Bicam report on swift, inexpensive labor dispute settlement gets Senate nod

The bicameral conference committee report which seeks to institutionalize conciliation-mediation as mode for voluntary labor dispute settlement was adopted by the Senate last Monday.

Conciliation-mediation is described as “a non-litigious, non-adversarial, less expensive and expeditious mechanism in assisting contending parties towards reaching their own mutually-acceptable settlement to the labor dispute.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, principal author of the measure, says that the report on the disagreeing provisions on Senate Bill 2918 and House Bill 6686 prescribes that all cases arising from labor and employment shall now be subject to mandatory conciliation-mediation.

Sen. Estrada, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, says that the measure follows the success made by the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) Program implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment.

Under the SEnA, labor disputes (including money claims, termination of employment, unfair labor practice, OFW cases, among others) shall undergo a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation process to effect settlement between parties.

Since the implementation of the SEnA in October 2010 up to August 2012, the DOLE Regional Offices settled 71% of the cases referred to them, while other attached agencies settled 81% of the cases.

“This alternative labor dispute mechanism does away with the hassle of going through the usually brutal and slow process of adjudication and litigation. As we have seen in the initial implementation based on SEnA, this has effectively declogged the adjudication system and allowed parties to reach agreeable settlement without delay and through continued dialogues” Jinggoy states.