Two heads are better than one.

This adage aptly describes the settlement of the notice of strike (NoS) involving Victoria Manufacturing Corporation and its union as the team of RCMB-NCR Director and Conciliator-Mediator composed of Estrella Rosal and Helena Flores, with the guidance of no less than NCMB Deputy Executive Director Teresita L. Cancio, finally resolved the dispute in 79 days after the notice was filed.

In a report to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Executive Director Shirley M. Pascual said the Victoria Manufacturing Employees Union (VMEU), an affiliate of MELF, filed a notice of strike against the Textile firm on 07 September 2015, alleging among others, retrenchment of 36 union members, harassment, constructive dismissal, discrimination, violation of CBA provision, illegal reduction of working days/temporary shutdown from July to August 2015 (Section 1 Article V), refusal to bargain and bargaining deadlock.

During the plant level conference before the team of NCMB conciliators-mediators and after the settlement, management representatives and union leaders thanked the NCMB for the DOLE efforts that had led to a satisfactory conclusion of the CBA negotiations and the settlement of the notice of strike.

“The case went on for a longer period because of the inclusion of 6 union officers in the retrenchment of 36 union members,” Pascual said.

“Actually the union had to resort to strike after management stood its ground and remained steadfast to its position,” she added.

Faced with this challenge, Conciliator-Mediator Helena Flores, who was assigned to handle the dispute, tried everything and continuously persuaded the parties to settle, but failed to effect a settlement.

She then thought of engaging the assistance of her director, Estrella B. Rosal. With the two acting as partners, and with the guidance of Deputy Executive Director Cancio, they were able to convince the parties to amicably settle their dispute in the evening of 24 November 2015.

“The union may not even get what they wanted to take but at least, they were able to patch their differences with management and start to move forward, hoping that the continuous operations of the business may bring them sustainable employment,”Pascual said.

“The Union and management agreed to a separation package based on law or CBA provision, whichever is higher, for the retrenched employees,” she added.

“The management will also give a lump sum of Php 3, 000.00 to all covered employees (retained employees) in lieu of CBA moratorium of 5 years,” she said further.

“The settlement stopped the strike in one of the oldest textile firms in the country, which affected not only their clients but also their employees and their dependents,” Pascual added.

The settlement illustrates once more, the effectiveness of team conciliation; a strategy often resorted to by the NCMB to resolve cases. It also affirms the age-old maxim that two heads are better than one.

Victoria Manufacturing Corporation is Ortigas Extension, Barangay Sta Lucia, Pasig City.  It employs more than 100 employees. It is represented by its President, Ms. Janet Tan Siao. – Renato R. Cañutal, LIO, RCMB NCR