Strike puts Davao City radio station off the airPhilippine Daily Inquirer
DAVAO CITY—A strike is crippling the operations of two radio stations here belonging to one of the country’s biggest radio networks, forcing the stations’ management to cut one station off the air and operate the other sparingly.
At dawn of Tuesday, technicians of Radyo Mo Nationwide (RMN) switched off the transmitters of FM station dxLL and AM station dxDC as announcers, reporters and other employees skipped work to protest management’s refusal to negotiate better employment terms and pay for its workers.
While the FM station dxLL remained off the air, workers reported intermittent broadcasts of the AM station dxDC and raised suspicions that management built a relay station to keep dxDC on the air. No local content was heard in dxDC, however.
The RMN union here said it has been asking management to sit down and discuss a welfare and benefits package for workers but was repeatedly ignored.
RMN management here declined to issue any statement on the strike. Leo Daugdaug, RMN Davao manager, did not reply to queries made by the Inquirer through text messages. Security guards at the radio stations on Anda Street here said no one from management was available for an interview.
Gina Hitgano, secretary of RMN Davao Employees Union, said the strike started at 3 a.m. on Tuesday following a vigil by union members outside the RMN stations.
Hitgano said RMN workers also went on strike last year which ended when management signed an agreement with the union that granted lump sum cash benefits to workers based on years of service.
P99,000 a month
The union is currently demanding a package of wage and nonwage benefits worth P99,000 a month. Union leaders said the amount is small compared to the P24 million a month that RMN earns.
Many of the workers are receiving just P8,000 a month in salary.
Part of the deal that ended last year’s strike, according to Hitgano, was for further negotiations to proceed on union demands for better pay and treatment for workers. But management did not honor this, she said.
Instead of moving forward with the negotiations, Hitgano said management instead tried to reconstitute a new panel to negotiate with the union.
“We are on strike as an answer to the management’s attempt to ignore our legitimate demands,” she said.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in Davao said it was supporting the strike.
“Faced with an employer who refuses 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,” said Jessie Casalda, head of NUJP in Davao, in a statement. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao