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SUFA goes on strike

Sommer J. Buyante | News Editor & Ray Chen S. Bahinting | Editor-in-Chief

Silliman University Faculty Association (SUFA) went on a labor strike against Silliman University (SU) Administration last July 19 after the deadlock on the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.

SUFA president Jan Antoni Credo said the labor strike was decided by the SUFA members of the union last June 2017 after the group and the administration failed to reach an agreement on seven issues.

The faculty union is demanding a one-time bonus of P38, 000, a P1, 500 across-the-board salary increase in 2017, and another P2,300 increase in 2018, a productivity enhancement incentive (14th month pay), improvement in retirement pay, Christmas and Founders Day Bonus, and K-12 transition scholar’s subsidy.

Despite the incessant downpour of rain since they launched their strike at 5 a.m., about 280 SUFA members did not attend their classes as an act of protest. They carry placardsalong all the major entry and exit points of the university.

According to Credo the strike will paralyze the university operations in order to make the administration realize the value of the teachers.

The union exhausted all its efforts to prevent the strike, but the administration leave them with no other choice, Credo said.

On a press conference called by the SU administration last Wednesday, the demand of SUFA amounts to approximately P110 million and the university can only give P63 million.

Administration panel chief negotiator Atty. Sheila Lynn Besariosaid that at this point in time they cannot afford to give more than what they offer without compromising the university.

They said the university is generating P480 million from tuition fees; P207 million goes to faculty salaries, P113 million goes to services. The deficit is patched from the university’s auxiliary revenues. They said that the university earns P317 million from these auxiliary revenues.

However, according to Atty. Besario,they could not depend from auxiliary revenue to meet the demands of SUFA because it is not sustainable.

She said auxiliary revenues are unpredictable since they increase and decrease.

On the other hand, Cedo said that the P63 million offer of the university is based on the administration’s assimilated zero enrollees for first and second year college this school year.

As of July 5,2017, the university has 531 first year and 1106 enrollees for second year. However, tuition revenue still decreased due to the decline in enrollment.

During an interview with the Weekly Sillmainian last July 14, Silliman University vice-president for finance Atty. Marie Fe D. Tagle said the P246 million from the surplus is saved by the university since 2012 for disaster preparedness and risk reduction purposes.

Tagle said the university is targeting an amount of P3.65 billion savings which is the total replacement cost of buildings, laboratories, and learning resources of Silliman.

She said if the university gives in to the demand of the SUFA using the surplus, it may not be able to sustain in the coming years.

However, Mileton Gabas, a board member of SUFA, said that the university has over P330 million peso surpluses. Their computation is based on the financial audited statement of the administration.

“We just want a share of those surpluses because we are part of the university operations,” Gabas said.

Adaptive measures
As part of the adaptive measures, Atty. Myles Bejar said student teachers at Silliman University will be used as coordinators or facilitators to elementary and secondary level while being guided by mentors.

They will not act as substitute of teachers and will not be paid.

As for the tertiary level, teachers who do not join the strike will take over the classes of the teachers who are out. A reflective evaluative measure will be conducted to determine if remaining teachers who do not go on strike are enough cater all the classes of the teachers on strike.

The strike will continue until the two panels come into an agreement, or a jurisdiction will be given by the labor secretary.

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