ABS-CBN Workers Condemn DOLE, Management for Denying Recognition of Workers’ Union

16 April 2010

The union representing about 1,400 workers under ABS-CBN Internal Job Market (IJM) was denied recognition Wednesday by the DOLE-NCR office, which upheld ABS-CBN management’s claim that the workers are not employees of the TV network.

The ABS-CBN IJM Workers Union was formed by the workers since March 2009. Through lobbying and concerted efforts, the workers were able to let the DOLE recognize their union in July 2009. But when the union filed for a petition for certification election (CE) last November 2009, the next step for union recognition, the management unleashed a dirty tactic to block the CE – it claimed that the workers are not employees of ABS-CBN but of another entity, the ABS-CBN IJM.

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But the workers pay slips, IDs, ITR’s and other proofs of employment are issued and controlled by ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. itself, enough proof that it is the employee of the workers. The union further argued that the ABS-CBN IJM entity does not exist under the Securities and Exchange Commission, only the ABS-CBN company.

Ruled out

The DOLE-NLRC, however, through mediator-arbiter Catherine Parado, ruled in favor of the management’s claim that there is no sufficient employer-employee relationship between ABS-CBN and the workers, and that the latter are only “talents” hired by the network “through the IJM.”

“Clearly, there is connivance between DOLE and ABS-CBN management to obstruct our union from becoming a fully recognized organization and a bargaining unit that can assert our rights as workers. We were disowned as workers of the company in an effort to crush our union,” said Antonio Perez, president of ABS-CBN IJM Workers Union.

“The DOLE-NCR ruling cited arguments raised by our management using precedents decided only by the National Labor Relation’s Commission (NLRC), while it refused to cite our arguments using Supreme Court precedents and decisions which are final and executory. Legally and legitimately, they cannot disprove our being employees of the network, and thus our right to establish a union,” Perez added.

Perez also said that the decision of the DOLE-NLRC was delayed for two months delayed already, and that med-arbiter Parado even made false promises to them that she will decide “in favor of the union.”

Kapamilya fight

The union is set to file an appeal against the DOLE-NLRC decision. “But we are gearing up for more display of collective action to pressure DOLE and management to recognize us as their workers, with the basic right to form a union,” Perez said.

“Pinagmamamayabang nila na kapamilya nila ang bawat Pilipino, pero itinatakwil naman nila ang mga manggagawa sa sarili nilang bakuran,” Perez said.

The ABS-CB IJM workers union pushes for the provision of 13th month pay, overtime and holiday pay, and regularization of IJM workers, among others.

“Through our union, we have already succeeded in asserting for rightful pays to Christmas bonuses. ABS-CBN management wants to crush our union to prevent us from asserting more rights that could mean a very little slash from their gigantic profits,” Perez said.

Reference: Antonio Perez, ABS-CBN IJM Workers’ Union president

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