This is what the honourable secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz hopes to achieve in issuing Administrative Order No. 47 series of 2015 or the guidelines on the implementation of Labor and Management Cooperation (LMC) Convergence of Programs (LCP).
The concept of the program is for DOLE and its attached agencies to be able to deliver all plant-level programs and services through one plant-level structure, which is the LMC or any Workplace Cooperation and Partnership (WCP) mechanism. The programs and services identified were productivity, occupational safety and health, family welfare and grievance machinery.
The responsible offices and agencies comprising the regional LMC Convergence Team (LCT) are the Regional Conciliation and Mediation Branch 5 (RCMB5), as the implementing agency in the regional level; Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board 5 (RTWPB5) and the regional counterparts of the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), Employee’s Compensation Commission (ECC), and Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC).
As Director Gil Caragayan of RCMB5 is wont to say, “Two heads are better than one and no person has the monopoly of knowledge and skills.” He added that the convergence of activities with the DOLE is more beneficial in terms of resources and cost efficiency. “We will be hitting five birds with one stone,” he said. “Programs on productivity, occupational safety and health, family welfare, LMC, grievance and employee’s compensation programs will be converged in one plant-level activity.”
“The benefits of convergence cannot be undermined,” Caragayan further said. “This will mean fewer government agency interventions to companies involved, thus giving top executives ample time to concentrate on implementation of sound policies. They will be more compliant with labor laws and regulations and thus avoid costly litigations. Workers will be more productive as the company responds to their legitimate needs. This also reduces conflicts that would ultimately redound to industrial peace as parties would be open to discussion of issues at the plant level.”
“The ultimate result of the convergence would be one big happy family not only at DOLE but also to the workers and management alike as they would be converting their workplace as their second home worth living in,” Director Gil continued.
“Each of the members of the LCT shares their expertise that will inure to the company’s advantage and raise the bar of excellence in the promotion of their products and services for the customers’ satisfaction,” he added.
On 12 February 2015 Caragayan convened the first meeting of the members of the LCT held at the RCMB5 office wherein convergence plans were framed including identification of responsibilities and duties. Strategic planning activities and mapping of timelines were the output of the gathering.
To further disseminate the convergence of programs to stakeholders, during the first quarter joint meeting of the officers of LAMIPA and BIGMA on 18 February 2015, Caragayan discussed AO 47. He emphasized that as a convergence team, monitoring activities will be conducted to companies identified for intervention. Through the company’s LMC, the team will assess their compliance to labor standards and relations as well as provide productivity improvement programs and seminars on employee’s compensation and family welfare. This early, according to Caragayan, companies are advised to set a schedule when they will be available and ready for the evaluation of their company.
LAMIPA or Labor and Management Industrial Peace Advocates and BIGMA or Bicol Industrial Grievance Machinery Advocates are LMC regional associations that partners with the branch in the promotion of workplace cooperation and partnership to sustain industrial peace in the region.
One of the convergence activities of the Branch was the conduct of an area-wide seminar (AWS) on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms at Villa Caceres Hotel, Naga City on 17 March 2015. The pre-facilitation activity targeted companies identified by DOLEROV and RTWPB5 as companies with OSH, FW and Productivity programs. The objective is to facilitate the creation of an LMC in the participating companies with an OSH, FW and productivity programs already in place. The three programs of NCMB, i.e., Labor and Management Cooperation (LMC), Grievance Machinery & Voluntary Arbitration and Conciliation & Mediation, including Single Entry Approach (SEnA) were discussed by personnel of RCMB5. Judging by the number of indications that the representatives of the companies present during the AWS responded to the survey on their desire for the creation of an LMC in their respective establishments, is a clear manifestation that the convergence of programs is acceptable to the agencies’ clients and the respondents are willing to create an LMC in their workplace.
The following day, or on 18 March 2015 at the same venue, Villa Caceres Hotel, Naga City, another convergence program was facilitated by RCMB5. In this activity, all companies with LMC were gathered together in one area-wide seminar wherein all the converged programs were discussed. Basic information about each of the programs was cascaded to the participants by each concerned office.
DOLE Regional Office V TSSD Chief Emie Romanillos after giving an overview of the activity discussed AO 47. She explained the necessity for the companies to come up with an action plan to guide them in the setting up of schemes for their compliance to labor laws.
As DOLEROV Regional Director Nathaniel Lacambra said, the efforts of the Department is no longer police work or labor inspection but more on assistorial or developmental approach. The DOLE, together with attached agencies, implements the joint assessment technique and assists the companies to comply. The employers are given 10 days for monetary concerns and three months remediation until complied for non-monetary issues.
Caragayan enjoins everyone to give preferential attention to the convergence of programs as this eases the burden of the agency’s stakeholders in the compliance of labor laws. “Ultimately, if we are persistent in the pursuit of implementing the program, this will manifest our mandate of sustaining industrial peace. If our clients are not bogged down with labor issues this will result to a productive workplace. Ang masayang manggagawa ay nagiging produktibo. The more productive companies we have the more likely our country will progress.”
“Though our programs are diversified, we are united with one common goal of public service. Our programs are linked and are complementary with each other. This is the essence of our convergence,” explained Caragayan.
EFLEDA A. HOURANI, LIO
GIL G. CARAGAYAN