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PIA Press Release

GMA asked to intercede for Mirant Sual workers

Dagupan (29 November) -- Gov. Victor E. Agbayani has asked President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to intervene so that employees of the Sual Coal-Fired Power Plant operated by Mirant Corporation will keep their jobs or given just remuneration in case their services are severed soon.

Agbayani wrote the President in the face of the impending sale of shares of the Mirant Asia Pacific Limited, Hongkong, parent company of corporations of Mirant Philippines, to another company.

In his letter dated Nov. 20, 2006, the governor asked for help to ease the brewing tension between top management of Mirant and its employees at the plant site in Sual town here.

There are more than 300 employees at the plant facing uncertain fate because of the impending sale, some 260 of them from Pangasinan, he said.

As a result of this tension, members of the Sual Power Plant Station Employees filed a request with the Department of Labor and Employment for administrative intervention.

Without strong mediation and intervention, the exchange of legal arguments between management and employees may become long and tedious process, Agbayani said.

"Our real concern is we would like the employees to have some security of their tenure. We would like continuity of their services and employment. I think they deserve it because it is Filipino ingenuity and industry that had helped Mirant Philippines successful and profitable," he stressed.

The Sual Coal-Fired Power Plant is one of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) built sometime in 1994 under the Build-Operate-Transfer scheme.

It is producing 1,200 megawatt of power for the Luzon grid which was aimed to forestall any more power blackout in the country at that time.

Agbayani said that Mirant has been claiming that it has included in the bidding terms, the condition that the buyer should retain the services of the employees and continue the implementation of existing company policies and practices.

Apparently lacking clear documentation of this claim of Mirant, the employees contend that they do not have binding guarantees on the continuity of their employment after the sale.

Employees expressed fear that upon the sale of business and the change of ownership, their employment with Mirant will have been severed and that their right for separation pay from, for their length of services, should accrue and become due upon the consummation of the sale.

The management maintained that what is being sold are the shareholdings of Mirant Asia Pacific Ltd (MAPL), Hongkong, the parent company of the corporations of Mirant in the Philippines and that such sale will not affect the employment relationship between Mirant and its employees.

Agbayani said in his letter that based on this, employees fear that Mirant may not be liable anymore to pay their separation pay. (PIA-Pangasinan/with PIO) [top]

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