By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 2015: Former Electric Power Corporation (EPC) employee Kini Tofi said the redundancy package given to them this morning by the EPC Board is a slap of the face and their long service to the Corporation.
Speaking to Talamua after the closed meeting of the EPC Board and redundant workers at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi (TATTE) building, he said the package offered “does not do us justice especially those who have served the country for more than 10 years.”
Kini Tofi has served the Corporation for almost 05 years while some of his colleagues has served for 10 years.
An employee that served for 11 years received a redundancy package of $5000 and another one that served for 8 years told the media his package was $3000.
EPC Board member Ale Vena spoke to the media after the meeting and confirmed what the redundant employees said.
“The redundant packages are offered according to how long they served and their performances,” said Ale.
For those that served for a year, they will receive $1000 and for those who served for 20 years and more, they will receive according to their performance, said Ale.
The packages include a three month salary plus all the redundancy privileges.
EPC Monopoly and alternative sources of electricity
62 employees have been redundant as part of the Corporation reforms and to cut costs. EPC currently monopolizes the production and sale of electricity throughout the country but opening up services to private companies now producing electricity from renewable energy sources promises cheaper electricity by at least 4% starting next year.
However, EPC is stuck with a huge loan that funded the new diesel power generation plant at Fiaga and the cost of the plant has been pushed on consumers. During a public consultation this week, a village mayor questioned why the EPC moved to make a huge loan that consumers are paying to set up the diesel plant when they knew there were alternative sources that relied on energy that are readily available in Samoa.
Ale said the redundant workers were happy with the packages and that EPC works in the future will be outsourced and the redundant employees have been told that they can apply for those contractual works.
Kini Tofi countered what Ale said as not true.
“They told us we can automatically get work with those contracts, not for us to apply again,” said Tofi.
The redundancies according to Ale, is part of the reform work on the Corporation.
“It is the goal of the Government, that Samoa will no longer rely on costly electricity because everyone will be on renewable energy by 2017,” Ale explained.
By then, the Corporation does not need many people to conduct it’s work.
Ale also denied rumors that EPC has terminated some of the student’s studying engineering on scholarship overseas.
“We are investing on the students studying overseas because those are the future of the corporation,” said Ale.
The EPC reform has been in the pipeline for three years now, and we are now implementing those changes, said Ale.
Asked if they are looking at making more workers redundant some time in the future, Ale said it depends.
He said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi has explained through his radio programmes the reason behind the reform.
The meeting was closed to the public and the media.