DOLE orders Bicol bus firm to indemnify former workers backwages amounting to P9M

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DOLE regional director Nathaniel Lacambra. Photo courtesy DOLE Region 5
DOLE regional director Nathaniel Lacambra. Photo courtesy DOLE Region 5

LEGAZPI CITY (10-Aug-2012/PNA) – The regional office of the Department of Labor (DOLE) issued an unprecedented order requiring a Bicol-based bus company to indemnify its former workers of backwages amounting to P9 million, a labor official announced here Friday.

“We did our best to settle the case amicably between the bus company and its 80 former workers but the (firm) showed no interest to resolve it compelling the DOLE to docket their case as a violation of Labor Standards favoring the complainants,” DOLE regional director Nathaniel Lacambra explained.

The rejection by the company of settling the case amicably through Single Entry Approach (SENA) proved immensely expensive for the transport firm, the biggest case recorded in the Bicol region.

SENA is a DOLE flagship reform program on labor adjudication which prescribes 30-day mandatory conciliation–mediation services to effect fair and speedy settlement of all labor cases.

Lacambra begged off from identifying the beleguared company as it continued to be a key player in the Bicol region’s transport industry.

The 80 workers filed their complaints of (illegal dismissal) before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Bicol in 2011. A year after its filing, the case was turned over to the DOLE regional office for speedy resolution.

Workers have long been complaining of slow disposition of their case saying the influential bus company is employing delaying tactics.

“We summoned both parties and offered the SENA as a means in coming up with a win-win solution but the management of the bus company showed no interest,” Lacambra explained.

He, however, said that the company requested for more time to find ways to settle the case with their workers which they granted giving them two months allowance.

The company, however, failed to come up with a solution within the given period thus, the decision.

“The workers have lost their jobs and have asserted their rights despite experiencing hunger. We can no longer prolong their agonies. We tried to settle this amicably but to no avail. Let this be a precedent case for those who do not abide by the provisions of the labor laws,”Lacambra stressed. (PNA)

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