Union, Chong Hua Agree To P15 Increase

FROM the original demand of P60-per-day wage increase, members of the Chong Hua Hospital Employees Union (CHHEU)-Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) and the hospital’s administration agreed to a P15-per-day increase.

This agreement was reached on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019—the eve of the scheduled strike.

According to National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) 7 conciliator and mediator Hacelfeo Cuares, the increase is retroactive to May 18, 2019.

The “win-win solution” came after four mediation schedules with the NCMB 7, preventing CHHEU-ALU-TUCP to stage a strike on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Before reaching the decision on Sept. 3, union leaders and hospital representatives had met at the NCMB 7 office in Cebu City on Aug. 27-29.

Cuares told SunStar Cebu that both parties settled for the P15 wage increase for the fourth (2019) and fifth (2020) year of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

If there would be a legislated wage increase, the hospital administration would give it to the union members in full and add it to the P15, said Cuares.

CHHEU president Lito Suco said the result was “okay.”

“We, in ALU, do not want further conflict. We also do not want to compromise our patients, especially now that we have many dengue patients. The amount was also approved by our members. At least, there is an increase,” he said.

Around 945 rank and file employees of the hospital’s branch in Cebu City—composed of some 400 nurses, ambulance drivers, medical technologists, cashiers, nursing aides and pharmacists—want a P60 daily wage increase.

During the initial negotiations, the union lowered the amount to P20 a day. However, the hospital management offered only P15. This resulted in a deadlock in the CBA, prompting the employees to file a notice to strike.

A strike vote was also held, and 830 union members voted yes to strike, which ALU-TUCP lawyer Michael Francis Hubahib said was the group’s last resort.

Before filing the notice to strike, Suco said the union wanted other benefits, but the group opted to give up these as the members decided to focus on their wage increase demand.

Among the union’s abandoned demands were optional retirement pay of 20 days for every year of service if a union member is employed for 10 to 19 years, hazard pay of P500 per month to all rank and file employees and longevity pay. WBS


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