[News] Salaries of terminated talents held

Salaries of terminated talents held

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GMA Network, citing company policy, is holding the last salaries of GMA talents whose contracts ended last December 31, 2014.

Contracts of fifty two talents from the Talents Association of GMA (TAG), the group that filed a regularization case against GMA, lapsed on December 31, 2014 and were not renewed by the company as a result of the class suit.

Following the payroll scheme of the Department, said talents should receive their salaries for the December 15-31 period on Friday, January 9.

Talents from the Public Affairs Department were notified via text message on Wednesday, January 7, that their salaries were being held until further notice. Talents from the News Department, however, were only told Thursday upon their own inquiry.

In a text sent to some of the 52 talents, several Production Administrators explained that the Legal Department follows a company policy that subjects talents to final clearance before their last salaries are released.

The clearance, they explained, will be routed to other departments for “pending accountabilities. Production Administrators, could not, however, say when the release of their salaries will be.

TAG questions the unclear company policy being cited by the Production Administrators, since other members of TAG whose contracts ended on October and November of last year were not subjected to any clearance, and were given their final pay.

Asked why the notification came so late, a Production Administrator said in a text that the list of talents whose salaries will be held was only finalized last January 5.

Reel Time Executive Producer and TAG Vice President Shao Masula pointed out that the list of TAG members whose contracts lapsed on December 31 has been known in the early weeks of December, making it possible for officers to notify them they could no longer report for work starting January 1.

In fact, one Production Administrator even admitted to a TAG member that the list of talents whose salaries will be held has been complete as early as December 22, but that they only received instruction to notify talents last Wednesday.

“They were already decided last year that they were not going renew these talents, if there really is a company policy to hold their salaries, they should have been able to notify talents even before,” Masula said.

“We have allotted that salaries to a lot of things, bills to pay, expenses, what are we supposed to do now?” former Motorcycle Diaries Segment Producer Arci Formales said, “this is clearly an act of harassment.”

TAG counsel Atty. Ricardo Lapesura, Jr. points out that under the Labor Code, it is illegal to hold salaries for someone who has already rendered work.

But Production Administrators are pointing out that the “clearance” in question has something to do with unissued documents, such as resignation letters from the 52 talents whose contracts have lapsed.

“Why would they submit a resignation letter when they didn’t resign? They were asked to stop reporting to work,” Masula said.

TAG members also decry that every move by the company regarding the talents that filed a class suit have been clandestine and confusing.

It is stated in the Talent Agreement Contracts that GMA Network should issue a written notice pertaining the end of a talent’s contract.

To this day, there has not been an official memo explaining their moves, including the memo to stop reporting to work. Some talents were even asked to write a memo saying they are no longer able to return to work.

Statements and answers also vary from one administrator to the other.

TAG asks GMA to clearly explain the basis of their action. TAG will also explore all legal action to make sure that the salaries of said talents are released in the soonest possible time.

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