The highly-technical energy sector needs to communicate with ordinary consumers, like us at the Department of Labor and Employment, in the language of the layman so the ramifications of the reported electricity shortage will be understood, said Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz the other day after she and some 40 DOLE officials attended a “Power 101 Briefing” from NAGKAISA, a broad labor coalition.


“Napakalaking kapakinabangan ito dahil yung napaka-highly technical na industriya ay na-laymanize ng NAGKAISA para sa aming kaunawaan at sa kaunawaan ng ordinary consumers,” she said as she commended the presentors for ‘shedding a bright’ light on many issues in the power sector.


Wilson Fortaleza, Vicente Unay, Jr., and Louie Corral conducted the briefing, each with a presentation on the power sector, industry issues and workforce, National Electrification Administration (NEA) policies affecting labor rights, and the power crisis.


Baldoz requested the briefing because she said this is essential in applying appropriate measures to address the issues raised by labor in relation to the energy sector.


The briefing was an opportunity for DOLE officials to gain an in-depth understanding of the whole industry, including the systems, factors and processes involved, as well as the associated problems and concerns that are reportedly faced by the workers with the looming power shortage.


Undersecretary Rebecca Chato, labor relations and internal affairs cluster head said the briefing sought to provide DOLE officials with a deeper understanding of the root causes and impact of power issues so they can be guided in the implementation of appropriate interventions.


One of the recommendations that surfaced during the briefing was the conduct of a dialogue involving the DOLE, NEA, trade union representatives, and electric cooperatives.


Baldoz also said it is high time that a National Tripartite Council in the Electric Cooperative Sector be organised as a platform of discussion on power issues and challenges.


“To address labor’s concerns, we need to already have a dialogue with the NEA concerning the reported issues emanating from NEA’s jurisdiction and determination of employer-employee relations, such as encroachment of trade union and collective bargaining rights, violation of workers’ security of tenure and duty to bargain collectively, limitation of the CBA Across-the-Board Wage Increases, and redundancy of mandatory grievance procedure.


The briefing is in line with the standing commitment and continuous engagement of the government to address the labor concerns brought before the President during the Pre-Labor Day Dialogue on 29 April 2014.



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