EDC SNGPF Union members Larry Macay and Eric Cabatbat plant BINHI native trees in Negros OrientalEnergy Development Corporation (EDC) management and the rank and file (RF) and professional/technical (PT) employee unions celebrated the conclusion of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations by simultaneously planting threatened native tree species across all geothermal field sites.
The unions decided to plant trees in support of BINHI as an alternative to the usual practice of giving commemorative tokens to the panel members; the BINHI seedlings were planted across EDC’s geothermal sites in Leyte, Negros, Bicol and Mount Apo.
Furthermore, the employee unions agreed to forgo printing of CBA booklets and to adopt digital copies in support of EDC’s regenerative agenda. They suggested donating a portion of the savings from nonprinting of CBA booklets to the SIKAT scholarship program.
Importance of trust
EDC president and chief operating officer Richard Tantoco emphasized the importance of trust in the organization during the negotiations.
“I would like to congratulate all of you for the show of industrial harmony and peace that took place during these discussions. It is outstanding that we were able to conclude the negotiations again in one meeting which took 20 to 30 meetings in the past,” he said.
Tantoco added: “Our union leaders also elected to forgo mementos like sign pens and asked instead that the amount saved be invested in planting trees which they themselves wanted to do. This kind of alignment is one that we need to cherish and is evidence of the transformation that can happen when trust precedes transactional discussions. Ultimately, engagement and trust translate to overall company performance.”
Beth Nasol, EDC senior vice president and human resource management group head, expressed her gratitude for the sound partnership of the labor unions and management.
“I’m very happy about this partnership because both union leadership and management are very expansive in our approaches to negotiations even during the various lockdowns being enforced in the country. This is truly a first-of-its-kind achievement for labor relations, employee engagement and internal communication in the country,” she said.
10 unions’ support
The company recognized the 10 unions’ inspiring and innovative demonstration of support for EDC and its regenerative efforts.
These include Bacman Professional and Technical Employees Union, Bacman Geothermal Inc. Professional/Technical Employees Coalition, Demokratikong Samahang Manggagawa ng EDC-BGPF-BGI-Association of Democratic Labor Organization, Leyte A Geothermal Project Employees’ Union and Leyte Geothermal Professional and Technical Employees Union.
The other unions are Mt. Apo Professional Technical Employees’ Union, Mt. Apo Worker’s Union-Associated Labor Unions, Negros EDC Professional and Technical Association-Associated Professional, Supervisory, Office and Technical Employees Union (NEPTAAPSOTEU), PNOC-EDC SNGPF Rank and File Union (SNGPF RF) and Tongonan Worker’s Union-National Federation of Labor Unions.
Patrick Diao, president of SNGPF RF, said “both management and the union panels were able to conclude the CBA negotiations in a peaceful and timely manner because of the trust that was built through the years of cooperative and collaborative efforts. Despite the pandemic, where many businesses have been disrupted, EDC has survived and is still generous enough to share some blessings to its employees.”
NEPTA-APSOTEU president Gelia Gloria-Taboco stressed: “We consider the end result a victory because the unions have strived to maintain a harmonious relationship with management and vice versa. I hope the union leaders will continue to recognize the importance of representation and participation as the management also continues to look after the welfare of its unionized employees.”
The leaders of the management panel were RF chairman Noel Tan and vice chairman Luis Gonzales, PT chairman Estanislao Pialago Jr. and vice chairman Roderick Flores, and members Jonah Carmen Facturan, Abraham Manansala, Nelson Nanual, Ferdinand Geronimo, Jaime Dumlao, Jose Noel Luna, Julio Sulit IV, Laarni May Aida Naranjilla, Cromwell Ozoa, Romeo Kee, Leonita Sabando and James Nogara.
In 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment had lauded EDC for its historic virtual CBA negotiations and signing via Zoom, which was a first in the region and the country. (Story/Photos by: Jolly Jamoralin)