NUJP hails media workers’ victory vs GMA contractualization

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)

Gabriela files resolution on GMA workers regularization

Gabriela Representative Emmi De Jesus filed House Resolution 1893 at the House of Representatives this morning, seeking an inquiry on alleged violations by GMA Network Inc. of labor code provisions on regularization of contractual employees.
De Jesus, fellow Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan and Quezon City 5th District Rep. Christopher Belmonte took the cudgels for the more than a hundred members of the Talents Association of GMA (TAG) who were refused regularization by the media conglomerate even after 15 years of continuous service to the company.
TAG members were cameramen, production assistants, editors, writers, researchers, and segment and executive producers of various GMA programs.
Most of them were terminated last December at the end of their respective “Talent Agreements” which categorize them as mere independent contractors and not as employees.
De Jesus hopes that HR 1893 would help in the passage of Gabriela’s House Bill 4396, a measure that seeks to stop labor-only contracting and to regulate job contracting and sub-contracting.
“I believe that media workers, who help keep the Filipino public informed and appraised of social justice issues must also be beneficiaries of social justice to keep their body and soul together and continue to provide this invaluable service to the nation,”De Jesus said in a statement.
“Press freedom is endangered if the rights of media workers themselves are not respected by media corporations,” TAG president Bowe Cabaluna, for his part, said.
TAG expressed gratitude to HR1893 sponsors and other media groups such as Altermidya, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, and the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications for supporting their struggle.