Coke contract disputeBy Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ALTHOUGH a group of 13 staff members of the disbanded Coca-Cola franchise led by former PBA alternate governor Kenneth Duremdes sought the mediation of PBA commissioner Chito Salud in settling a dispute with management, the commissioner said it is best to allow the parties concerned “to settle the matter internally.”
Kenneth wore the Coke jersey years ago before sitting as Powerade’s alternate governor in the PBA board. When the Powerade franchise was recently sold to Mikee Romero’s Sultan 900 Inc., he and other team members and even reserve players were displaced.
Under the terms and conditions of the sale, the new owner was obliged to absorb only the active players of the team. From the officials and coaching staff, only assistant coach Ricky Dandan was retained.
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Normally, if a team that disbands is left with contractual obligations as in the case of Powerade, the company offers to buy out the live contracts at a discounted price.
But in this particular case, Kenneth said he and his group were treated as office employees.
“Powerade offered to pay us a month’s salary for every year of service. For example, since I have rendered four years of service to the team, I can expect to get a terminal pay equivalent to four months’ salary.”
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Like Kenneth, most of the staff members have contracts that will expire in August 2013.
“This means that legally, the company is obliged to pay us 12 months’ salary and not a month’s pay for every year of service. That is unless we voluntarily resign and/or are absorbed by another team like head coach Bo Perasol, who will replace Norman Black at the Ateneo bench after this season, or assistant coach Alex Compton, who will assume the same position with the Alaska Aces.”
Kenneth said management informed them of what they stood to receive when they were handed their walking papers.
“‘Take it or leave it,’ that’s what we were told.”
Last Monday, amid the festivities at the PBA Press Corps Awards night, commissioner Salud tried to reach Ronnie Asuncion, who replaced JB Baylon just before the team folded up. But Asuncion was on a business trip abroad.
Most likely, the commissioner was going to relay the counteroffer from Kenneth and his group.
“We have agreed to settle for 75 percent of our contract,” the PBA legend said.
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HOOPVINE: Our condolences to the family of former San Miguel coach Ignacio “Ning” Ramos who passed away recently … Our heartfelt sympathies likewise to veteran photographer Tony Lu whose elder brother Domingo died after a lingering illness … It was PBA legend Bogs Adornado who informed me of Ning’s demise. Ning was Bogs’ coach in the 1972 Munich Olympics team where we beat defending Asian champion Japan, African champion Senegal and Egypt.
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