Having already rendered 50 days out of the 77 days of overtime work for the current school year, public school teachers are asking the government to compensate them – especially with only a month left before School Year (SY) formally closes.
Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Friday, June 11, held a “lunchtime protest” at the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to press the agency for a dialogue and response to teachers’ demand for overtime compensation.
“We, teachers, are not machines!” ACT National Capital Region (NCR) Union President Vladimer Quetua said. “We have long endured the government’s neglect to our welfare and that of the whole education sector – fighting for our labor rights in these dire times is a matter of survival,” he added.
Holding various types of clocks and calendars as placards bearing their demands, protesting teachers urged CSC officials to face them in a dialogue.
ACT alleged that CSC has failed to respond to their communication for two months already. “The CSC is violating its own rules of taking action on any request in a period of two weeks,” Quetua said.
Quetua claimed that in the past two months, ACT has not received any reply to its letter sent last April 12. The said letter was regarding the group’s demand for teachers’ overtime pay.
“The CSC should urgently address the plight of our public school teachers who are being forced to work non-stop for 13 months with rigorous workload sans ample government support under the extended school year,” Quetua said.
In the said letter to CSC, ACT appealed for the grant of service credit and 25 percent overtime pay for the 77 days of overtime work public school teachers are required to render under the current school year.
Another letter dated June 9, 2021 was also sent by ACT to CSC seeking for an update on the request. However, the group said the agency has been silent up to now.
“The CSC is responsible for policy-making on matters of government sector workers as it is its duty to uphold morale and efficiency in civil service, but its inaction towards our just demands erodes the morale of our teachers,” Quetua said.
ACT maintained that the CSC should “remedy the plight of teachers who have been deprived of their proportional vacation pay” – as provided by section 6 of CSC memorandum circular No. 41, s. 1998.
CSC was also urged to give teachers service credits be given as Section 9 of the same issuance provides for the grant of service credit privileges to teachers for days they are required to work outside their regular working days which can be used to offset their absences.
Quetua further noted that the Labor Code of the Philippines provides for the payment 25 percent premium on the salaries of workers who were required to render overtime work.
“Our teachers are not asking for too much,” Quetua said. “Despite the burdens that we had to endure since the opening of classes and the implementation of the government’s failed distance learning last year, we continued to heed the call of service and fulfill our oath as educators,” he added.
While teachers continue to fulfill their duties, Quetua pointed out that many of them are suffering from burnout – apart from being underpaid. “It is high time the government takes responsibility and properly compensates us for our services,” he added.