Teachers, non-teaching staff poised to strike vs. Davao Catholic college
“Our notice has already expired and we will conduct the strike anytime if the NCMB fails to mediate,” Mendoza said. He added they postponed the strike because they have entered into mediations with the NCMB, the latest of which was 2 PM on Wednesday. Mendoza noted that so far, no conciliation agreement was inked.
By JOHN RIZLE L. SALIGUMBA
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Labor unrest has stepped up in a college run by the city’s Catholic Archdiocese as both its teachers’ and non-teaching staff unions have filed notices of strike due to the school’s “unfair labor practice” and deadlock in negotiations, respectively.
Marlon Mendoza, President of the 30-year old Holy Cross of Davao College Employees Association (HCDCEA), told davaotoday.com that they held a referendum vote Tuesday (Jun. 25) to affirm the Notice of Strike they filed last May 31. Of the 88 members, 79 have voted yes to hold the strike.
Although the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) did not provide for closed shop provisions wherein union membership is automatic for all employees, Mendoza’s group cried foul when the school barred them from accepting eight new members.
“The management interfered with an exclusive affair of the union,” he said citing that the management’s legal counsel, submitted an “omnibus motion to intervene,” at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB).
Mendoza pointed out that they have no choice but to take action “to protect the interest and welfare of the general membership.”
Based on the law, the NOS must be submitted to the NCMB of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) at least 15 days before the intended day of the strike. Majority of the members of the union must vote to approve the strike and furnish the results to the NCMB at least seven days before the strike.
“Our notice has already expired and we will conduct the strike anytime if the NCMB fails to mediate,” Mendoza said. He added they postponed the strike because they have entered into mediations with the NCMB, the latest of which was 2 PM on Wednesday (Jun. 26). Mendoza noted that so far, no conciliation agreement was inked.
Ironically, while the non-teaching staff union accused the school management of unfair labor practice, the management accused the same to the teachers’ union. The HCDC Faculty Union (FU) is currently engaged in CBA negotiations with the management.
In a statement, HCDC President Rev. Msgr. Julius Rodulfa scored the union president for having publicized the ongoing mediation.
“By coming out in public regarding the details of the ongoing conciliation and mediation proceedings before the NCMB, the HCDC-FU has engaged in Unfair Labor Practice for not having bargained collectively in good faith,” he said.
Labor Code’s Article 250 (d) states that “(D)uring the conciliation proceedings in the Board, the parties are prohibited from doing any act which may disrupt or impede the early settlement of the disputes.”
FU’s Socrates Ruel Luayon defended his earlier interview with a local daily paper saying that “(W)e need to popularize this issue and to let the other stakeholders know and understand it. We are not hiding anything in the negotiations, why keep it in secret? The students and the parents are part of it, they must understand it,” he said.
He said they have not abandoned negotiations with the management. “We did not give-up. We know the wisdom behind the negotiations,” said Luayon, a Religious Studies instructor for 26 years.
The management and the HCDC-FU have deadlocked in their CBA negotiations since May 23 when the school refused to grant the union’s demand of claiming 26 percent allocation from the 80 percent in tuition fee increases for their wages and benefits.
Rodulfa said that “while it is true that there was a previous agreement in the CBA that 26 percent of the 80 percent of the total incremental proceeds from tuition fee increase would go to the basic salaries of the HCDC-FU, the same agreement was superseded and abandoned by the parties when they renegotiated the economic provisions of the CBA which became effective on June 1, 2010 until May 31, 2012.”
Rodulfa said that old CBA was “superseded” by the “new CBA approving the Job Evaluation and Salary Structure (JESS)” and that “the absolute amounts that the HCDC-FU has been getting by way of salary increase upon the implementation of JESS are more than the previous HCDC-FU’s share in the incremental proceeds.”
The HCDC-FU held a strike vote last Monday which yielded 122 yes votes, 16 no votes, two abstentions and 1 spoiled ballot. A total of 141 casted their votes from the more than 200 workers comprised of faculty members from kinder to graduate school.
NCMB Regional Director Paciano Murro told davaotoday.com that a “marathon conference” is being held to resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, Mendoza said that they have to see “a light at the end of the tunnel,” as he hoped that as a religious institution headed by priests and sisters, “a true settlement would be achieved.”
For Luayon, he sees the situation as a “clash of principles” and “not a good picture” for a Catholic institution. “When we talk of service, it promotes the welfare of all. I just hope the data they presented to us are genuine,” he said. (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)