GMA talents fail to receive salaries, urge public and gov’t to investigate
Yesterday, GMA Network implemented a new unwritten policy concerning the salaries of workers who have remained Talents outside the Network’s new scheme called Project Employment Contract or PEC (READ: [News] New contract, same ‘exploitative’ terms). These Talents include the members of Talents Association of GMA Network or TAG.
TAG believes that this is a move that is not only discriminatory but also deceptive in nature. For the longest time, we have been receiving our salaries through our company-issued savings accounts. This provided easy and fast access to our salaries.
But the Network has changed that. Talents’ salaries will now be reverted to checks, which will be released to us in one condition: that we will issue an Acknowledgment Receipt.
This was relayed to us without an official Network memorandum, but verbally by officials including Assistant Vice-President (AVP) for Public Affairs, Leogarda Sanchez-Matias.
Ms. Matias provided us a Network-approved format for the acknowledgment receipt.
But we were suspicious. We believe that issuing such receipts will be detrimental to our regularization case before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). We stand firm that we are regular employees, and employees don’t issue acknowledgement receipts to get their salaries.
The AVP for Public Affairs assured us that the receipts merely serve as a proof that we received our salaries.
More than half of TAG members are breadwinners, fathers, and mothers who need to feed their families, and cannot afford to go a pay cut without income.
For their sake, we compromised. We asked for a written assurance that the acknowledgement receipts will not be used against us in our pending case before the NLRC. This comes in the form of a disclaimer found at the bottom of the acknowledgment receipt plus a conforme that will be signed by the cashier on duty.
We got assurance from Ms. Matias that the Legal Department approved it.
On the day of the releasing of checks, we issued the acknowledgment receipts and asked the cashier on duty to sign the conforme as agreed upon.
But to our surprise, the cashier on duty refused to do so. The AVP for Public Affairs then told us that they couldn’t sign the conforme, and made it clear that if we didn’t issue the receipts, our checks will not be released.
Some TAG members had no other option but to comply. The need to pay their rent, bills, and other financial obligations forced them to issue the acknowledgement receipt even without assurance that it will not be used to weaken the labor case.
As of this writing, more than 20 of our members have not yet received their salaries for refusing to issue unsigned acknowledgement receipts.
What happened yesterday was a complete disregard of our right to get our salaries, a blatant disrespect of the status quo, and an outright inhumane harassment. Depriving workers of their salary is like killing them and their families slowly, an action that is consistent with the network’s harassment of TAG members in the past.
Just last year, the network threatened us with non-renewal of contracts if we didn’t back out of the labor case; forced us to leave our other shows resulting to salary diminution; unfairly excluded us from Christmas bonuses; and did not provide us with statutory benefits like SSS, Pagibig, PhilHealth and 13th month pay. (READ: [News] It’s a bleak Christmas for GMA 7 talents)
The recent termination of more than 200 employees of GMA Regional offices also reflects the network’s blatant disregard of the interest and rights of its workers. (READ: [News] GMA 7 closes 4 regional offices; at least 100 employees displaced)
Other news organizations who covered the Financial Briefing and Press Conference of GMA Network quoted our Chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon as saying there will also be layoffs in the Headquarters, but workers in GMA remain clueless, and in fear.
We call on the Department Of Labor and Employment, National Labor Relations Commission, Commission on Human Rights, and other concerned government agencies to investigate this matter.
We enjoin our fellow media workers and the academe in our fight against labor injustices in the media industry.
Lastly, we urge the general public to condemn the unabated oppression and harassment by GMA Network, Inc. of its workers.