The Banco de Oro Employees Association, an affiliate of the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE)-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), has accused the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) of violating Article 256 of the Labor Code and International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 87 on Freedom of Association.
The accusation hurled by BdOEA-NUBE-TUCP comes on the heels of the looming conduct of another certification election (CE) by the DOLE after the failed CE last January following the boycott of an overwhelming majority of union members. Those who participated were the die-hard core of the United Employees of BdO, formerly the Equitable PCI Bank Employees Union, whose leaders face charges of estafa.
From the start, the filing of the petition for CE by UEBdO was attended by “unusual circumstances.” The petition did not contain a single signature from the rank-and-file employees, indicative that only the DoLE and its choice union (the UEBdO) wanted the CE, NUBE national president Jose Umali Jr. charged.
Even prior to the holding of the questioned CE, the BdOEA-NUBE-TUCP brought the matter to the Court of Appeals (CA) on June 7, 2011. The DoLE wantonly ignored the doctrine of “judicial courtesy” and forced the conduct of the CE. Now, there is a looming second CE because of the failure of the first one, despite the pendency of the case before the CA.
The BdOEA-NUBE-TUCP then sought the help of President Aquino, through a letter signed by all the union presidents of NUBE. The Office of the President referred the matter to the DoLE, despite the protestations of the BDOEA that it was an exercise in futility.
True enough, the DOLE merely repeated the arguments which were used earlier to validate the holding of a CE. Given this, the NUBE-BDOEA-TUCP asked the President to request the DOLE to hold off any further action, pending the decision of the CA.
Parallel to its request for assistance from the President, the BDOEA-NUBE-TUCP also sought the help of the ILO as the events narrated above constituted a violation of the freedom of association as enshrined in ILO Convention 87, to which the Philippines acceded. The ILO wrote to the DOLE Secretary, seeking its comments. So far, the DOLE has not responded to the ILO’s request.
The TUCP also issued a Statement of Concern on the alleged violation of ILO Convention 87 and forwarded this to the President and the ILO. And there, the matter rests at the moment.