Labor hit hardest by power outages PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 14:47

The labor sector in Zamboanga city is starting to feel the pinch because of the incessant and rotating blackouts.

Jose J. Suan, president of the Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union (PHILU) and incumbent vice president of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), said yesterday his organization’s 15,000 members with respective collective bargaining agreements (CBA) with the companies they are employed with, have been hardest hit the last four months because of the daily three-four hour blackouts.

Most of the workers are employed with the canning, plywood and fishing industries. Last December, there has been a work stoppage in most of the canning factories because of the spawning period of “tamban”, the kind of fish the canning factories use to produce sardines, Suan said.

This month, and unless the power condition improves, workers’ man-hours and working days will be reduced drastically because the manufacturing plants cannot go into full-scale operations because of the intermittent blackouts, he said. “What may follow is labor retrenchment,” he said.

He urged the government and the private sector to address the power crisis immediately before a breakdown in the labor sector happens.

Yesterday, PHILU came out with a “Declaration of Support” endorsing the plan of the San Ramon Power Incorporated (SRPI) to build a coal-fired power plant in San Ramon.

In Suan’s assessment, more than 2,000 people out of the more than 20,000 factory workers are residents of Talisayan and adjacent barangays. “These people stand to lose their jobs due to the lingering power outages,” Suan said.

In a worse-case scenario, Suan said that plants may have to relocate to other places where there is stable and sufficient power supply, thereby causing a huge unemployment problem in Zamboanga city. “That’s the last thing that we need,” he added.

“The power plant in San Ramon will finally end our perennial power problem as steady power supply will be dedicated to Zamboanga city, ad infinitum,” Suan said.

Barring hitches, SRPI will set up the plant early next year estimated to be completed in 2015. — BJ