Unbreakable unity means victory: statement of RMN Davao Employees Union-NAFLU-KMU on the conclusion of the strike

“The strike of the only union in the Radio Mindanao Network ended victoriously. This victory is a testament to the unbreakable unity and militant action of the RMN Davao workers throughout the forty-one day strike, and from strong local and national solidarity. Despite the inclement weather, repeated and persistent attacks against the union on-air and off-air, RMN management failed to break our union.”

This was the statement of RMN Davao Employees Union president Gina Hitgano upon the conclusion of the strike which was declared 41 days ago at exactly 1:15pm on October 2, 2014. Hitgano leads a 17-strong union of radio reporters and technicians who declared a strike due to unfair labor practice related to the non-implementation of job security provisions in their CBA.

RMN management refused to replace six (6) vacant positions with regular workers, and instead hired “talents” despite the CBA’s explicit stipulation of prioritizing regular workers. Management’s obstinate refusal to regularize contractual workers is seen as a union busting scheme designed to slowly reduce the number of the bargaining unit until its annihilation. Likewise, RMN’s devious tactic of creating positions outside of the organizational structure so that it can promote union members to the managerial level serves the similar purpose of furthering decreasing union membership.

A strong and creative campaign which lasted 41 days forced the RMN management to yield to the union’s position pertaining to the regularization of contractual workers and removed a major stumbling block towards the resumption of CBA negotiations on pertinent economic benefits for union members. Yesterday, November 13, the union and the management formally signed a compromise agreement which ended the strike.

Out of the six positions lobbied by the union for regularization, five (5) positions were successfully attained, three (3) for FM and two (2) for AM. In addition, CBA renegotiations will commence 10 days after the signing of the compromise agreement. The RMN management has also offered a much-improved counterproposal on wage increase and an increase in meal allowance which will greatly benefit the workers. Had we not waged this strike, these significant gains would not have been achieved.

“The RMN management failed to break our union. During the first strike, we fought for 9 days and won, but with a colleague yielding to the pressure, even resigning from the union. During this second strike, we fought for 41 days, and won without a single union member succumbing to economic pressure and even offers of amnesty from the management. We have proven thus far that what we have is an unbreakable union. This is our biggest victory and we will guard it relentlessly,” adds Hitgano.

The strike as a teacher

This strike became a great teacher.

It taught us that a strike will not succeed without our unity. Seventeen of us were spread across three distant strike camps/picketlines, our small number vulnerable to threat, even aggression from management, as well as individual misgivings. Had the management sensed weakness on any of the three strike camps, we would have been easily crushed.

It also affirmed the importance of education as a strong factor in elevating workers’ consciousness of their rights and solidifying commitment to fight in order to claim these rights. The strike has illustrated the need for a small union like ours to consolidate and fortify our ranks through continuous political education.

In the end, the union, proved that the slanderous statements, inflammatory actions, and harassments from management were no match for our unity, determination, and political commitment to see this struggle towards its victory.

This strike also showed us that we can rely on our comrades, our ka-manggagawa to give us inspiration and solidarity.

Strikers and their supporters unite for the first National Day of Action to support RMN Davao workers strike.

Strikers and their supporters unite for the first National Day of Action to support RMN Davao workers strike.Strikers and their supporters unite for the first National Day of Action to support RMN Davao workers strike.

We are thankful to the overwhelming support we have received from all regional chapters and organizations under the umbrella of Kilusang Mayo Uno, who conducted protest actions in order to pressure RMN management. For three consecutive nationally coordinated protests, our comrades in Manila, General Santos, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro and Cotabato City urged RMN to respect our rights and to resolve the strike. They joined our social media campaigns in calling for support for our strike.

Social media campaigns such as selfie campaign helped publicize the strike and forged solidarity with workers from across the countrySocial media campaigns such as selfie campaign helped publicize the strike and forged solidarity with workers from across the country

We are also deeply thankful to our colleagues in the media, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines who united with us in calling for an end to the repression of media workers and respect for their rights as workers.

We are also thankful to the grassroots and progressive organizations that stayed with us, perspired with us, got sick with us, fought with us, and lastly, triumphed with us. Despite the vilification campaigns against these organizations, their support only heightened our tenacity to see this strike to its successful conclusion.

Packing up and moving on to strengthen and consolidate the union.Packing up and moving on to strengthen and consolidate the union.

Any working class victory is always a partial victory, for the class contradictions between the workers and the capitalist in the workplace will always exist. There will always be struggle. But this recent victory has strengthened our resolve to be more prepared against future union-busting schemes of management. From the lessons that we have reaped from this strike, we will use them in order to more vigilantly defend our union.

This victory is a victory not only for RDEU but a victory for the working class.

Mabuhi ang hut-ong mamumuo!

Mabuhi ang tinuod, palaban ug militanteng unyonismo!

Strikers rejoice: KADAUGAN!

Strikers rejoice: KADAUGAN!

Strikers rejoice: KADAUGAN

Gina Hitgano

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