The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) hailed the Court of Appeals (CA) decision declaring former talents of broadcast giant GMA network as regular workers.
“We congratulate our colleagues in the Talents Association of GMA (TAG) for courageously sustaining and winning the struggle for their rights and welfare,” the NUJP said in a statement, praising the workers’ unity and determination to fight for their rights as an inspiration to all media workers.
In a 19-page February 20 decision, the CA’s Special 14th Division upheld an earlier decision by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) declaring more than a hundred GMA network talents as regular employees.
The CA also junked the petition for certiorari filed by GMA 7 management, saying it lacked merit.
The appellate court said the talents are regular employees and production crew members who undoubtedly performed functions necessary and essential to GMA’s broadcasting business.
“Truly, without their work, petitioner GMA would have nothing to air, hence the private respondents’ services in the former’s television program were unquestionably necessary and essential,” the decision reads.
Written by Associate Justice Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles, the decision also said that the workers contracts have been repeatedly renewed, indicating the necessity and desirability of their (talents’) work in the usual course of GMA’s business.
The decision also said the four-fold test to determine employer-employee relationship was established: selection and engagement of the employee, payment of wages, power of dismissal, and power to control the employee’s conduct.
In June 4, 2014, TAG, composed mostly of contractual employees, filed a complaint with the NLRC.
It also held a protest rally on June 4, 2014 before the GMA headquarters, along with supportive organizations such as the NUJP and the Kilusang Mayo Uno.
Several TAG members were eventually fired for participating in the rally.
In a statement, TAG said it welcomes the decision declaring they are regular workers.
“But the purpose was always clear to us — to shine the light on a prevalent issue that affects millions of Filipinos and to increase the pressure on companies and the government, to stop this unjust, inhumane and illegal labor treatment. To not do so would be to turn our backs on our duties as journalists,” the group said.
The NUJP called on the owners and managers of GMA Network to do right by their workers and immediately implement the CA decision.
The union also urged all media houses to end their contractualization policies and engage their employees in crafting ways to improve their welfare. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)