General Services Employees Union Stages Strike
Protesting the administration’s layoff of GSO workers, General Services Employees Union (GSEU) of the University of San Carlos staged a strike outside Talamban Campus today.
GSEU President Jovirito Contratista said that the administration’s “illegal and unreasonable removal” of general services employees prompted the union to launch the picket. He said that removal of employees as the administration’s response to the K+12 is questionable as the program will only take effect in 2016.
Laid off employees have worked for 15-22 years in building maintenance of campuses. Instead of regularization, Contratista said that the USC administration will shift to agency-based services in order to cut costs and save 15 million pesos per year.
Of the 78 laid off employees, 57 have accepted the compensation. Compensation will depend on their length of tenure plus ten years worth of salary to be installed a year worth per month. Contratista, however, said that the compensation is not enough.
Picketing employees barricaded the entrances of Talamban Campus this morning forcing students, employees, and vehicles from entering the campus. This also caused heavy traffic along the street. The disruption caused the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs to issue an announcement of the cancellation of the morning classes.
When asked what they can say about the students and employees who were stranded outside the campus Renato Cabo, one of the picketing workers who has worked as a painter in USC for 19 years, said that they are only asking for a full support from the students and people in their cause.
Students and employees only started entering the campus at 7:30 a.m., four hours after the start of the protest. Many, however, were still prevented from entering. People who forced their way in caused a tension with the protesters.
The protesting employees were supported by the Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).
Before the strike, flyers were distributed by GSEU last May 16 at the TC Portal stating the union’s cause for the strike and requesting support from the students.
USC administration is yet to disclose their side on the issue.
Photo by Andrew Esposa