Cebu News

USC-TC workers protest dismissal

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo With Jojo Ugdol of Banat News/ATO - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - At least 16 terminated employees of the University of San Carlos-Talamban Campus yesterday held a rally to protest the decision of the school management to close their office.

Over 150 workers of the General Services Office of USC-TC have been terminated effective May 15 reportedly as part of the long-range cost-cutting measure that the school is implementing, said USC legal counsel Fr. Ernesto Lagura.

Lagura said the move is in line with the expected drop in the number of enrollees in 2016 and 2017 stemmed from the implementation of the K to 12 System.

 â€œInig 2016, wala nama’y first year college unya inig 2017, wala’y second year. So, dako kaayo og decrease sa enrollment ug dako na pod og increase sa income,” he said.

But ALU-TUCP representative Joverito Contratista, who initiated the protest, said the termination is not justifiable since some employees even serve the school for 25 years already.

GSO president Arnold Arcipe said he had rendered 22 years of service and that the termination would greatly affect their families.

“Lisod gyod kaayo kay wala na dayon mi trabaho ani, upat pa kabook anak nako. Mohangyo nalang unta mi nga madunggog ang among tingog,” he told The FREEMAN.

However, Lagura said that the closure of the office is supported by the law and that the school would resort to outsourcing.

“Unya pag-cut namo sa among expenses, among gi-tan-aw unsa tong mga very extensive nga section. And that section, wala maghimo sa principal nga trabaho sa school or the core process of the industry,” he said.

Lagura said the employees were properly compensated and that the school offered more than the law requires.

He said that the GSO personnel were informed about their termination one month ahead.

 â€œDespite this decision, we have granted all affected GSO personnel a reasonable offer that is much more than what is required by our labor laws. In fact, 61 of the 77 personnel have accepted the separation benefits. Only 15 union members and another one remain to have refused our offer,” said a press statement released by the USC administration.

The administration also expressed sadness that the protest was supported by ‘misinformation and intrigues.’

 â€œUSC is not an enterprise as the union tries to paint. Its mission is to educate with Christian values. It is not easy to increase tuition fees, If allowed, the bulk of any increase is mandated for the salaries and benefits of employees, both teaching and non-teaching, and to upgrade our educational facilities,” the statement said.

Lagura, however, assured that USC would not increase its tuition fee.

He said the institution respects the union members to protest because they have the right to do so.

But he said the school has not yet formulated talks with the protesting employees.

“Wala’y bag-ong kasabotan sugod nga nag-strike sila this morning wala pa gyod nag-istorya ang management ug labor. Pag-abot nako diri, naa na’y notice ang NCMB (National Conciliation and Mediation Board) nga ugma, duna mi conference with the labor and administrators,” he said.

He, however, said that the terminated employees have the discretion to reapply in the institution through an agency.

“The basic reason is to save and cut our basic expenses,” Laguro said, pointing out that the protest caused the suspension of classes in the morning.

“Maka-affect kay they are not supposed to block the entrance. People were not able to get in. It is the headache of the administrators,” he said.

The protest drew mixed reactions from the students.

Bryan, a third year college student, said he supports the protest because he pities the terminated employees.

Other students complained that the rally delayed their enrollment since the operation of the school was suspended in the morning. — (FREEMAN)











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