president Pingot was proud to be a part of the negotiation process that allowed the increase of benefits for the workers based on the agreed 5-year CBA.