Workers, bizmen unite over power woes

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Monday, July 21, 2014

IN A rare opportunity, employers and employees find common ground in finding the urgency to address the emerging power crisis in the country.

In a statement, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said that business and labor groups are set to meet on Wednesday to discuss the power crisis in the country.

"We have no national strategy to address the looming power crisis. So, the TUCP, other labor groups, consumer and business organizations will meet on Wednesday with the aim of figuring out a recommendation to the government on how to minimize the impact of a full-blown power crisis," said TUCP executive director Louie Corral.


He said the two sectors often fighting over labor issues deemed it necessary for them to be united in helping the government find an effective solution to the power crisis.

"The fate of all industry roadmaps particularly the employment targets is dependent on how we address the power crisis right now. A flawed power industry roadmap will be fatal to the economy. We cannot afford to hinge on the day-to-day weather predicament the fate of the employment of millions of workers," said Corral.

To recall, labor groups have already asked President Benigno Aquino III as early as last year to head a multi-agency, multi-sectoral presidential task force composed of the economic and infrastructure clusters of the cabinet, business chambers, labor, consumer and power industry players with the aim to address the power woes of the country.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla had responded last May by creating a study group under the Department of Energy (DOE), instead, said the TUCP.

Labor groups refused to participate, saying what they asked for is a presidential task force and not a study group.

TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said they are wary that the rotational brownouts could ultimately result to severe job losses across the country.

"With the rotational brownouts in the equation, TUCP fears many jobs might be retrenched with companies affected by inadequate power supply," said Tanjusay in a phone interview.

He noted how the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) had recorded last year about 40,000 people losing their jobs under normal circumstances, or due to slump in demand and high cost of production.

"If the government does not come up with the right strategy to address the problem, the numbers could easily increase dramatically to almost double," said Tanjusay. (HDT/Sunnex)

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