Wage hike, regularization soon for non-teaching staff — Rector

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A UST maintenance worker preapres the Open Field for the Baccalaureate Mass last May 24. | Photo by Deejae S. Dumlao/TheVarsitarian

THE NON-TEACHING staff hired by UST on a contractual basis will soon receive a pay hike from the freshmen tuition increase along with their regularization, said UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P.

Dagohoy revealed that UST’s Economic Council, which oversees financial policies of the University, had considered the situation of workers with no benefits and tenureship.

“As a matter of social justice, we have to look into the situations of some of our employees who are non-regular,” Rector told the Varsitarian.

The Economic Council is composed of the Rector, vice rector, vice rector for finance and five members of the Order of Preachers.

Some UST workers interviewed by the Varsitarian aired concerns regarding the status of the regularization plan of the University following the approval of the tuition hike for freshmen last June.

Some workers fear that the pay raise taken from the tuition hike might be used as a “diversion” from the regularization plan.

Dagohoy, however, clarified that the regularization of contractual workers in the University has nothing to do with the tuition hike.

“[Regularization of workers] has nothing to do with tuition increase because whether we would have a tuition increase, the salaries of those who will be regularized will be coming from the operation,” Dagohoy said.

The University allotted 70 percent of the tuition hike to its teaching and non-teaching staff in accordance with Republic Act 6728 or the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teacher in Private Education Act.

The plan to regularize University workers hired contractually was bared by Dagohoy last February.

Workers demand regularization

Various contractual workers raised to the UST administration their concerns on low salary and agency management.

A member of the janitorial staff, who has been working for six years in UST, said they experienced wage cuts from their employment agency for various expenses.

Sa opisina namin, may bayad ‘yong uniporme pero dapat wala naman talaga tapos kina-kaltas `yong sweldo namin sa agency,” said the janitor who asked not to be named.

Lawyer Jose Sonny Matula, head of Federation of Free Workers, said: “As a Catholic institution, UST should offer decent pay to its workers.” Contractual workers would face difficulties financially due to dependency on agencies and lack of employment security, Matula said.

A 34-year-old security guard wants to be regularized after experiencing irregular working hours in UST, specifically during suspensions.

Mga gastos sa araw-araw mahirap, tulad na lang kapag walang pasok, kapag hindi biglaan `yong pag-announce,” he said.

He earns P512 daily but is not paid during holidays.

Despite earnings from consistent overtime work, most workers still prefer regularization to get long-term benefits.

Medyo mahirap kasi minsan ‘di pareho ‘yong oras namin. Minsan walong oras, minsan may overtime kasi ‘pag eight hours, kulang talaga sa isang buong araw kaya kailangan mag-overtime talaga,” the security guard said.

A 43-year-old bus driver, who has been working for four years in UST, said regularization would assure his employment in future endeavors.

UST taps agencies such as SCI Security & Investigation Inc. (SCI) for security services, City Service Corp. for janitorial services and Serman Workforce Service for housekeeping.

On May 1, Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 51 that prohibited illegal contracting and subcontracting of workers. But many labor groups called this “useless” because it was merely a reiteration of the Labor Code provision banning certain forms of contractualization such as the “endo” or end of contract system.

A section on the EO that prohibits all forms of contracting and subcontracting should be added so that direct hiring would be the standard for employment relations, labor groups said.

During his recent State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that his campaign against contractualization was not enough. He urged Congress to speed up the passage of the law banning endo practices days later.

Companies such as NutriAsia, Jollibee and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) have drawn flak for contract hiring practices.

Fr. Emilio Ascaño, director of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School in Paco, Manila, urged Catholic schools to follow the “charitable type” business practice for contractual workers and not the “mall-type” business where workers are replaced after six months.

Ang Caritas (charitable) way is to absorb them. Ang tinitingnan namin ngayon ay `yong loyal na sa amin [then] eventually we absorb them so that they would not become contractual workers,” he said.

“They are contractual but there is no limit, they stayed for us for so many years, they get the same pay, the same benefits and they are happy with us,” he said.

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