LONG-DELAYED negotiations to increase salaries and other benefits of faculty members under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the University administration will soon begin, the faculty union president bared.

Dr. George Lim, UST Faculty Union (USTFU) president, said he was awaiting UST’s financial statements from the Office of the Vice Rector for Finance which will be used as basis by the USTFU negotiating panel in proposing “economic benefits.”

Economic provisions fall under Article 15 of the existing CBA, which covers the years 2011 to 2016. Article 14 or the “Accounting Transparency” section requires the University to hand over “transparent accounting documents to USTFU or its authorized representative,” including financial statements and the breakdown of tuition collections and expenses. UST must also provide the number of students per year level and a summary of teaching loads.

Lim said the financial statement for Academic Year (A.Y.) 2014-2015 had been submitted by the administration. Only estimates for A.Y. 2015-2016 will be used to avoid delays in the bargaining process, he said.

According to publicly available documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission, UST collected P2.878 billion in tuition revenues in A.Y. 2013-2014, up by just 0.55 percent from P2.862 billion in A.Y. 2012-2013. Including hospital operations, collections exceeded expenses by P1.593 billion, a 53 percent jump from P1.039 billion the previous year.

Delayed talks

Lim admitted that the negotiations had been delayed. According to Article 30 of the CBA, “economic provisions and provisions with economic implications of this CBA shall be negotiable not later than three years after its execution from June 1, 2011.”

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“In a way late [‘yung negotiation]. Kasi kapag too early naman wala pa ‘yung financial statements. We waited for the financial statements para ‘yung figures actual,” Lim said in an interview.

“The rest of the CBA is good until 2016 or later until a new CBA is agreed upon. Walang revision. It will be a negotiation for the economic benefits of the last two years of the CBA,” Lim said. “It will be just how the tuition increase portion of the faculty members will be distributed and nothing else,” he added.

By law, 70 percent of tuition increases must go to salaries, wages, allowances and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel; and 20 percent to the improvement or modernization of buildings, equipment, libraries, laboratories, and similar facilities, and payment for other operational costs. The remaining 10 percent represents return on investments for higher education institutions if they are stock corporations. Otherwise, it must be used for operations.

Lawyer and Faculty of Arts and Letters professor Danielito Jimenez said the negotiations would be “very significant” on the part of the faculty. “This is a legal mechanism that both our Constitution and our labor laws provide in favor of the workers, consistent with the full protection afforded to labor,” Jimenez said.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Clarita Carillo will head the UST negotiating panel. The USTFU panel will include Lim, External Vice President Patrick Go and former USTFU external vice president Rene Tadle.

Lim won over Tadle in the heated race for USTFU president last year, largely with the backing of professors from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

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