PowerSeraya believes in continuous engagement with its many stakeholders to keep abreast of the latest developments and to communicate our views to all parties with whom we interact. It is the process of interaction that ideas flow, opportunities are found and where innovation can take place in our relationships with our stakeholders. Our stakeholder engagement allows us to gain input and feedback on our business, clarify perceptions of our company and foster constructive relationships for the benefit of our business as well as the community. We engage our stakeholders in various ways ranging from formal meetings, dialogue sessions, customer events and initiatives with the community. These are just some of the more specific ways in which PowerSeraya engages its main stakeholders.
PowerSeraya sees itself as part of the climate change solution and regularly engages the community through environmental events organised, supported or participated in by the company. Our engagement with the community also extends to meaningful causes that benefit society.
Throughout the years, we have involved the community in both environmental as well as social initiatives. For example, our joint initiative with our landlord on the '1 Degree Up Challenge' is an annual event aimed at getting office tenants to conserve energy by raising their office temperature by 1°C on World Environment Day. In 2009, we had staff volunteers who spent time with the intellectually disabled during our bi-annual Family Day event. Our support for community work also comes in the form of donations to NGOs that seek to enhance the lives of the socially marginalised or to care for the environment. Details of our community engagements can be found in Chapter 8: 'The Environment and the Community'.
Government Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
Our main engagement with NGOs and government bodies is our contact with the National Environment Agency (NEA), the National Electricity Market, Jurong Town Council (JTC), the Energy Market Company and the Energy Market Authority. In 2009, we have been working closely with NEA and the South West Community Development Council to develop the Responsible Energy Advocates Programme (REAP), which is due to be launched in FY10/11. We also engage societies and NGOs such as the Singapore Environment Council, the Singapore Compact, Waterways Watch Society and the Singapore Polytechnic Environmental Club to collaborate on CSR activities that benefit the environment and the society.
We run energy efficiency and education events to carry out our product responsibility beyond the provision of safe and reliable electricity. At these events, customers gain an insight into electricity generation and learn about energy conservation solutions. Through these events, we also gain customer feedback, learn about their concerns and as a result, innovate our products to tailor to our customer's varied needs. For further details, kindly refer to Chapter 10: 'Product Responsibility'.
In June 2008, a customer survey was conducted to understand the correlation between the high customer satisfaction rate (from the findings of the customer satisfaction survey done in 2007) and customer loyalty. Details of the customer survey can be found in Chapter 10: 'Product Responsibility'.
Shareholders, Management and Staff
The Board of Directors holds quarterly meetings with the senior management team to update themselves on the progress of the company performance, discuss and develop the business strategy, develop medium- to long-term plans and provide advice on problems and challenges.
Our staff management dialogues are a means for the management to update the staff every quarter on the company's performance, understand the concerns of staff and elicit feedback. When PowerSeraya was in the midst of a divestment exercise in 2008 and early 2009, the staff management dialogue sessions were also used as a platform by the union to manage the anxieties of our staff (the change of owners eventually took place in March 2009).
The Business Group Retreat is an annual event held by each group to discuss plans and goals for the coming financial year. The outcomes of the retreats are used as inputs for the Management Retreat where corporate-wide business plans and goals are discussed by the senior management team. The outcomes of these discussions are then shared with the business groups so that amendments to plans are updated. The plans and goals for the coming financial year are later shared with all employees during Staff Management Dialogue sessions and through a meeting with UPAGE.
Finally, to tie these activities with our sustainability as a business and for the environment, the Sustainability Reporting Team (SRT) met several times over the report preparation period (Oct 2008 to Feb 2009). For details of the process undergone by the SRT, please refer to Chapter 2: 'Scope of Sustainability Report'.
PowerSeraya participates in the annual V94.3A/84.3A Asia Pacific User Group Meeting where users of the Siemens V94.A/83.A machinery share their experiences and knowledge on the operations and maintenance of this machine used in power plants.
As an initial step towards sustainable procurement practices, a pilot initiative was done to urge our suppliers to make voluntary submissions of the sustainability procurement checklist in the last quarter of 2009. The sustainability checklist aims to find out more about their sustainable practices and the sustainability of the products supplied. To find out more about this pilot initiative, please refer to Chapter 7 : Environmental Performance.
Employees and their trade unions
A close and productive working relationship exists between the management of the company and UPAGE with both parties committed to working together in a strategic alliance to meet challenges, resolve issues and seize opportunities with a view to enhancing business competitiveness and the well-being of employees. PowerSeraya takes a highly consultative approach, engaging UPAGE to share information, discuss business strategies and plans, taking into consideration each other's constraints, concerns and interests and seeking win-win solutions. The close union-management ties is especially relevant to the company in light of Singapore's drive to increase the country's productivity by 2% to 3 % over the next decade as disclosed during the release of the Singapore Budget in February 2010.
