“The point of a new CBA is to improve the wages and benefits of employees but it seems the management does not want anything better for us. If the employees are treated well, they would be more productive and the company will also benefit.”
RELATED STORY | TV5 employees union to conduct strike vote next week
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — After attempts at mediation by labor officials failed, the TV 5 employees union filed April 1 a notice to conduct strike vote with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board of the Department of Labor and Employment -National Capital Region.
Vladimir Martin told Bulatlat that during the March 15 and March 29 conferences at the NCMB DOLE, the management was adamant in its proposal. “They were not negotiating but dictating the terms of the CBA, [Collective Bargaining Agreement],” Martin said.
The CBA negotiations, which began in September last year, reached a deadlock as TV5 management insists on what the union described as “measly” wage increases, “divisive” two-tier wage scheme, “harsh penalties” in the Code of Conduct, among others.
All union members will vote, through secret balloting, whether they are in favor of strike or not on April 4 and April 5.
The NCMB-DOLE attempted to mediate between the two parties and called for conferences on March 15 and March 29. The management was represented by Luvi delos Reyes, manager of the employee relations and communications department and three lawyers led by Rafael Khan. The union was represented by Martin and other officers and lawyer Noel Neri of the Pro-Labor Assistance Center.
Martin said they were trying to reach a compromise with the management and expressed openness in reducing their original salary increase proposal but the management would not budge.
The TV 5 management wants a moratorium for the first year of the CBA and P1,500 increase for the second year and P1,500 increase for the third year. The salary increases, however, would be 50-percent guaranteed and the other half would be performance-based. Martin said that under this scheme, union members would only get P1,500 guaranteed salary hike for three years.
Martin said employees deserve even a slight increase on their per diem allowance, which, since 2010, has been pegged at P275 per day.
The union also wants an improvement in their health insurance coverage, set clear guidelines for hazard pay, among others.
Martin, a cameraman in the news department, said that all his requests for hazard pay in the past five years have been denied.
“The point of a new CBA is to improve the wages and benefits of employees but it seems the management does not want anything better for us,” Martin said. “If the employees are treated well, they would be more productive and the company will also benefit.”
Union preservation, security of tenure
Beyond economic demands, Martin said the union is pushing for security of tenure in the event of merger, consolidation and sale.
Martin said they do not want to experience what RPN 9 employees went through. None of the RPN 9 employees were retained when the network was acquired by a new owner in 2014.
Martin said the management uses “deception and intimidation” to reduce the number of regular employees.
For the past months, Martin said the management has been offering special limited voluntary separation package to selected regular employees. In just one year, Martin said almost a hundred availed of the package. The regular employees were replaced with contractual employees.
Martin said management representatives told employees at the Creative Services Department and those in Davao and Cebu that they better accept the separation package because their departments would soon be dissolved. “It was not at all true. Months later, these were not dissolved,” Martin said.
Nia Bugarin, a program assistant at Radyo 5, said the union is only fighting for what is right.
For the past two years, Bugarin said her workload has doubled. “When our administration assistant accepted the separation package, she was not replaced and I was asked to perform her duties without additional pay,” she said.
Bugarin said she experienced being on duty for 19 straight hours even if she was suffering from pneumonia.
Bugarin, 31, has been with the company for four years and receives P16,000 monthly salary. “Even if I only have my mother to support, my salary is just not enough,” she told Bulatlat. “What more for my colleagues who have children?”
Sometimes, their overtime pay and holiday pay were delayed.