Acad Union continues to demand for privileges, incentives
◢ Jose Martin V. Singh
After concluding the Academic Union Month, members of the All-UP Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU) continue to demand for certain rights, privileges, and incentives, which are included in a previous negotiation agreement between the union and the UP administration.
The document supporting such is known as the Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA), which provides for the concerns of the academic staff in the entire UP system, based on law and past agreements, according to the current CNA effective until July 5, 2020.
All CNAs expire after five years. The last agreement was signed on July 6, 2015 under the administration of then UP President Alfredo Pascual. Its legal effectivity takes place when registered under the Civil Service Commission.
Although implemented already, some provisions, especially the recent additions and amendments, have not yet materialized, said President of AUPAEU Diliman chapter Perlita Raña.
Grievance Machinery and Side Agreements
Under the law, the CNA benefits both workers and academic staff, who are under the Research, Extension and Professional Staff (REPS), said Raña.
“Number one talaga ‘yan [CNA]…Batayan ‘yan ng karapatan namin,” she said. “Kapag nagpanawagan kami na ipasa ‘yung CNA, [ang] apektado talaga sa side namin ay yung REPS at ‘yung faculty,” she added.
The celebration of the Academic Union Month in October highlighted the calls of the academic employees, especially those concerning the CNA, wage rights, promotion, and regularization, said Raña. The university-wide campaign to fully implement the CNA is in line with the five proposed side agreements and the new provisions on the Grievance Procedure. The side agreements are pending discussion points that were not included in the previously signed CNA.
“[The side agreements] include current REPS’ concerns, study privilege for relatives of single and married UP employees without children up to the third degree of consanguinity, expansion of health and wellness benefits for UP employees, housing for retiring and retired employees, and regularization of contractual employees,” said National President of AUPAEU Carl Ramota.
A paid leave and an expanded, system-wide REPS development fund are also included in the side agreement.
Technical working groups comprised of union and admin representatives will also be formed and are expected to submit a preliminary report on December and a final recommendation on March 2018, said Ramota.
“Importante diyan [sa CNA] ‘yung grievance machinery. Sa mga susunod na buwan talagang ‘yan ang aming tututukan,” said Raña. “Kasi for a long time walang grievance machinery na malinaw dito sa UP at marami talaga tayong mga kasamahan na nagkakaroon ng mga problema sa mga usapin sa gawain at sa karapatan,” she added.
Revisions on REPS Manual
Along with the continued calls to fully implement the CNA, the union also campaigns for the approval of the revised REPS Manual, submitted on November 3, 2017 to the Vice President for Academic Affairs Maria Cynthia Bautista.
Another urgent call for implementation, the revised manual is bolstered by a signature campaign calling for the UP administration, the Board of Regents (BOR), and the UP community to support the speedy process.
“This year, under a new AUPAEU leadership and UP administration, we’re reviving this initiative and spearheading a system-wide campaign, together with other REPS groups and sectors, to ensure the immediate approval of the REPS Manual,” said Ramota.
A Manifesto of Unity (MOU) regarding the REPS Manual is currently being circulated in the UP System for signatures.
The manual can be consulted once issues arise in the workplace. It will guide the REPS and Human Resources offices on their work and employment. It will also define who the REPS are and what their responsibilities are to avoid confusion and irregular practices like doing what is beyond their supposed duties, according to the MOU.
The manual is intended to organize existing policies and practices governing the REPS, said Ramota.
However, the proposed REPS Manual is nothing recent to the AUPAEU. It was first brought to discussion in 2003. The AUPAEU and the UP administration have held several workshops and conferences since. The proposed manual’s draft was first finalized in 2015.
“Unfortunately, as in previous attempts, [the manual] was shelved under the previous administration,” said Ramota.
The revised manual will still undergo the scrutiny of offices under the UP administration, said Ramota. “But we’re hopeful that with a strong system-wide grassroots campaign, we can persuade the [Danilo] Concepcion administration and the BOR to prioritize it,” he said. “We’re pushing for its inclusion in the agenda of and its immediate approval in the next regular BOR meeting,” he added.
The current progress of the CNA and REPS Manual has not yet been confirmed as it will still be referred to the Vice Presidents concerned, said Vice President for Public Affairs Jose Dalisay, Jr. in an e-mail to the Collegian. Such information cannot be expected until the Executive Comission and President’s Advisory Council meet toward the end of the month, said Dalisay.
“All I’ve determined so far is that the REPS Manual will be reviewed very soon by a committee being organized by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs,” he said. ◢
Short URL: http://www.philippinecollegian.org/?p=12349