CBA SIGNING. Visayan Electric Co. Employees Union officers led by union president Arnel Zapanta and Visayan Electric management panel, led by Engr. Mark Anthony Kindica, signing a 5-year collective bargaining agreement. Visayan Electric considered the activity as a milestone for the labor sector in Cebu while the Visayan Electric Co. Employees Union expressed gratitude to the utility’s management team for considering their concerns. (Photo courtesy of Veco) 

CEBU CITY – The management of Cebu’s biggest power distributor, Visayan Electric Co. (Veco), and its employees’ union have signed a 5-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA), marking a milestone for the labor sector here.

Engr. Mark Anthony Kindica, head of the management panel, said negotiations for the 2022-2026 CBA were by far the most peaceful and harmonious the firm has experienced.

“This was a milestone for Visayan Electric but we still have so much to do in terms of strengthening the relationship with VECEU (Visayan Electric Co. Employees Union). This is just the beginning and we are off to a good start,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

For his part, VECEU president Arnel Zapanta expressed his gratitude to the utility management team for considering the union’s concerns.

“For the first time in 15 years, CBA negotiations were made easy. This is also the first time that we signed two CBAs in less than a month. We hope that this harmonious relationship will continue. Management and labor should be a tandem,” Zapanta said.

The VECEU was supposed to sign a CBA with the Veco management in 2017 after a previous CBA already expired. However, negotiations for the 2017 CBA failed when the union and management did not reach an agreement on a number of issues, including the amount of yearly across the board salary increase that should be implemented for rank and file employees.

It was only in April of this year that the union and the management signed the 2017 CBA. Negotiations and the current CBA followed thereafter.

President and COO Engr. Raul Lucero, for his part, thanked the union and the management panel for finally resolving the CBA concerns.

“We are looking forward to years of industrial peace with the signing of the CBA. Hopefully, this is the start of a true and trusting relationship between the management and the employees union,” Lucero said.

All Veco rank and file employees will be receiving a signing bonus equivalent to their one-month salary, while confidential employees and supervisors will receive a loyalty bonus equivalent to their one-month salary.

Veco, the second-largest electric utility in the country, is owned and managed by Aboitiz Power Corp. and Vivant Corp. It serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga, and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu -- Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla, and San Fernando. (PNA)