“We welcome a brand new year with another victory, proving that good things come to those who fight for justice and their rights.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Talents of giant TV network GMA 7 are regular employees as affirmed by the recent decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
In a decision, Jan. 5, the NLRC dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by GMA 7 management for lack of merit. The network lost anew in its appeal on the September 30, 2015 decision of Special Fourth Division Commissioner Numeranio Villena declaring 106 GMA talents as regular employees.
“We find no compelling justification or valid reason to modify, alter, much less reverse, the decision sought to be reconsidered,” the resolution read.
The resolution upheld that GMA 7 talents are entitled to security of tenure and all benefits and rights of regular employees. “Talent” is the euphemism used by the GMA 7 management for its workers it does not consider as regular.
“We welcome a brand new year with another victory, proving that good things come to those who fight for justice and their rights,” the Talents Association of GMA (TAG) said in a statement.
The NLRC is expected to issue an entry of judgment within 15-30 days, saying that the decision is final and executory and ordering GMA Network to implement its ruling.
GMA Network can seek relief from the Court of Appeals, after which they may take it to the Supreme Court.
“GMA made it clear from the beginning that they will take this battle to the end,” said TAG President Christian Cabaluna. “We’ll also do the same, we will persist to show everyone we are doing the right thing, that there is a chance to have fair labor treatment in this industry we love, to show everyone who said we’ll lose that they’re wrong.”
Cabaluna, along with ten other senior staff employees, was fired in July 2014 on grounds that TAG said remain unclear. They have filed separate illegal dismissal cases against the network.
Cabaluna said the resolution plays an important role in their illegal dismissal case. “As regular employees, we have rights to due process and we shouldn’t have been terminated as easily as we have been,” he said.
Cabaluna said they “are encouraged not only by our own convictions, but by the legal precedents that no other than the Supreme Court has set.”
In April 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that network talents are regular employees, while also making clear that the Jay Sonza case, largely used by GMA Network to defend its position, could not be applied to talents.
The TAG said it trusts that the judicial institutions will be “consistent in its decisions.”
The group is also hopeful that the NLRC decision will prompt urgent action from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“This also comes at a crucial time as we near elections. We believe that the labor conditions in the Philippines should no longer take a backseat in the electoral discussion; it is a pressing issue that needs attention now,” the TAG said.