Radio network faces strike over pay hike
DAVAO CITY—Workers at one of Mindanao’s biggest radio networks have filed a notice of strike at the Department of Labor and Employment office here to press for a P75 increase in daily pay through a collective bargaining agreement that was left hanging after the workers’ union and management reached a deadlock on Sept. 23.
Martin Heje, legal counsel of Radio Mo Network (RMN), said the company respects its workers’ right to strike following the deadlock in CBA negotiations. Heje said RMN management was trying its best to come to terms with the network’s union.
He said eight CBA meetings were held in recent days although no agreement could be reached on the amount of pay increase that should be given to workers.
“We’ve come to agree on other things except for the salary increment,” he said.
RMN workers, who held a rally outside the station’s premises on Anda Street, burned a copy of the company’s financial statement, which purportedly showed that the network’s net loss was P7.9 million the previous year.
“We’re burning that because that’s a lie,” said Rey Hernan Fabe, head of the RMN Employees’ Union, which is affiliated with Kilusang Mayo Uno.
“We know that the company is earning millions every month,” Fabe said.
Based on the number of advertisement spots the company accommodates every month, workers estimate the company’s combined income for its Davao AM and FM stations to easily reach P24 million a month, Fabe said.
Fabe said what the RMN workers demand would only cost management a measly P99,000. RMN workers said the management, in a 1995 CBA with a previous union, approved a 15-percent salary increase every year.
“The P75 increase we are demanding is even less than
1 percent but still the company refuses to grant it,” said Fabe.
Heje said RMN management remained optimistic that it would be able to settle with its workers with the help of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.
Fabe accused management of harassing members, removing their daily radio programs and assigning them to do field work.
Heje, however, said, “There was no reason for them to say it was a form of harassment because they were hired as field reporters in the first place.”
The company, he added, was “only following their job description as the union had requested.”
Fabe said RMN also banned the use of the social networking site Facebook and removed the meal allowances of union members, something which workers supposedly friendly with management continue to enjoy.
This was also denied by Heje. He said the provision of free meals to employees was at the discretion of the station manager and depended on availability of funds.
He refused to comment on the Facebook ban. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao
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