01 March 2014, 10:35 p.m. – THE UST Faculty Union (USTFU) has filed a notice of strike before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), following a collective bargaining deadlock with the University administration.

The issues that led to filing of the strike notice were the UST administration’s rejection of the union’s final proposal and refusal to provide audited financial statements needed during collective bargaining talks, according to the notice of strike dated Feb. 27 and signed by USTFU President George Lim.

“If there is an initiative [from the University] to discuss the issue for a peaceful settlement of this problem, then we welcome such. But at this point, we have to say categorically, insofar as the union [panel] is concerned, the notice of strike has been filed,” USTFU Internal Vice President Rene Tadle said in an interview.

The first hearing at the NCMB was held Thursday. Meanwhile, around 100 faculty members prayed at the Rosarium on the same day while holding tarpaulins stating “our faculty members deserve better,” and demanding “accountability, transparency, and fairness.”

In a letter to faculty members dated Feb. 22, Lim said UST had failed to provide the union copies of the University’s audited financial statements for academic years 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013, despite recurring requests since last year.

Lim’s letter also bared that management had proposed to include a “no strike-no lockout” provision, which the union panel found “unacceptable.”

“The right to strike is enshrined in the Constitution and the social teachings of the Church. Your Union would never give this up,” he said.

Faculty union gets new collective bargaining deal with UST admin

Under the Labor Code, an employer must provide the labor union with audited annual financial statements upon written request, within 30 days upon receipt of the request, 60 days before the expiration of an existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA), or during negotiations for a new CBA.

CBA negotiations between the University and USTFU ended in a deadlock on Valentine’s Day.

The CBA is a contract providing for work hours, wages, and other terms and conditions of employment. The last CBA expired in 2011.

The Labor Code states that a collective bargaining deadlock is a ground for a union to file a notice of strike, and management to file a notice of lockout before the NCMB, an agency under of the Department of Labor and Employment handling the arbitration of labor disputes.

After the filing of the notice of strike, a 30-day cooling-off period takes effect so the NCMB could step in and end the impasse. Should the dispute remain unresolved, the union may proceed with the strike, provided that majority of union members approve through a secret ballot.

The result of the voting is then submitted to the NCMB and a seven-day strike ban is observed to allow a last-ditch attempt to resolve the dispute.

The last time USTFU held a strike was in 1989. Gena Myrtle P. Terre


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