Demonstrations and rallies help to check our officials' wrong doings. But the downside of it is - they add to the fear of investors depriving ourselves of the investments needed to kick-start the economy!
Mr. Jura had decided to join and lead a labor union. He had no idea that a catastrophic event was about to change his life. The new management of the company he worked with had taken over the former management, started reorganization and changed some of the company’s policies. Mr. Jura had worked for seven years as an accounts officer with the company.
The new management hired new personnel and employees. But on a certain account, they used cost – cutting procedure. They used to cut on the number of employees on a certain department. The company had introduced forced labor effectively. It affected to the old employees especially. They obliged their employees to do the jobs and responsibilities as the same as supervisors.
He explained, “I handled so many loan accounts, including monitoring, collections’ procedures, and other legal documentation. I could see that there were discrepancies. Promotions and salary increases were awarded and mostly enjoyed by the newly hired personnel. I have a pending promotion that the company had promised. The harmonious relationship between the employees and the employer had become chaotic. Favoritism had become obvious and the situation became worst.”
Those strategies that the company practiced had increased Mr. Jura’s desire to organize a labor union, of about two hundred members, with the primary objective of protecting the employees against the unfair labor practices of the company.
During his active Leadership
Mr. Jura noted that some of the union members were afraid to negotiate with the employer. He said, “There was a strong warning by the company, to terminate employees involved to such activity.” But despite the management cautionary action, the union stood its ground vigorously and there were more struggles.
“I concluded two Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) with the employer. The first CBA had taken us by eight months to negotiate with the employer. In the middle of negotiation with the company, they offered me promotion and money. But I had never accepted it until it ended up with deadlocked bargaining. Those eight months of bargaining with the employer had brought us too much difficulty. I really needed the money to sustain my mother’s hospitalization and to support my family. It was really hard for me to handle with the situation. But this had not affected my strong desire to lead the union. But it was difficult to render a visible protest against the company’s unfair labor practices,” he said.
The plans on a Yes – to – Strike
The union members wore arm – bands with slogans, and had picketed in front of the administration’s building. It took them a month. But the company still did not alter its decision. They felt that their crusade had failed. Their struggles seemed to have no success. These were months of desolation. It affected Mr. Jura greatly. That period of his crusade with the union had made him crippled. His mother’s condition had affected him. The agony had penetrated his heart, brought by the disturbing events, but he had never deviated from his decision. Courageously, they have said, ‘Yes to strike,’ through a consultation with the Department of Labor Employment (DOLE).
The plans on a Yes – to – Strike by the union had worried the company. So the company bribed one of the employees of DOLE to release an assumption order to stop the possible strike of the union. But the union went through with their crusade that urged the company to grant some of their demands.
In that provision, all employees, either union members or non – union members will receive 3% profit shares from the company’s annual income.
Consultation with the Management
According to Mr. Jura, the first and second distributions were in good faith, while the third time of distribution was shocking. They found that the non – members received a greater amount than the union members. This urged Mr. Jura to request a consultation with the management, but to no avail. The management justified it as their prerogative. This made the union open their second CBA.
Their second CBA with the company was not as fruitful. Their legal counsel (union) had renewed some of the existing provisions stated in the CBA. The management (company) bribed their counsel with some money.
Result of their Crusade
“We continued our struggles. We filed the case with the National Labor Counsel. The issue was for equal profit sharing. Luckily, we won the case, after two long years of labor hearings!” he said.
Mr. Jura felt jubilation to win the case. He never sold his principle and dignity to the company. He would cherish it throughout his life span and share it to his kids. He resigned from his job with dignity and pride. He said, “Courage and Unity were the best weapons to Victory.”
“It was really difficult to handle the situation. I lost my job. I have a family that needed my support. Those disturbing events that happened to me did not diminish my strength and willingness to live and survive, but I strive more to keep on living,” said Mr. Jura.
He added, “If it happened to you and you lost your job come down and never get mad. It is not the end of the world for you. There are more opportunities for you to find a job. Jobs are there just around you. Think positively. Don’t just put yourself in a corner, remembering those bad experiences that happened to you before. Maintain a good relationship with your family. Trust and understanding are really needed in this situation.
"Your family is your outlet to discuss what is good. See your friends. They are willing to help you. They can refer you to another company that needs your services. Deliver yourself to the Good Lord. He is always behind you to support you, to guide you. He is the first and the last to seek for help...hope is always there.”
At present Mr. Jura is working as a Secretary at a Construction Company in KSA. (Written with permission from Mr. Jura).