Labor arbiter hailed for ruling vs retrenchment of teachers
This refers to the news articles titled “2 profs win case vs Miriam College” (News, 11/16/16) and “Miriam College to appeal NLRC ruling” (Inquirer.net, 11/18/16).
The Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines lauds the decision of labor arbiter Julio R. Gayaman on the labor cases for unjust retrenchment due to K-to-12, which were filed against Miriam College by our secretary general, Dr. Rebecca T. Añonuevo, and Prof. Debbie Tan. We commend the arbiter for his swift and prudent decision, which gives hope to many displaced faculty and staff of higher educational institutions (HEIs).
Gayaman’s favorable decision supports our contention that K-to-12 is being used by many schools to justify retrenchment, resulting in tenured teaching personnel’s loss of security of tenure and other benefits. The case of Miriam College, where retrenchment was executed even without sufficient proof of substantial losses, is not unique. Many schools have retrenched faculty and staff arbitrarily without even exploring possible options to retain them.
Schools do not necessarily resort to retrenchment; some schools have found it easier to pressure their teachers to retire early in the guise of “voluntary retirement.”
Moreover, since three years ago, many HEIs have also resorted to fixed-term contract arrangements with teachers in anticipation of K-to-12, instead of placing them in tenure-track/probationary positions. These academic personnel eventually failed to have their fixed terms renewed with the onset of K-to-12. Faculty members who work part-time in several educational institutions have also been displaced due to lack of teaching load.
Thus, while the arbiter’s favorable decision on the cases filed by Añonuevo and Tan is truly laudable, we persist in our call to the Department of Labor and Employment to address the ongoing practice of labor contractualization in HEIs. Finally, we appeal to the Supreme Court to act now on the seven petitions that questioned the constitutionality of K-to-12. We pray that the honorable justices give their decision in due time, as justice delayed is justice denied.
The decision to be fair cannot be moot and academic. The education sector, the parents and their children continue to wait for a clear, forthright, and well-grounded resolution to the petitions that have been languishing in the chambers since early 2015.
RENE LUIS TADLE, MA, lead convener, Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines
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