Labor strike vs HAU drags on-A A +A
Sunday, August 25, 2013
ANGELES CITY -- The labor strike of Holy Angel University Teachers and Employees Union (Hauteu) against Holy Angel University (HAU) is still far from over, as the administration has yet to bend to the demands of the protesters for increases in their salaries and benefits from HAU's tuition increases in the last three years.
Even talks mediated by Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David have yet to yield any substantial results in the resolution of the case.
Earlier, Hauteu spokesperson Veronica Pangilinan told Sun.Star Pampanga that their group is ready to stay on the streets even for weeks, but expressed optimism that the issue will be resolved soon.
The issue started last year when Hauteu members asked HAU for a re-computation of the incremental proceeds of 70 percent of the tuition increase HAU collected.
The negotiations have reached a deadlock after HAU management refused to account for and disclose the amount of money it has collected from tuition increases, a large chunk of which is due to workers, according to Hauteu president Edmond Maniago.
HAU’s chair of the management panel, Edna Marriza Santos, was earlier quoted by the national press stating that management cannot accept the proposal “for the end-of-year re-computation of figures with regard to the amount of incremental proceeds from tuition increase and the distribution of the 70 percent of proceeds to our employees’ salaries and benefits.”
“It invokes its prerogative to handle its business operations and processes according to its best judgment and guided by the prescription of law. In doing so and in good faith, it also exercises its prerogative to keep university records of such nature in utmost confidentiality,” Santos said in a previous interview with the national press.
Maniago said the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) has mandated that 70 percent of tuition increase “shall be used for the payment of increase in salaries, wages, allowance and other benefits of teaching, nonteaching and other staff.”
The 20 percent, it said, “shall go to the improvement or modernization of buildings, equipment, libraries, laboratories, gymnasium and similar facility and to the payment of other costs of operations.” The remaining 10 percent goes to profit.
HAU raised tuition for school years 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, Ched documents showed. It also filed certificates complying with the 70-20-10 percent proceeds, according to reports.
Strike not new
The last strike the Hauteu held was in the 80s. HAU has a long history of faculty unrest with previous faculty members in the past expressing their grievances and asserting what they believed to be rights and benefits due them from HAU.
Hauteu said its members, counting some 400, as well as non-members, are entitled to 70 percent of tuition proceeds since 2010 as set by Memorandum 3 series of 2012 of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched).
Despite of this, HAU asserts that its “employees and faculty enjoy competitive salaries and benefits.”
Work as usual, but student opinion polarized
In its recent statement, HAU said that classes will proceed despite the absence of faculty members who are with Hauteu.
“Nais naming tiyakin sa aming mga estudyante at sa mga magulang na ang mga klase sa loob ng Unibersidad ay patuloy na isinasagawa. Sa kabuuang 676 na mga guro, 85 lamang ang kasama sa strike. Nangangahulugan ito na may 591 ang hindi kasama sa strike na nagpapatuloy sa pagtuturo kasama dito ang mga kwalipikadong mga 'substitutes' na ginagampanan din ng mga gurong hindi kasama sa strike,” HAU said.
Hauteu said that not all of the 676 teachers of HAU are tenured. HAU employs part-timers and even guest lecturers.
Students, from HAU’s college and high school departments have been seen attending the rallies and discussions organized by Hauteu. Some students have been liberally posting their support for Hauteu on Facebook pages put up for the labor strike. Most students, however, expressed concern over the labor dispute hoping that both parties would settle the issues soon and bring normalcy into the university.
“Hinihikayat namin ang mga empleyado at gurong kasama sa strike na huwag pilitin ang mga estudyante na abandonahin ang kanilang klase bilang pagpapakita ng suporta sa kanila. Hindi dapat hingan ng panig ang mga estudyante sa “labor dispute” na ito. Bilang mga guro at administrador, tungkulin natin na maibigay sa mga estudyante ang instruksiyon at serbisyo na kanilang binayaran nang walang pagkaantala,” HAU said in a statement. Hauteu maintained that students a free to decide on what they think about the issue.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 26, 2013.