Digitel says redundancy in line with Supreme Court, DOLE orders

Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc (Digitel) on Wednesday said it has complied with the order of the Supreme Court (SC) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to compensate 13 employees dismissed in 2005.

In a statement, Reuben Pangan, Digitel spokesperson, said more than half of the 13 former employees accepted their separation pay as ordered by the High Tribunal

Digitel however has been unable to commence negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as ordered by DOLE to implement the court decision, Pangan said, adding that there was no collective bargaining unit to talk to after the company completed its redundancy program on March 15.

He said Digitel has had to conduct this redundancy program following the decision to migrate over 140,000 landline subscribers in its franchise areas in northern, central, and southern Luzon to Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT).

To recall, PLDT two years ago bought Digitel from the Gokongwei group. Digitel operates Sun Cellular.

Pangan’s statements came on the heels of the Digitel Employees Union’s (DEU) protest against PLDT’s voluntary retirement program.

“In our manifestation to the DOLE, we have signified that due to supervening events that involve the separation of employees due to the redundancy program, Digitel has no rank-and-file employees as of March 16, 2013, hence, a non-existent collective bargaining unit,” Pangan said.

He noted that nearly 80 percent of the remaining 424 Digitel employees agreed to the redundancy program that provided a package that was approximately twice the amount required by law plus a two-year medical coverage.

“PLDT and Sun Cellular have even agreed to hire around two-thirds of the affected employees, and those who cannot be absorbed have been given assistance through livelihood trainings and workshops,” Pangan said.

He said the former Digitel employees picketing within the PLDT premises did not question the redundancy program at the DOLE or in courts.

“Only about 70 employees refused to accept the redundancy package and less than 30 participate in the illegal picket. It is clear the handful of picketers have very little or almost no support from former Digitel employees,” Pangan said.

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