SECRETARY Patricia Sto. Tomas of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has ordered a P6,000 salary increase in the next three years for non-academic personnel of the University.

The May 31 order is contained in the much-awaited ruling on the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) dispute between the UST management and the Samahang Manggagawa ng UST (SM-UST). The labor chief had earlier taken over the dispute when it ended in a deadlock over the crucial issue of salary increase.

The UST administration immediately sent word it would abide by the ruling, but SM-UST filed a motion for reconsideration, saying it had been shortchanged by the decision.

The union had asked for a hefty P13,500 increase over three years — P5,500 on the first year, P4,000 on the second year, and P4,000 on the third year.

The UST management panel countered with an offer of only a P4,700 increase — P1,000 on the first year, P1,700 on the second year, and P2,000 on the third year.

Sto. Tomas’ formula appears to agree with the UST administration’s position that the Union’s demand is just too much. She ordered a monthly increase of P1,000, P2,000, and P3,000 for the first, second, and third years of the CBA.

Sto. Tomas also ordered a signing bonus of P10,000, the amount proposed by the UST management. The Union had asked for P35,000.

Sto. Tomas also added two sacks of rice to the existing six sacks that Union members receive from the administration every year. The addition will take effect on the second year of the CBA. During the negotiations, SM-UST had demanded another six sacks of rice, while the UST management panel said the six sacks of rice provision was enough.

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Furthermore, Sto. Tomas also denied SM-UST’s demand for meal and clothing allowances because the Union failed to justify the need for it.

The labor secretary also saw no reason to increase the hospitalization benefits, mid-year bonus, hazard pay, retirement plan, and educational plan.

The benefits provide members free hospitalization in the UST Hospital (USTH) Pay Division, including medical care of up to 31 days with any 12-period month, provided total cost does not exceed P100,000 per annum. A room rate of P500 per day is also included in the benefit.

In addition, ailing union members will be given medicines, in accordance with the University manual for non-academic personnel, and a refund for purchase outside the USTH not exceeding P1,000 a month. Also, hospitalization expenses will be refunded if the members get confined in other hospitals.

Meanwhile, Atty. Manuel Beaniza, Jr., director of the Center for Human Resources Development, said the decision was a welcome development. “We are willing to abide by DOLE’s decision,” he said.

But SM-UST said the order was pro-management.

Union members believe they deserve better than what DOLE has granted them.

According to Nilo Tampos, SM-UST executive vice-president, the union members have given their support to the motion for reconsideration because they feel they have been short-changed. John Patrick D. Padilla

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