The branch is steadfast in its commitment in maintaining the favorable labor relations climate in the region, citing as example the settlement of the labor dispute involving the management of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR) and its union, the Concerned Organization of PASAR Progressive Employees Union for Reform (COPPER).

The actual strike case lasted for fifteen days since its declaration on August 4, 2020 and was finally settled on August 18, 2020 with total economic package amounting to P47.3 million for the remaining two years of its collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

According to RCMB-8 Director Rogen Cumba, the union filed a notice of strike with the branch on June 24, 2020 on grounds of deadlock in their negotiations, specifically on the economic provisions of their CBA.

Shortly thereafter, the management filed a Notice of Lockout on the same grounds.

On July 18, 2020, the union conducted a strike vote referendum which showed that majority of the union members were in favor of conducting a strike.

The lockout held by management also yielded in favor of temporarily closing down PASAR’s operations due to the labor dispute.

“The branch conducted a series of on-line conciliation-mediation conferences in an effort to settle the dispute between the two parties,” said Dir. Cumba.    “However, due to the hard stance of both parties on their original positions, the case matured into an actual strike 4 days after the strike ban lapsed,” he shared.

A series of video conferences, led by Atty. Ronda Malimban, NCMB Technical Services Director, Dir. Edmundo Mirasol of RCMB-7 and Dir. Cumba were held thereafter to explore possible options so as the parties could arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to their labor dispute.

The CBA provides for a wage hike package spread over the span of two years and a host of other benefits such as retirement pay and a unity grant.

Dir. Cumba likewise said that all other issues resolved in the conciliation-mediation proceedings, including previously deadlocked issues in the plant-level negotiations, were deemed settled.  “Further, other provisions of the existing CBA which were not modified, altered, or changed were deemed retained in the agreement,” he added.

Dir. Cumba  expressed his gratitude to the Department of Labor and Employment-RO8, Isabel, Leyte’s LGU and local police, and the Region 8 Labor-Management Cooperation Practitioner’s League (RELAMACOP) for the help and support since according to him,  the concerted efforts of these agencies and organizations paved the way for the peaceful end of the strike and the settlement of their issues and differences. PASAR is the only copper smelter and refinery in the country. Today it has the capacity to process 1.3 million metric tons per year of copper concentrates and its refinery has the capacity to process 225,000 metric tons per year of electrolytic copper cathodes.