The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines stands in solidarity with the rank-and-file employees of TV5 in their struggle for higher salary, better benefits and security of tenure.
Since September, negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between the union and management have remained at a deadlock.
Management initially offered a P1,500-guaranteed salary hike and another P1,500 performance-based increase over a period of three years. The union rightly rejected the performance-based condition management sought to impose as such a criterion should never be applied to wages.
As labor officials attempted to mediate between the two parties, the management is offering P1,750 guaranteed salary hike for a period of three years.
This is totally unacceptable, given the company’s improved financial standing. Indeed, there is no reason management cannot meet with the union’s proposal of a P5,000-salary hike over three years.
TV5’s lowest paid rank-and-file employees in Metro Manila earn a gross P11,500, those in the provinces only P8,000.The family living wage in Metro Manila is pegged at P1,089 daily or P32,670 per month.
We urge TV5 to treat its rank-and-file employees as assets who have contributed to the network’s growth over the last five years.
The workers’ other economic demands, like an increase in their per diems and better health insurance coverage, among others, are just. We also find management’s rejection of the union’s proposal for an educational assistance loan, to be paid by the employees within one year, to be heartless given the high cost of education.
Beyond these economic demands, we also support the struggle of our colleagues in TV5 for security of tenure. Management junked the union’s proposal for security of tenure in the event of merger, consolidation and sale. We see management’s offer of a special limited voluntary separation package for selected union members as an effort to reduce the number of regular employees and to weaken the union, akin to union busting.
Believing in the justness of their demands, 87 percent of union members have voted to strike. The union has already submitted the results of the strike vote to the Department of Labor and Employment.
We hope that within the seven-day strike ban, management sees the light and decides to treat its employees as “kapatid” so the workers can truly say, “Happy ka[mi] dito!”
Ryan D. Rosauro