Central Negros power co-op readying measures to prevent employees’ strike
BACOLOD CITY—The Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) is taking measures to avert a strike by its employees’ union and prepare contingency plans to prevent work stoppage.
But if the strike pushes through, CENECO officer-in-charge Jose Taniongon said they could hire a contractor to assume work to prevent service disruption.
Members of the CENECO Union of Rational Employees (CURE) recently voted 291-10 to hold a strike, citing the management’s failure to implement their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), its president Stephanie Montaner said.
CENECO’s management filed a request Monday at the Department of Labor and Employment for it to assume jurisdiction over the dispute and was confident the strike will not be allowed because the cooperative provides a vital service to the public that cannot be hampered.
Dennis Cortez, lawyer of the cooperative, said he believed there were grounds to consider a CURE strike illegal.
“They are studying whether to file a petition for an illegal strike because it appears that the CBA between management and the union has a no-strike clause, although under the law there are some exemptions,” Cortes said.
Taniongon reiterated that the CBA was approved at the CENECO General Assembly on Sept. 26, 2021.
However, the National Electrification Administration (NEA), in a Jan. 20 memorandum, advised the cooperative to first attain 95 percent collection efficiency before implementing the CBA.
CENECO’s collection efficiency is at 92 percent.
He said their hands were tied by the NEA requirement but as soon as it is possible, they would implement the CBA.
CENECO president Jojit Yap said the union members know her heart is with them, appealing to them not to conduct a strike now.
She said CENECO‘s collections had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and Typhoon “Odette” caused more than P21 million in losses.
As soon as the cooperative hits the 95-percent collection efficiency, the board would immediately release their CBA demands, Yap said.
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