First Gen-owned Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) Rank and File (RF) and Professional/Technical (PT) employee unions and management marked the conclusion of their recent 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 EDC’s BINHI as an alternative to the usual practice of giving commemorative tokens to the panel members. BINHI is the company’s 14-year-old nationwide greening legacy program that aims to restore denuded forests, preserve and propagate threatened native tree species, and protect biodiversity for the next generation. The BINHI seedlings were planted across EDC’s geothermal sites in Leyte, Negros Island, Bicol, and Mount Apo.
The management panel was represented by HR’s Ferdinand Geronimo and Julio Sulit, who led the tree planting activity in the EDC Antipolo Nursery. This marked another milestone for the company as it conducted and successfully concluded CBA negotiations online for the second time. In 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) congratulated EDC for its historic virtual CBA negotiations and signing via the Zoom online application, which was the first in the region and the country.
The employee unions also agreed to forgo the printing of CBA booklets and decided to adopt digital copies in support of the company’s regenerative agenda. Furthermore, they suggested donating a portion of savings for the non-printing of CBA booklets to the SIKAT Scholarship program. SIKAT is EDC’s banner education program that provides quality education to underprivileged yet deserving students from its host communities.
EDC President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) 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,” Tantoco said.
“Our union leaders also elected to forego 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,” he added.
The mutual agreements between the management and the unions did not cause any delay or unnecessary interventions — proof of trust, harmonious labor-management relations, and regenerative partnerships that have formed.
Beth Nasol, EDC Senior Vice President and Head of Human Resource Management Group, expressed her gratitude for the sound partnership of the labor unions and the 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 the labor relations, employee engagement, and internal communication in the country,” she said.
The company recognized the unions’ inspiring and innovative demonstration of support for EDC and its regenerative efforts. EDC salutes and expresses its sincerest gratitude to the following employee unions:
– Bacman Professional and Technical Employees Union (BAPTEU)
– Bacman Geothermal Inc. Professional/Technical Employees Coalition (BGI PROTEC)
– Demokratikong Samahang Manggagawa ng EDC-BGPF-BGI-Association of Democratic Labor Organization (DSM-ADLO)
– Leyte A Geothermal Project Employees’ Union (LAGPEU)
– Leyte Geothermal Professional and Technical Employees Union (LEGPTEU)
– Mt. Apo Professional Technical Employees’ Union (MAPTEU)
– Mt. Apo Worker’s Union-Associated Labor Unions (MAWU)
– Negros EDC Professional and Technical Association – Associated Professional, Supervisory, Office and Technical Employees Union (NEPTA-APSOTEU)
– PNOC-EDC SNGPF Rank and File Union (SNGPF RF)
– Tongonan Worker’s Union – National Federation of Labor Unions (TWU)
In his message, Patrick Diao, President of SNGPF-RF, said that “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.”
Diao also ensured the management of the unions’ all-out and continued support to the company’s goal of excellence by performing their duties and responsibilities.
NEPTA-APSOTEU President Gelia Gloria-Taboco dubbed the CBA negotiation a victory. In her statement, “we consider the end result as 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 successful CBA negotiation was also made possible because of the maturity, open-mindedness, thoroughness, and tenacity of the leaders of the management panel headed by Noel Tan as the Chairman and Luis Gonzales as Vice Chairman for the RF Management Panel and PT Chairman Estanislao Pialago, Jr. and PT Vice-Chairman Roderick Flores, with 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.
EDC’s over 1,480MW total installed capacity accounts for 20% of the country’s total installed RE capacity, while its 1,184.6MW geothermal portfolio accounts for 62% of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and has put the Philippines on the map as the 3rd largest geothermal producer in the world.