Striking workers shut down RMN Davao transmittersBy Germelina Lacorte
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Workers switched off the transmitters of two radio stations of Radyo Mo Nationwide in Davao City early Tuesday to protest what they claimed was the management’s refusal to discuss salary increases and a package of benefits demanded by the employees.
But while the AM station dxDC was back on the air intermittently on Wednesday, the FM station dxLL remained off the air, with the 93.9 megahertz frequency emitting nothing but static and a hissing sound.
The RMN union here said they had been asking the RMN management to sit down with them and discuss their welfare and package of benefits but it continued to ignore their demand.
At 3 a.m. on Tuesday, RMN technicians switched off dxLL and dxDC AM’s transmitters as announcers and other employees skipped work to protest of the company’s alleged refusal to meet with them.
DxDC was back on air Wednesday, albeit intermittently, and striking workers said they believed RMN had set up a relay station somewhere and hooked it up to the network’s Manila station.
The local RMN managed has issued no statement even though the Inquirer left a number for them to call if they wished to discuss the strike.
RMN Davao manager Leo Daugdaug has not replied to queries sent by the Inquirer via text as of Wednesday. Security guards manning the radio stations on Anda Street repeatedly said no one from management was available for interviews.
Gina Hitgano, secretary of the RMN Davao Employees Union, said the strike started at 3 a.m. Tuesday. She said on Tuesday evening, they held a vigil outside the RMN stations.
Hitano said RMN workers also went on a similar strike last year but it was cut short when RMN management signed an agreement with the union, which granted lump sum cash benefits.
She said the management also agreed to hold more negotiations with the union but these have not materialized.
Hitgano said the company hired a new lawyer, who said he was still reviewing past agreements.
She said instead of moving the negotiations forward, the management also attempted to reconstitute a new panel to negotiate with the union.
“We are on strike as answer to the management’s attempt to ignore our legitimate demands,” she said.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Davao chapter said it was supporting the strike.
“Faced with an employer who refused to heed its workers demand for decent wages and benefits, the employees are left with no option but to strike, a bargaining act that is rightful under the Constitution,” Jessie Casalda, president of NUJP Davao, said in a statement.