[News] TAG’s Reaction to GMA Network’s Official Statement About Labor Malpractice

TALENTS ASSOCIATION OF GMA (TAG)’S REACTION TO GMA NETWORK’S OFFICIAL STATEMENT ABOUT LABOR MALPRACTICE

While it is imperative for GMA Network, Inc. to address the allegations of labor malpractice filed by members of Talent Association of GMA, their response poses more questions than answers.

We are bringing forward this matter because as members of media, we are committed to ensuring that unheard voices must be heard—including the voices of our colleagues who chose to stand for what is right and what is fair.

It would be convenient to dismiss the complaints filed against them as ‘unfair’ and ‘baseless’. But the official statement from the network failed to answer the important points raised by the class suit, most notably the issue of regularization being asked by the ‘talents vital to its success’.

The official statement also said that “GMA Network gives importance to all its workers regardless of their employment status”. Prior to the labor case filed by TAG members, several more cases were filed by different ‘talents’ of the network. Just recently, the network lost a labor case filed by a group of cameramen (http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Corporate&title=gma-loses-labor-case-vs-cameramen&id=97563). If the network considers all its workers equal, then why are class suits being filed against them?

“Part of the Network’s efforts for the welfare of its talents is the Project Employment Contract (PEC), which provides a specific set of benefits responsive to their needs and interests”, said the network’s official statement. In the interest of the public, PEC was drafted as a response to the labor case filed by TAG members to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) this year. For decades, the so-called talents have not been entitled to benefits mandated by Philippine labor laws such as SSS, Philhealth and Pag-IBIG. Most members are hospitalized without a health card or HMO. They spend years of service without the mandatory 13th month pay of the employees. But we as members of TAG maintain that the PEC needs to be revitalized and reformed in order for it to be really ‘responsive to the needs and interests’ of network employees. For one, the security of tenure of each employee is not part of the provisions of PEC.

The official statement further reads, “The matter has been brought to the National Labor Relations Commission and we believe that the grievances of the complainants should be aired in the proper forum.”

Members of TAG are among the most talented, trustworthy, hardworking people in the television industry. We have already elevated our plight to the legal system, but the issue of the talent system which has been going on for years should also be brought to the public sphere: the academe, lawmakers, government agencies, media owners and other businessmen, and the viewing public to whom we owe our duty and obligation to tell the truth because it is worth fighting for.

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