“We believe that even though we are a small group, we can be a formidable force that can mobilize every contractual worker in the country to stand up for labor justice.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Employees of giant network GMA-7, euphemistically called ‘talents,’ launched its prayer and candles campaign yesterday, June 3, to educate the public on the issue of contractual labor.
Members of the Talents Association of GMA (TAG) called on the public to support their fight for regularization by offering prayers and posting pictures of a lit candle on social media.
Last year, more than a hundred members of TAG filed a complaint against the GMA management before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). Talents are those who are not considered as regular employees by the GMA management despite years of service. The case is pending.
TAG decried what it calls as latest form of harassment. Since last month, the management has withheld the salaries of some talents for refusing to issue acknowledgement receipts (AR). TAG members believe that the issuance of AR could be used as evidence against them. Regular employees do not issue AR.
According to TAG, GMA Network’s legal counsel Regino Moreno, during a mediation held May 29 at the NLRC, claimed that the receipts are necessary to claim tax credits from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Moreno added TAG members’ failure to comply with BIR requirements on tax payments “is hurting the network’s finances.”
During the mediation, however, Moreno himself admitted that the AR is inadmissible to the BIR. This, TAG members said, “strengthened their belief that issuance of AR would be detrimental to their labor case and is but pure harassment.”
The group encourages everyone to use the hastags #notohARassment #LabanMedia #BuhayMedia #IsangKandilaAtDasalParaSaMgaKontraktuwal for their social media posts.
TAG members, along with their families and supporters, lit candles after attending mass at the Sacred Heart Parish in Quezon City last night.
“We believe that even though we are a small group, we can be a formidable force that can mobilize every contractual worker in the country to stand up for labor justice,” the group said.
TAG said their members also experienced other forms of harassment such as non-renewal of contracts, exclusion from Christmas bonus, and prohibition from engaging duties from other programs.
Benjie Oliveros, spokesperson of Altermidya, a nationwide network of alternative media groups, said the fight for regularization of members of TAG is part of the overall struggle of workers and rank and file employees all over the country for job security, their right to organize unions, decent wages and all other hard-fought rights that workers have achieved through decades, nay centuries, of struggle. Contractualization, Oliveros said, seeks to negate these rights, and the people should unite against this.