Dole assumes control over university’s labor dispute

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Sunday, October 6, 2013


ANGELES CITY -- The national office of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) assumed jurisdiction over the ongoing labor dispute between members of the Holy Angel University Teachers and Employees Union (Hauteu) and the Holy Angel University (HAU).

In a five-page order signed by Undersecretary Danilo Cruz last October 4, the Dole said the order is pursuant to Article 236 of the Labor Code of the Philippines.

"Accordingly, any intended strike or lockout or any concerted action is automatically enjoined. If one has already taken place, all striking and locked out employees shall within twenty four hours, from receipt of this order, immediately return to work…," the Dole order said.

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HAU was also ordered to readmit workers under the same terms and conditions prevailing before the strike. The parties were likewise asked to refrain from committing any act "that may exacerbate the situation."

The Dole said that there is no doubt that ongoing labor dispute has already affected not only the students but the also the parents.

"A labor dispute like this one would have irreversible effects on the students as it would unduly interrupt their schooling and thus, delay the completion of their academic requirements. This is not to mention the prejudice it would cause likewise to the investments in terms of effort, time and money of the parents of the students to afford their children quality education," the Dole order added.

The Dole said that the rights of the students to receive quality education and ease burden on the parents and the community affected by the labor dispute must be upheld.

Last October 2, concerned parents and students appeared before the Office of the Secretary through the Conciliation and Mediation Office (OSEC-CMO) to air their concerns over the labor dispute between the university and the union members.

The parents said the students do not receive quality education they rightfully deserve due to the stand-off and asked for its immediate resolution, invoking the power of Secretary of Labor and Employment to assume jurisdiction over the dispute.

On September 26, 2012, the Hauteu filed a Preventive Mediation case for bargaining deadlock before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board Region 3. The issue started last year when Hauteu members asked HAU for a re-computation of the incremental proceeds of 70 percent of the tuition increase HAU has collected.

The negotiations have reached a deadlock after HAU management refused to account for and disclose the amount of money it has collected from tuition increases, a large chunk of which is due to workers, according to Hauteu president Edmond Maniago in his previous interviews.

HAU raised tuition for school years 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, Ched documents showed. It also filed certificates complying with the 70-20-10 percent proceeds, according to reports.

The October 4 order also directed Hauteu and HAU to appear at the initial hearing of the case before the Office of the Secretary of the Conciliation and Mediation Office on October 9 to possibly expedite the resolution of the case.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 07, 2013.

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