This is the letter that was read by Christian Cabaluna, president of the Talents Association of GMA Network (TAG), in the February 18 hearing of the House Committee on Labor and Employment. Eleven proposed bills on workers’ security were tackled in the said meeting. Related article here: https://buhaymedia.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/news-house-panel-tackles-job-security-bills/
Dear Representatives of the House,
Greetings from the Talents Association of GMA!
We are a group of media practitioners or talents from the Public Affairs and News Divisions of GMA, who work behind the camera as executive producers, associate producers, writers, field producers, cameramen, editors, production coordinators and the like. We are the workers behind several award-winning documentaries, news programs, talk shows and service-oriented programs of GMA, like 24 Oras, Imbestigador, Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, Reporter’s Notebook and Reel Time (2013 George Foster Peabody Awardee) to name a few.
We are also mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, and heads of the family.
We have happily and proudly provided “Serbisyong Totoo” as talents of GMA for multiple years, embracing the endless work hours and sometimes dangerous assignments while producing groundbreaking, creative and socially relevant programs. But one of the great ironies in our line of work is that as journalists, we champion the rights of the downtrodden, but we ourselves are powerless to fight for our own rights as workers.
Under the talent system, we sign contracts that range from one month, 3 months, 6 months, one year or 5 years, and these contracts are continuously renewed as soon as they expire. We do not have government-mandated benefits (SSS, Pag-ibig, Philhealth), sick leaves, maternity leaves and vacation leaves, nor do we have health plans despite our years of continued service. We also operate on a “No Work, No Pay” system, wherein if we fail to report to work because of an emergency, illness or childbirth, we simply do not get paid.
Last December 31, 2014, GMA management did not renew the contracts of 52 talents who filed a labor case against the network. Furthermore, we will be made to sign a Project Employment Contract (PEC), which will take effect this year. Talents who will not sign the PEC will no longer be engaged, according to the network.
Our group will not sign our respective PECs as this apparently negates our years of services in the network. We wish to be recognized as regular employees of GMA as we feel is just and fair according to our labor laws.
Come March 2015, another batch from our group will be unemployed because we have chosen to fight for our rights as workers. We do not wish to leave GMA but we are left with no other fair option.
Honorable representatives, we ask for your help to investigate the industry-wide contractualization practice. We appeal to you to aid us in our fight, not only for us but for the next generation of media practitioners.
Talents Association of GMA (TAG)