“We stand firm that we are regular employees, and employees don’t issue acknowledgement receipts to get their salaries.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Talents of one of the biggest television network did not receive their salaries for the month due to a new policy.
According to Talents Association of GMA (TAG), talents have been verbally informed by Assistant Vice-President (AVP) for Public Affairs Leogarda Sanchez-Matias that their salaries would be reverted to checks, and which will be released upon issuance of acknowledgment receipt. Talents, or those not considered “regular” employees of the network despite years of service, used to get their salaries through company-issued savings accounts. Matias also provided the talents a network-approved format for the acknowledgment receipt.
Members of TAG who filed a regularization case with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), feared that issuing such receipts would be detrimental to their case.
In a statement, TAG said, “We stand firm that we are regular employees, and employees don’t issue acknowledgement receipts to get their salaries.”
Talents who have not signed the company’s Project Employment Contract (PEC), including TAG members, are affected by the new unwritten policy.
TAG asked for a written assurance from Matias that the acknowledgement receipts will not be used against the talents, particularly in their pending case before the NLRC. A disclaimer would be written at the bottom of the acknowledgment receipt plus a conforme that will be signed by the cashier on duty. TAG said Matias assured the talents that the legal department approved it.
On May 25, the day of the releasing of checks, talents issued the acknowledgment receipts and asked the cashier on duty to sign the conforme as agreed upon. However, the cashier on duty refused to do so. Matias then told talents that the cashiers could not sign the conforme. Matias added that if talents will not issue the acknowledgement receipts, their checks would not be released.
TAG said some of their members had no other option but to comply. “The need to pay their rent, bills, and other financial obligations forced them to issue the acknowledgement receipt even without assurance that it will not be used to weaken the labor case,” the group said.
As of this writing, more than 20 of TAG members have not yet received their salaries for refusing to issue unsigned acknowledgement receipts.
TAG said the move “was a complete disregard of our right to get our salaries, a blatant disrespect of the status quo, and an outright inhumane harassment.”
“Depriving workers of their salary is like killing them and their families slowly, an action that is consistent with the network’s harassment of TAG members in the past,” the group said.
Last year, the network threatened talents with non-renewal of contracts if they would not back out of the labor case. TAG members were also forced us to leave other shows resulting in salary diminution. They did not receive their Christmas bonuses and other benefits such SSS, Pagibig, PhilHealth and 13th month pay.
TAG calls on the Department Of Labor and Employment, National Labor Relations Commission, Commission on Human Rights, and other concerned government agencies to investigate the matter.
The group also asked the support of fellow media workers and the academe in their “fight against labor injustices in the media industry.” It also urged the general public to condemn what it calls the “unabated oppression and harassment by GMA Network, Inc. of its workers.”