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CUC management prepares workforce reduction plan

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NINETY-THREE percent or 342 of the 368 personnel of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. have signed an addendum to their contract, agreeing to the austerity measures that CUC management will implement if its financial condition continues to decline amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re business as usual this time,” CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho said. “But like everything else we need to prepare in the event that we have to do that,” he added, referring to a possible reduction in workforce.

CUC human resources manager Vivian Santos has presented three cost-reduction measures to the board: 1) personnel cost savings and reduction in place, which include no overtime, no standby pay premium, and putting on hold hiring the replacement of 100 full-time employees; 2) austerity or reduction of work hours; and 3) reduction in workforce or  layoffs.

“Management is doing its best to cut non-personnel cost first and foremost before considering implementing measures that would impact the salaries and take-home pay of the employees,” she said.

She said the financial stability of CUC remains uncertain as utility sales have been negatively affected by the impact of the pandemic on the economy.

At the same time, she said the utility services CUC provides are essential and critical to the community, most especially during a public health crisis.

Santos said as the CUC financial condition declines and the current cost-cutting measures do not achieve the necessary savings to be able to maintain critical expenditures including fuel, personnel, repairs, materials, and other critical needs to sustain operation, CUC will have no other choice but to enforce layoffs.

She said a reduction in workforce, in turn, will affect  the sustainability of operations and services; increase hazardous conditions for employees and operations; reduce safety conditions for employees and operation; reduce quality of services and efficiencies; result in temporary and permanent loss of expertise and knowledge, less leadership and lack of oversight, exhausted and burnt out employees due to added responsibilities; loss of productivity, delayed projects, delayed customer services, communication challenges, fewer employee opportunities, low employee morale, poor corporate performance and high immediate costs.

Camacho reiterated that CUC is not implementing a reduction in workforce scheme at this time.

CUC board chair Miranda Manglona, for her part, said the HR office has reached out to all personnel to explain the possible implementation of austerity measures.

At this time, she said, CUC is fortunate that it can continue to operate without reducing the number of its personnel or their work hours.

 

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