July 16, 2012
Strike against the repressive, greedy radio broadcasting network
The RMN Davao Employees Union launched a strike July 10, 2012, nearly two years after it entered into Collective Bargaining negotiations with the Radio Mindanao Network management. Twenty technicians,reporters and other rank-and-file workers of the top-rating AM and FMstation refused to go to work Tuesday, a month after it filed a Noticeof Strike against the firm’s refusal to continue CBA negotiations.
For at least eight hours, the AM station DXDC was rendered off-airbefore the management forcibly entered its transmitter site in MadapoHills, Davao city. Over the last 24 hours, RMN management managed tobroadcast via remote airing, even as it attempted to sneak in twotechnicians and an engineer from its sister station in General SantosCity. The militant RDEU members cried against the deliberate attemptby the management to use scabs to diminish the crippling paralysis ofthe strike. RMN’s FM Station is still off air.
The strike is a culmination of nearly two years of hard struggleagainst the management’s underhanded tactics and greedy schemes.
Suffering from low wages and lack of security of tenure, workersformed the RDEU, first as an independent union last August 10, 2010,with an original 25 members. Deeper understanding of genuine tradeunionism and study in Philippine social realities led the RDEU toaffiliate with the militant National Federation of LaborUnions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU) in May 2, 2011. The RDEU won overa fake yellow union backed by the management in the name of MCL-Tupasduring a Certification Elections 15 days later.
On July 28, 2011, the RDEU, as a sole and exclusive bargaining agentin the RMN, presented its CBA proposal for a P75-P50-P50 wage increasescheme spread in 3 years to the RMN management during the firstmeeting of their CBA negotiations. The management, however, scoffedthe salary increment proposal and instead presented on September 21its position for a two year moratorium on pay hikes citing that it wasincurring losses.
The RDEU firmly debunked the management’s stance because the RMN Davaobranch ranked 2nd among the RMN stations nationwide to have thehighest profits. The P75 wage increase proposal by the RDEU wouldmean an additional P99,000 monthly expense on the part of themanagement, a drop in the bucket, so to speak, in the face of thefirm’s monthly P24 million gross sales.
The differing stance forced the RDEU to declare a deadlock in thenegotiations and file a notice of strike on September 26. Acting on amandate that it maintain the Aquino government’s zero-strike policy,the NCMB averted the threat of labor strike by resolving the CBAdeadlock through series of mediations.
On November 11, at 11pm, the two parties finally hammered a Memorandumof Agreement to break the impasse. Instead of wage increase moratoriumin the 1st year, the RMN management agreed to grant the workers alumpsum amount of an average of P10,000 for every employee or basedin his/her length of service. The RMN management also promised tocontinue with CBA negotiations by May 2012 to settle the wage increasescheme and tackle other provisions such as rice subsidy, mealallowance and union security clause provision.
But by June 2012, after several follow ups and reminders to themanagement, no such CBA negotiations were initiated. The RMN HumanResource manager Carmela Cabactan offered lame excuses to the union,such as claiming that negotiations could not commence because the RMNowner Eric Canoy was out of the country. It was an empty justificationconsidering that Canoy was never part of the negotiating panel.
The RMN management further claimed that it will have to review theMemorandum of Agreement even as the document was verified true andimplementable by the authorized representatives of the RMN managementin the person of Atty. Martin Heje and Mr. Leo Daugdaug.
The gross indifference, if not callousness on the part of themanagement to resume CBA negotiations forced the union to again, seekways to make its position be heard. It filed a Notice of strike, thesecond time around, on June 4, 2012.
Four mediation meetings followed the strike declaration and in all butthe fourth meeting, the management failed to present its authorizedrepresentatives; it asked for a three-week extension to form itsnegotiating panel. In a worse case of delaying tactic, the managementeven asked the union to submit a position letter where the latter willstate the points for discussion when the negotiations begin.
During the last meeting in July 5, a new counsel, Atty Rommel Cubelo,appeared on behalf of the management, and asked for an appointment onJuly 11 for another round of talks. He also maintained that themanagement wants to revisit the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement,an assertion which clearly attempts to dissolve the MOA as alegitimate and valid pre-CBA measure inked by the two parties.
Clearly, the RMN management is firm in its original stance to refuseto acquiesce to the just demands of the RDEU workers. It maintains itshardline position to protect its capitalist interest, preserve thehighest profit margins, and continue to ignore the suffering of itsworkers. As a company already in the business for 60 years, it cansurely give in to the small demands of the union. Its owner, EricCanoy, who heads the government station IBC 13, enjoys the protectionof the vastly anti-worker government of Pres. Aquino.
In the face of flagrant hardline stance by the profit-greedycapitalist RMN management, the RDEU workers are now engaged in atemporary work stoppage, in a collective strike against the abusive,repressive, unjust and anti-worker RMN management. The RDEU isprepared to frustrate the management’s sneaky schemes to render thestrike paralysis inutile and destroy our solidarity and unity. TheRDEU is maximizing the full potential and spirit of the constitutionalright to freedom of expression and assembly and launch a strike toprotect its collective interest and just demands.