“Management is claiming that the company is losing money but showed no proof to back up its claim.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – The union at TV5 and media groups believe that the sudden retrenchment of more than a hundred workers aims to weaken the union.
On Feb. 24, over a hundred employees – four of whom are union officers and 98 are union members – were told that they could no longer report to work starting that day.
In a phone interview, Vladimir Martin, president of the ABC Employees Union (ABCEU), told Bulatlat that the union was told of the management’s decision on the same day.
While company officials from the human resources department were justifying the layoffs to union members, retrenched workers were being herded out of the building or barred from entering the company premises.
“Management is claiming that the company is losing money but showed no proof to
back up its claim,” Martin told Bulatlat.
The union leader said management further claimed that TV5 would be forced to close down by September this year if retrenchments would not be implemented.
In a report, TV5 network chairperson Manuel V. Pangilinan claimed that job cuts are aimed at cutting losses. He refused to disclose exact figures though.
The union maintained that Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investment Corp. could help save the network. The union added that then Pangilinan-led Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) bought the media network in 2009.
The ABCEU said the company only wants to rake in more profits by replacing regular employees with contractual or agency-hired workers.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines expressed support to TV5 workers.
The NUJP said management aims to weaken the union, which has been firm in defending its members‘ rights and welfare, clinching a salary hike and more benefits in last year’s negotiations for a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
“TV5 trampled on the dignity of its long-time employees as workers, many of whom had been serving the company and its owners for more than 10 years,” the NUJP said.
The CEGP, for its part, condemned “the government for its consistent failure to protect workers from abusive labor practices perpetrated by big companies such as TV5.”
The NUJP said the plight of TV5 workers is not isolated. “The entire media industry is full of un-unionized workers who suffer long working hours without security of tenure, just pay and benefits,” the NUJP further said. “As we pledge our solidarity and support to our ABCEU colleagues, we also call on all journalists to unite and unionize for media workers’ rights and welfare. Panahon na!”