STUDENTS of the University of San Carlos (USC) Talamban Campus were dismayed their transactions with the school were interrupted because of the former workers' protest.

Richard Manuel, a chemical engineering student, was scheduled to enroll yesterday but could not go inside because the laid off workers under the General Services Office (GSO) were protesting outside the campus, blocking his entry.

"We understand their sentiments, but we also have our own business in the school. We should not be the one affected," he said.

Pharmacy student Rose Lira also had trouble entering the campus.

“There's nothing I can do about it. I'll just come back when they're no longer here,”

Lira said in Bisaya.

Since May 15, the former school GSO employees protested outside the campus claiming they have been forced to resign without a valid reason.

They consisted of plumbers, carpenters, a painter and an electrician, all members of the USC GSO Employees' Union, which accused the school of union-busting for abolishing their department in the guise of cost-cutting.

Vicente Nardo, one of those employees, said they all want to go back to their jobs and won't stop protesting until they can do so.

Nardo refused the school's retirement offer.

Cerwin Eviota, USC's communications consultant, said the school may be forced to take legal actions against the former employees if they continue to bar students, visitors, and employees from entering the school premises.

"We respect the manner by which the union members have fought the issues in the exercise of their rights. But it is not right to prevent the ingress and egress of visitors. If this continues, we will have to take legal actions," said Eviota in a phone interview with Sun.Star Cebu.

Eviota said that from the 16 laid off workers who protested last May, there were only 12 remaining yesterday.

He also said that the USC board has agreed last May 27 that the termination of employment is final and non-negotiable.

The decision was also submitted to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board on May 28.

Further, Eviota said that despite the termination, workers were offered a month's salary for every year of service and an additional 10 months.

The offer was good until May 31 and those who refused will only get the retirement offer mandated by law, which is half-a-month's salary for every year of service.

The school decided to dissolve the department and eventually turn to outsourcing to save on costs because the implementation of the K+12 program is expected to hurt the school.

"With the implementation of the K-12 system, we have anticipated a big drop in college enrollment by academic years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 with the entry of Grades 11 and 12 in senior high school. We also expect that only a few will pursue college studies by school year 2018-2019," the school said in an earlier press statement. JTR