BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
The employees’ union of the Bacolod City Water District continues to assail the signing of the Joint Venture Agreement between the utility firm and Prime Water Infrastructure Corp.
In a statement yesterday, the employees’ union said they opposed the JVA because it is clearly irregular and will be a heavy burden for the people of Bacolod City.
The JVA is also disadvantageous to the Baciwa employees, the statement said.
“From being public servants, the JVA will turn us into servants of PrimeWater, a private enterprise whose main concern is profit, not public service,“ the union said.
The JVA also jeopardizes the employees’ security of tenure, which is guaranteed by the Civil Service,” it added. The JVA gave BACIWA the responsibility for right-sizing, which will result in the absorption of public employees by the private partner, the union said.
The employees said that the management recently conducted profiling and exerted efforts to make employees believe they only have two options, the statement said.
These are to transfer to PrimeWater subject to the availability of positions and their qualifications and opt for early retirement and receive a gratuity, or financial assistance from PrimeWater.
Because things were not explained clearly to them, the employees believed they had no recourse but to make life-changing decisions, the statement said.
However, the JVA is based on the 2013 National Economic and Development Authority revised guidelines and procedures for entering into joint agreements between government and private entities, the employees said.
They insisted that based on the guidelines, they should have three options. These are to remain in government service, early retirement with separation pay, and resign and transfer to the private partner.
Meanwhile, the Baciwa board has insisted that no regular, casual, or job order personnel will be displaced with the implementation of the joint venture project.*