All employees of PowerSeraya and its subsidiaries have the freedom to join the UPAGE (Union of Power and Gas Employees). There is also freedom for collective bargaining by the UPAGE on matters concerning employees. In FY2008/2009, about 52% of the workforce is covered by the collective agreement and about 73% of PowerSeraya's workforce are UPAGE members.
On average, UPAGE and the management meet four times a year. Two of these meetings discuss bonus payout and salary increment for employees. In addition, the Management will share with UPAGE at the start of the financial year the business plans and goals so that both parties are aligned. On an informal basis, these two parties also hold meetings to discuss and resolve any issues that may arise. One of the important issues that is expected to be discussed in 2009/2010 is the re-employment of older workers. There were altogether eight Union-Management meetings in FY2006/2007 to FY2008/2009 period.
The Collective Agreement (CA), which came into effect on 1 July 2007, reiterated both the company and the union's commitment to protect the interests of the employees. With the current CA due for expiry in 2010, the Human Resource Department along with the senior management, are already making plans to review the CA for the new term. Some of the expected issues pertinent to the CA that would be discussed with UPAGE include the i) Re-employment of older workers, ii) Staff Productivity and iii) Pay-For-Performance Bonus Structure. As with previous years, a series of meetings with UPAGE will be held with management to discuss and negotiate on matters that affect our employees and reach an agreement on the final terms and conditions of the new CA. The Board's approval will then be sought on the new CA.
Under the current CA, there is no mention of a minimum notice period regarding significant operational changes. However, there is a mutual understanding on how significant matters (affecting employees) are handled under the guidance of Singapore's unique tripartite industrial relations. This indicates that the Singapore Government, the employees and unions work together to address the challenges of maintaining a productive workforce in today's competitive, globalised world for the mutual benefit of employers, workers and society. Singapore's industrial relations system is governed by the values of tripartism and this has worked well for the country for many decades.
The Restructuring Exercise of the Utilities Group - A Fine Example of the Excellent Working Relationship between Union and Management
One fine example of how significant operating changes are being handled in PowerSeraya (guided by the tripartism values) is the recent restructuring of one of the company's business groups, namely the Utilities Group. Following the new ownership change in PowerSeraya since March 2009, the restructuring of the Utilities Group was necessary to align with the operating structures and philosophies of parent company YTL Power International Berhad. This is done to take advantage of the synergistic and collaborative opportunities from having all power generating companies operate under the same modus operandi. The restructuring also meant that there was greater emphasis on developing core competencies and this led to less reliance on external parties for the maintenance of plant equipment.
The Utilities restructuring was rolled out in three major phases over four months (June to September 2009). The first phase 'Preparing for Change' essentially involved the planning work to prepare the affected staff for the transition to the new organisation structure from the existing asset-based modus operandi to one that is functional-based. Firstly, the management staff of the Utilties Group had several rounds of meetings to develop the new organisation structure to support the new modus operandi and the manpower requirements to run the power plant smoothly. The union was also consulted occasionally to seek their opinion and inputs on the new organisation structure. This was followed by the re-designation of staff which involved a considerable amount of work to assess each and every staff member's skills and competency to match them to their new job scopes. Conscious efforts were made to ensure that there was sufficient on-the-job training (OJT) for staff in new and expanded roles to cope. This was done by assigning inexperienced staff to the more experienced ones so that knowledge and skills could be learnt and transferred in a time-effective manner through hands-on training under the close supervision of mentors. Formal classroom training were also identified for staff to equip them with the necessary knowledge so they can perform effectively in their new roles.
After the first phase, the second phase was 'Managing The Change'. This involved the execution of the restructuring plan and managing the change process to ensure smooth transition on the ground. Throughout the transition, the union in close collaboration with the management team of the Utilities Group played a major role in assisting staff to shift to the new roles and facilitated close door discussions with staff who exhibited signs of anxiety or discomfort in their new roles as well as through dialogue sessions with all affected staff to communicate and re-assure them on the new changes.
The last phase of the restructuring, which is 'Reinforcing the Change', aimed to bridge any unforeseen gaps in the restructuring process and ensure that staff had settled down comfortably in their new roles. Staff feedback was gathered in the form of surveys to assess whether the restructuring plans had achieved the intended objectives. It also served to flag out any staff issues that needed to be addressed
As a whole, the restructuring exercise was a huge success due to the prudent planning and execution work performed by the Utilities Group who worked closely with the union to communicate and assure staff on the new changes. Besides the Utilities Groups, other business groups also played critical supporting roles to ensure that the restructuring process went smoothly. Accounting changes, new job descriptions and the re-allocation of inventories had to be effected in line with the new organisation structure of the Utilities Group. The restructuring exercise not only resulted in cost savings from a greater emphasis placed on developing in-house capabilities over outsourcing, it also provided immense opportunities for staff to maximise their true potential and thus developed their confidence. It also broadened the skill sets of several staff in their new found roles. In addition, the close union and management relations played a crucial role in preparing staff for the restructuring exercise – human issues were handled in an effective and sensitive manner during the execution phase to ensure that the aims of the restructuring exercise were met.