REHABILITATING the UST Hospital does not only mean reviving its financial health and public image. It also means fostering industrial peace to ensure smooth operations and delivery of services.

Summit Ventures Management and Marketing Group, Inc., which took over the hospital’s management in September 2000, is seeking to arrest the financial erosion of the hospital. Pilar Almira, chief operating officer and USTH Board of Directors chair, said that USTH is performing positively for this fiscal year.

The new management is also trying to foster more harmonious working relationship with its staff, trainees, and employees.

It has, in fact, accepted the labor department’s decision to grant the Samahang Manggagawa ng UST Hospital (SM-USTH) a P3, 300 wage increase, the demand that deadlocked the 1999 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiation.

The management has also provided a newly-furnished and air-conditioned office for the union.

Last September 24, the union met with the hospital’s management to renew the CBA. The union asked for a P3,500 wage increase per month starting October 1, 2001 and P2,500 starting October 1 next year.

The management has yet to make a counter-offer.

But the new management has offered an Early Retirement Program (ERP) to hospital employees. Atty. Carlito Villanueva, Human Resource and Administration Department (HRD) head, said USTH’s ERP is better than ordinary retirement plans.

“It’s a win-win situation. The hospital will be able to put in the right number the manpower it needs. For the employees, it is voluntary. They (employees) are not asked to leave,” Villanueva explained.

“We do not force anyone to leave, (and) if they have plans, they (will) get reasonable and fair package from the hospital,” Almira said.

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Joseph Dave de Leon, president of the union, however, could not really say if ERP would be beneficial to the workers.

“Sa akin, hindi pa puwedeng sabihin na direct advantage kasi ‘pag nababawasan ako ng miyembro, nalulungkot ako. Pero masaya na rin ako ‘pag nagagamit nila (employees) ang pera (nila) sa pagre-retire,” de Leon said.

Almira said they also came up with a monthly binder of employees’ performance in every hospital unit. Through this, the management will know if the programs they have set and planned are being implemented.

In addition, administration heads now conduct the State of Hospital Affairs (SOHA) every six months. SOHA presents the hospital’s achievements, improvements, and programs to be implemented in the next half of the year to the USTH community.

“Everybody gets to know the program. I think it helps in making the relationship smooth and harmonious,” Almira said.

Asked to assess the neophyte management’s approach and treatment of hospital employees, De Leon said it was fair.

“Kung titingnan ko sila, mas mainam kasi may pag-usad, ” de Leon said. He added that the values-integration seminars and workshops given to employees proved useful and beneficial.

USTH marketing director Arnold Guyjoco said he is impressed with the hospital union. He also said the administration has developed a streamlined communication with the union. Bernardette S. Sto. Domingo, with reports from Frances Margaret H. Arreza

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