LAOAG CITY, May 23–The management of Manila-based 88 Green, the newest private company running the provincial government-owned Plaza del Norte hotel & convention center here was ordered to pay an accumulated P2 million-plus cash, not in kind, in favor of nearly 100 employees who are entitled to receive a share of the regular 10% service fees being charged from their customers during the past years and to date.

The Sangguniang Panglalawigan of Ilocos Norte chaired by Vice Gov. Angelo Marcos Barba and the Department of Labor and Employment provincial office here had jointly directed the 88 Green firm management to pay in cash all the 90 hotel workers on the ground that the Labor Code of the Philippines dictates the compliance of the law on the legal sharing of service charges between the employer and the employees.

The full payment must be in legal tender not in kind as dictated by Labor law, said SP member Vicentito “Toto” Lazo who exposed the alleged labor malpractices of 88 Green during his privilege speech delivered at the provincial board session hall last week. The provincial government of Ilocos Norte is deeply concerned about the issue because it owns the Plaza del Norte, he said.

Under the labor law, Lazo, also a trial lawyer, explained that of the service charge being collected from customers, the sharing must be 85% for the employees and 15% for the employer.

The case arose when complainants personally disclosed to him that the 88 Green management had its own scheme of giving the service charge incentive to its employees, Lazo said.

The workers, he added, were advised either to celebrate their birthdays or dine at the hotel’s Ayuyang Cafe restaurant, use of the hotel facilities or spend overnight in hotel guest rooms with friends or family members after which their bills were deducted from their share of the service charge.

Lazo told the media that the 88 Green had adopted the scheme as part of its business strategy to survive financial crisis.

As this developed, 88 Green resident manager Rolando Lawas spoke in behalf of his company and asked for enough leeway to pay cash to all the concerned hotel employees as he vowed to correct the alleged labor lapses to avoid repetition of the employees’ woes.

Lawas did not specify when to disburse and distribute the service charge cash incentives to the workers but his word of assurance is enough to believe his sincerity, media men were told.(TSG with va, rj, rs reports)