2 October 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IN DEFENSE OF OUR JOBS, OUR UNION, AND OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE: WE ARE ON STRIKE!
Statement of the RMN Davao Employees Union (RDEU-NAFLU-KMU)
After a prolonged period of engaging in negotiations with management to settle the strike notice, the RMN Davao Employees Union-NAFLU-KMU, a union of radio operators and reporters, through its general assembly, unanimously decide to go on strike today, as a strong statement of unity and collective indignation of RMN’s stubborn refusal in complying with union demands. Following grueling fifteen (15) conciliation conferences, RMN remains adamant in its non-compliance with key job security provisions laid down in our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2012. Thus, we find RMN culpable of gross violation of CBA provisions, particularly, Art. 3, Sections 2 and 3:
Art. 3 – Job security
Work assignments shall at all times be given to regular workers based on their individual job description/appointment.
xxx In case an employee compulsorily or voluntarily resigns or is disabled, or dies, one of his/her direct dependent, provided he/she is qualified for the vacant position, shall be prioritized for employment by Company. If no direct dependent of the employee is qualified next priority will be given to a qualified member of the bargaining unit. If neither one of the direct dependents or a member of the bargaining unit is qualified, the Union may recommend any applicant to the vacant position based on standard company hiring policies.
Why do we go on strike? It is clear to the Union that the grand design of RMN management is union busting. Since 2012, RMN management has deliberately refused to replace vacated positions of erstwhile regular workers in accordance with the CBA’s job security provisions, in a blatant attempt to systematically diminish union membership and eventually eradicate it. Instead of hiring probationary and regular workers as replacement, RMN hired so-called “talents.” As a result, regular workers were passed over in favor of “talents”, in violation of the hiring process provided in the CBA. Furthermore, the management’s scheming in creating positions outside of the organizational structure and promoting union members to these positions also worked to reduce our membership. From a union of 22 members, the Union’s membership has dwindled to 17. If we allow management’s unfair labor practice to go unhampered, our number will continue to shrink until our union is no more.
What is also alarming is that RMN management has championed Oplan Bayanihan by hiring two “talents”, Erin Lumosbog and Joel Viray, for the sole purpose of incessantly attacking the Union on air and maliciously linking it to the communist movement. The statements uttered and accusations thrown by both Lumosbog and Viray run parallel to those made by the AFP-PNP. Hence, we can only conclude that RMN management is in cahoots with the AFP-PNP in implementing Oplan Bayanihan as a means of stamping out legitimate dissent and valid exercise of democratic rights. Not only is RMN a gross violator of the CBA, it is also a gross violator of our right to organize and freedom of association. For these reasons, we will not make compromises on the matter of our job security and our right to unionize. We will not allow RMN to accomplish its ultimate objective of busting our union and depriving us of rights arising from being unionized.
The anti-worker attitude of the RMN management transforms the struggle of the media workers in RMN Davao into one with serious political implications. The RDEU-NAFLU-KMU remains steadfast and united despite the media industry’s powerful lobby in creating a new category of workers so that they can circumvent accountability in regularizing their workers. Many of our non-unionized colleagues in the media industry have experienced massive layoffs, retrenchment, and other forms of labor injustices. In defense of our jobs and the future of our children, we will defend our union to the utmost.
This is the reason why we go on strike.
To reiterate, we hold the RMN management in gross violation of CBA provisions, thus, making our strike legal. We accuse the RMN management of union busting and our strike is our lawful remedy to combat this injustice.
We are encouraged by the overwhelming support of our colleagues and the public in our struggle. We continue to appeal for the support and vigilance of the people as we pursue this workers’ strike until victory.###