By NITZ ARANCON
ORGANIZED workers of the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co. (Cepalco) have taken back their threat to cripple the operations of the city’s primary power distributor after they struck a deal with the firm’s executives.
The labor union earlier submitted a notice of strike before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) after negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement reached a stalemate. Had they failed to come to terms, Cepalco’s workers would launch a labor strike in time for the city’s Aug. 28 fiesta.
This was announced yesterday by lawyer Proculo Sarmen, vice president of the Alliance of Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) for northern Mindanao, who revealed that the agreement would be formalized today.
Sarmen said Cepalco executives and leaders of the Cepalco Employees Labor Union (Celu) are scheduled to sign a new collective bargaining agreement at Xavier Estates Country Club this morning.
Celu is an affiliate of ALU-TUCP.
Sarmen said Celu already withdrew the notice of strike it filed with the NCMB against Cepalco after labor leaders and Cepalco executives arrived at an agreement during a meeting facilitated by NCMB regional director Ligaya Lumbay.
The new agreement, covering a two-year period, would be signed at around 9 am today.
Sarmen hailed the successful negotiations. “Kini nga panagsabot sa management sa Cepalco ug Celu is to maintain the industrial peace.”
Amor Sanchez, Celu president, said Cepalco agreed to give its workers a raise, a signing bonus for the collective bargaining agreement, and productivity bonuses.
Sanchez said Cepalco agreed to set the age of retirement of workers at 60 years.
“Sa una man gud, kon makaserbisyo na kag 30 years automatic naka nga puwede na ipaetire. Pero karon bisan milapas nakag 30 years in service, pero wala pa mag 60 imong edad, padayon pa kag trabaho up to 60 sa imong edad,” he said.
In return, Sanchez said, Celu agreed that there would be no increase in the Cepalco workers’ Christmas bonuses.