By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Journalists and workers condemned the termination of eight union officers of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) Davao.
Following a decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) declaring the October 2014 strike illegal, RMN management sent notices of termination effective May 23 to union officials Janette Planos Mancilla, Gina Hitgano, Jolan Hitgano, Arnold Colama, Marvin Pineda, Rey Fabe, Efren Caangay Armilla and Ryan Fernandez.
Carlo Olalo, secretary general of Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao chapter, said that the termination is premature since there is no Entry of Judgment yet from the NLRC and considering that the union has appealed the decision before the Court of Appeals and sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order against its implementation.
“RMN’s termination disrespects the law on due process. It is premature, malicious, and clearly establishes how zealous the company is of busting the region’s only union of media workers,” Olalo said.
In a similar vein, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said it finds the termination “malicious in its haste.” The group said the least the network should do is allow the appellate process to take its course.
The RMN Davao Employees Union (RDEU) staged a strike on October 2, 2014 when RMN management refused to bargain with the union and to replace vacated positions with regular workers. After 41 days, both parties agreed for a settlement but RMN retaliated, filing a case of illegal strike against the union. On May 29, 2015, the NLRC Regional Arbitration Branch junked RMN’s complaint but was reversed upon appeal at the NLRC Eighth Division.
KMU-Southern Mindanao branded the NLRC Decision as “blatantly pro-capitalist and anti-worker,” claiming further that the commission “basically crafted a decision which copy-pasted RMN’s pleadings.”
The NUJP further said, “It is also dismaying how the NLRC has robbed the RMN Davao workers of their most potent weapon and constitutionally guaranteed right in their search for humane and just employment, one which they successfully wielded when they first went on strike in 2012 to protest attempts to bust their union.”
Both groups are demanding for the reinstatement of the dismissed union officials pending the Entry of Judgment and the Court of Appeals decision.
KMU-Southern Mindanao called on incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to intervene on the case and to fulfill his promise of ending contractualization.
“Contractualization is pervasive in the media industry and the union has been a vigorous advocate against the talent system which RMN seeks to implement on a national scale. RMN’s move of getting rid of the union officials aims to muzzle a genuine voice against contractualization in the media industry,” Olalo said.