THE UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas Faculty Union (USTFU) has proposed a 30-percent across-the-board salary increase for all teachers for the first year of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). This would mean an increase of P5, 100 to P10, 800, depending on the rank of the faculty member.

In the proposal, the lowest rank, Instructor 1, who receives at least P17, 000 a month, will receive P22,100, while the highest ranking professor, Professor 3, now receiving a salary of P36, 000, will receive P46, 800.

According to USTFU Spokesperson Prof. Rene Luis Tadle, the increase is still low since full professors in the top universities in the country receive around P75, 000.

For the second year, the union proposes a reclassification and a salary restructuring.

Tadle said a reclassification and a wage restructuring could motivate faculty members to improve their competence and academic qualifications and provide them research opportunities.

Meanwhile, the union proposes to exempt faculty members from tax since a bigger tax bracket diminishes the positive effect of the tuition increase.

Tadle clarified that avoiding tax is different from evading tax since the union only plans to consider certain benefits as “de-minimis” or non-taxable benefits. He explained the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has a list of tax-exempt items.

Among the tax-exempt items identified by USTFU are vacation fees, which can be monetized up to 10 days without being taxed, medical allowance, rice subsidy of P1, 000 a month, and uniform and clothing allowance not exceeding P300 per year.

In addition, the Union proposes clothing and laundry allowances, an increase in the retirement fee and incentive pay of retirees, a bereavement pay of P35, 000 to P80, 000, a Christmas bonus, and an assigned bonus of P40, 000.

Tadle said that tenured faculty members must be given a P2, 500 incentive bonus every Aug. 28, St. Thomas Aquinas Day, and Oct. 4, Union Day, for their long service to the University. An accident group insurance is also included in the new CBA.

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IT has also been proposed that faculty members be given basic pay even their loads have been diminished.

The Union has also proposed that research units be considered equivalent to lecture units. A professor with doctorate degree can be de-loaded and still be paid in full so he can go into research, the union said.

By the second year of the proposed CBA, USTFU suggested that faculty members be given the option to spend the remaining units for research and community service while being paid in full.

The union has asked that professors be given a maximum load of 12 units a day, from the original 24. This will allow a minimum of five hours a day to student consultation, research, and community service.

“Ang problema if you give a faculty member a 24-unit load, how can he do research? Kaya tuloy sa Asiaweek survey, palagi tayong mababa sa research,” Tadle said.

Other benefits include tuition discounts for faculty members’ children studying at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Civil Law, and the UST Graduate School.

Meanwhile, USTFU proposed that the presidents of faculty club associations sit in the Dean’s Council to check politics in the promotion and reclassification of faculty members.

On the other hand, Tadle said the union seeks to clarify the rules on the preparation of a fourth subject and the grounds for faculty termination or renewal since these issues usually cause conflict between the administration and the union.

Furthermore, plans to change the performance evaluation system of the faculty are underway. According to Tadle, loopholes will be diminished if questions not applicable to all faculty members will be deleted.

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“There are questions that are not applicable to Fine Arts teachers. (Also) the remarks (at the end of the evaluation sheet) should not be used as a basis for termination,” Tadle said.

The USTFU panel is headed by USTFU president Dr. Gil Gamilla as chair. Members are union spokesperson Rene Luis Tadle, union secretary general Ma. Lourdes Medina, with Ernestus Padilla, Gil Garcia, and Samantha Lei Bernal.

The administration panel is composed of the members of the Economic Council.

Meanwhile, the proposed CBA of the Samahang Mangagawa (SM-UST) for school years 2001-2006 will focus on economic provisions rather than employee’s wages.

In a letter to Rector Fr. Tamerlane Lana O.P., SM-UST President Arturo Sangalang expressed his concern over the employee’s lack of benefits.

According to Sangalang, increased medical allowances, safety gadgets, and study leaves will be included in the proposed CBA.

“Although, talagang main concern ang wages, gusto din naming bigyang pansin `yung iba pang benefits na pwede pang makuha, kasi makakatulong talaga ito sa employees,” he said.

In the proposed CBA, the medical allowance for each employee is increased to P30,000 per year. The unused fund is carried over to the succeeding years, which will benefit new employees since the entire amount is not always consumed.

Previously, the medical allowance allotted for each employee is only P25,000 a year. At the end of each school year, the remaining fund is forfeited.

Moreover, the CBA proposes that unused sick leaves be converted to cash upon retirement. The computation for the sick leave shall be by working days and not by calendar days.

Previously, the cash allotted for the employee’s sick leave is also forfeited if it is not availed.

Meanwhile, employees who want to study abroad will be given educational privileges for a maximum of one year from the original five months. The monthly allowance is also increased from P3,000 to P5,000.

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“Alanganin kasi kung five months lang. At least, kung one year, mas extensive `yung pag-aaral nila. Some employees are taking up their M.A’s, advantage naman kung may degree, so we encourage them,” said Sangalang.

On the other hand, the new CBA proposal aims to grant employees a salary increase of P8,000 a month for the first year, P6,000 a month for the second year, and P4,000 a month for the third year.

Moreover, safety gadgets will now be provided to employees whose work assignments are hazardous and dangerous to health.

“Halimbawa, `yung mga employees sa morgue, `yung mga chemicals na katulad ng formalin ay delikado na, tapos wala man lang silang protection. Walang sariling gloves man lang o lab gown,” said Sangalang.

Other proposals include making Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Holy Wednesday as non-working holidays with pay. Sangalang added that employees will be given a leave of 15 working days with pay, in case of death or serious illness of an immediate family member.

Furthermore, the provision seeks an automatic suspension of work when classes are already suspended. Although, the said provision was already included in the previous CBA, it was not clearly implemented.

“Mahirap kasi, dahil kung minsan suspended na `yung classes, hindi pa rin suspended ang work ng mga employees. `Yung iba (na employees) na wala namang gagawin, dapat automatic suspended na rin ang work,” said Sangalang.

Although the CBA agreement expires every five years, its political provisions will expire on September 30. The economic provisions expired at the beginning of the school year last May 31.

However, the proposed CBA is yet to be approved by the Rector. Maria Pacita C. Joson and Karen M. Peña

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