GMA’s motion junked
IT’S FINAL: GMA TALENTS ARE REGULAR EMPLOYEES
Our fight for the rights of media workers was long and winding, but we won. Sacrifices had been made, lives have been drastically changed, but we have persevered because we knew we were on the right side.
Almost two years after filing a complaint, members of the Talents Association of GMA Network (TAG) were declared as regular employees.
In a final entry of judgment issued last February 17 by Deputy Executive Clerk of Court Atty. Ma. Roselette Gonzalo, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) asserted that its earlier decision favoring TAG had become “final and executory on January 21, 2016”.
This means that indeed, the remaining 97 complainants of TAG are regular employees of the network.
On the other hand, 8 complainants who were found to have submitted letters of resignation, are considered regular employees only up to the date preceding their resignation.
READ THE ENTRY OF JUDGEMENT HERE: [News] NLRC Entry of Judgment for TAG vs GMA Network (February 17, 2016)
TIMELINE OF EVENTS LEADING TO THE VICTORY OF TAG VS GMA NETWORK
June 4, 2014 – The Talents Association of GMA Network (TAG) filed a regularization complaint against GMA Network at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
October 26, 2014 – TAG launched its social media campaign to raise awareness on the plight of TV network talents. Called “Buhay Media”, the Facebook page would gain momentum and eventually reach over 17,000 likes.
November 10, 2014 – Both TAG and GMA Network submitted their position papers detailing the facts and legal basis of their arguments with regard to the regularization complaint.
November 20, 2014 – TAG began its series of campus tours to educate college students and faculty about the realities behind the labor conditions of media workers in the Philippines. Colleges and universities that were visited include PUP, CSB, UP Diliman, UP Baguio, PLMar, and UMak.
December 17, 2014 – Concerned faculty and staff of the UP College of Mass Communication issued a statement of support for TAG and other protesting contractual employees in media organizations.
2014 – Due to various reasons ranging from personal to work-related, including harrassment or offers for promotion in the network, 36 of the original 142 complainants withdrew their case against GMA Network, leaving around 106 to continue the fight.
January 10, 2015 – Altermidya, a nationwide network of independent and progressive alternative media practitioners in the Philippines, issued a statement expressing their support for TAG.
February 3, 2015 – The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) issued a statement backing the bid of TAG to end contractualization in media.
February 4, 2015 – GMA filed a Manifestation with Submission, showing that 8 individuals have voluntarily severed their Talent Agreements with GMA and have already abandoned their claim.
February 10, 2015 – Rep. Emmi de Jesus & Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party, together with Rep. Kit Belmonte of Quezon City (6th District) filed House Resolution 1893 to look into the contractualization and alleged unfair labor practice of network giants, as a response to the regularization suit filed by TAG.
February 18, 2015 – TAG President Christian Cabaluna attended a House Committee on Labor hearing to raise the issue of media workers’ labor conditions.
May 2, 2015 – The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) expressed their unending support to their colleagues in TAG in line with the group’s first year of struggle against unfair practices committed by GMA Network.
June 5, 2015 – TAG staged a peaceful protest in front of GMA Network Center to condemn the harassment of its members and to call for an end in contractualization in the media industry. Several labor, media and youth groups joined the rally to express their support.
June 22, 2015 – NLRC Labor Arbiter Julio Gayaman declared members of TAG as regular employees of the network, affirming the legal and factual basis of their arguments.
July 8, 2015 – GMA Network made its harshest move to harass TAG after terminating 11 of the group’s members, including TAG President Christian Cabaluna. This would give way to an illegal dismissal complaint filed by TAG later that year.
September 10, 2015 – One more complainant, Jerome Nebres, withdrew his case against GMA, leaving only 105 complainants pursuing the case.
September 30, 2015 – Three months after the labor arbiter’s verdict, the Commissioner of the NLRC upheld the labor arbiter’s decision.
January 5, 2016 – NLRC Special Fourth Division denied the Motion for Reconsideration filed by GMA Network over the September 30, 2015 Decision favoring TAG. They find “no compelling justification or valid reason to modify, alter, much less reverse, the Decision sought to be reconsidered.”
February 17, 2016 – Almost two years since the case was filed, the NLRC issued an Entry of Judgement declaring its September 30, 2015 decision as “final and executory”.
April 26, 2016 – In an NLRC-mediated meeting between TAG and GMA Network, the company’s lawyer said that although they do not agree with the decision, they will abide by it. Further meetings will be held to ensure a smooth transition.
THE FIGHT CONTINUES
We may have won this battle, but the struggle continues.
Many media workers remain under exploitative labor conditions–being paid with meager salaries, without any benefits or even security of tenure.
One of our members, Micholl Mabinta, continues to fight for her right as an individual case-filer against the network. Her case has been dismissed for “lack of merit”, despite similar conditions with the 97 TAG members who were declared as regular employees of the network.
It may also be recalled that in April 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that network talents are regular employees, while also making clear that the Jay Sonza case, largely used by GMA Network to defend its position, could not be applied to us. As such, we will appeal the decision on Mabinta’s case to the NLRC. We continue to trust that the judicial institutions will be consistent in its decisions.
We call on the government to dig deeper into the injustices inside the media industry. While the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recently released an advisory pushing for the strict compliance of an 8-hour working period for film and TV workers, there are far more issues that need to be addressed in the industry–most importantly, on contractualization.
Contractualization has silently killed the dreams of talented and passionate Filipinos, it has driven migration and made bad men out of good men. Labor conditions such as this have finally taken the first step of inclusion in the electoral discussion, with all presidential candidates supporting for its abolition. But this is something that we are yet to see.
We are grateful for the many groups and individuals that have expressed their support, vocally and otherwise, to the cause of TAG. In return, we will continue to advocate for a genuine enforcement of humane labor standards in the media industry.
To our colleagues in the media who are still afraid to fight for their rights, may our victory serve as a wake-up call. There is strength in numbers, and we have proven time and time again that there is nothing that we cannot do if we do it together.
As the nation celebrates Labor Day, may we all remember the huge role that workers play in the growth of companies and the economy, and that we should be rewarded with the rightful benefits and security that we deserve.
Tuloy ang laban. #LabanMedia
#BuhayMedia #LabanMedia #EndContractualization #NoToContractualization