By Hansley Juliano & Jose Luis Garcia/SENTRO News
MANILA, Philippines – “We are ready to provide legal assistance to the laid-off employees of TV5 News.”
This is the statement of Arthur Guda, Chairperson of the National Alliance of Broadcast Unions (NABU) upon learning the plight of almost 100 regular employees who were terminated by TV5 Management last Friday (24 February) apparently without due notice and due process.
“We strongly condemn and denounce the mass layoff. We believe the management’s action should be considered union busting and harassment against the workers right to organize,” Guda explained.
Guda also said that as of press time, they were arranging a meeting with the displaced workers of TV5 to thoroughly discuss concrete plans and action on how to handle the legal battle against the TV5 News Management.
Meanwhile, the SENTRO ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) also expressed dismay at the anti-labor action of TV5 News Management.
In their official statement, SENTRO said, “they fully support the TV5 Employees Union’s decision to go ahead and fight for their rights in all available avenues—through litigation and other means.”
SENTRO also adds, It is very telling that under the Duterte administration, private enterprises have been further emboldened not only to roll back the already-limited opportunities for empowerment and rights assertion that our workers’ movements have but to do so despite a growing clamor for extending the right to decent work to our casual and contractual workers. TV5’s leadership, with this current action, affirms its owner Manuel V. Pangilinan’s horrendous track record in not obeying the laws of the land he intends to continue doing business in. He has conducted the same Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) under his management of the Philippine Long-Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and has driven out thousands of workers to go on strike against PLDT since 2002 up until 2013.
SENTRO is truly indignant with the arbitrariness of the dismissal of the workers—without any prior consultation and with very limited consideration to the regular workers’ years of faithful service to their company—especially if we take the company’s claims of operating-at-loss at face value.
“We also echo the TV5 Employees Union’s argument that such financial difficulty does not warrant the arbitrary, unsystematic and unjustified dismissal of 98 of its regular workers. The current situation openly reeks of union-busting,” SENTRO claimed.
We in SENTRO, therefore repeat what NABU Chairperson Arthur Guda’s commitment that we will provide legal and organizational assistance to the TV5 Employees Union. In these trying times of worker rights’ suppression, SENTRO believes in sending aid to all our fellow working peoples equally, regardless of their social and partisan positioning.
With SENTRO’s long experience in aiding struggling workers’ organizations, we are optimistic that we may yet gain the edge on behalf of the unjustly dismissed rank-and-file employees, and even prevent the further dismissal of many more.
Now, more than ever, our rights and future as workers of this country are at risk. Now, more than ever, should we stand side by side and reclaim our rightful place.
We thus join the TV5 employees’ calls:
MANGGAGAWA SA TV5, MAGKAISA!
MANGGAGAWANG TINANGGAL, IBALIK!
SAHOD, TRABAHO AT KARAPATAN IPAGLABAN!
IBALIK ANG FALLEN 98! CPM
We in SENTRO, therefore repeat what NABU Chairperson Arthur Guda’s commitment that we will provides legal and organizational assistance to the TV5 Employees Union. In these trying times of worker rights’ suppression, SENTRO believes in sending aid to all our fellow working peoples equally, regardless of their social and partisan positioning.