COLLECTIVE bargaining negotiators on Thursday appealed for the release of the faculty’s 70 percent share of tuition increases for the past three academic years.

In the letter addressed to Vice Rector for Finance Fr. Rolando Castro, O.P. and Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Cheryl Peralta, members of the negotiating panel of the UST Faculty Union (USTFU) said faculty members were struggling amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“The plea for the release is not only premised on moral and legal grounds but is also consistent with the university’s value for compassion and its institutional social responsibility,” they wrote in the June 4 letter, published on USTFU’s CBA (collective bargaining agreement) Updates.

Releasing the faculty share would also be “in consonance with the principles of justice, fair play, truth and the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas,” they said.

The letter was signed by the panel chairman, lawyer Jose Ngo, vice chairman Dr. Edilberto Gonzaga, Asst. Prof. Emerito Gonzales, Asst. Prof. Rebecca Adri and Ms. Michelle Desierto. 

Asst. Prof. Christine Bermudez wrote “I dissent” while another member, Asst. Prof. Reverendo Vargas, did not sign.

The panel members said the request was in accordance with Republic Act 6728, or the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act.

Under the law, 70 percent of incremental tuition increases must be alloted to the salaries, wages, allowances, and other benefits of both teaching and non-teaching personnel.

The panel noted that non-teaching personnel had received their share of tuition increases.

Lawyer Danielito Jimenez of the Faculty of Arts and Letters said the union should have insisted on the timely release of the share of the faculty members even if negotiations for a new CBA were delayed.

The last faculty CBA expired in 2016.

“USTFU should have pushed for this a long time ago as they became due even without a CBA or without awaiting for the belated election of a negotiating panel, whose members ended up to be the ones who had to push for this,” Jimenez told the Varsitarian. 

Jimenez said he was hoping the next batch of union leaders would do better and uphold both the political and economic rights of faculty members.


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