“My sympathy is with them. They are doing the right thing. Their action should awaken the management.” — Edgar Ibuyan, chairman of the City Council’s committee on labor and employment
By MARILOU AGUIRRE-TUBURAN
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Employees of the top-rating Radio Mindanao Network (RMN)- Davao radio station went “on strike” as early as 3AM, Tuesday. Technicians did not show up at the company’s transmitter sites forcing both its AM and FM stations to go off air for half day Tuesday. Intervention by the RMN management mid-day halted the paralysis and brought its AM station DXDC to go on air using a national hook up.
“The management has been tricking us. We have long demanded for the implementation of the MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) but all they want us to do is lift our Notice of Strike,” Rey Hernan Fabe, chairman of RMN Davao Employees Union (RDEU) said.
“My sympathy is with them (RMN employees). They are doing the right thing. Their action should awaken the management,” Edgar Ibuyan, chairman of the City Council’s committee on labor and employment, told Davao Today.
RMN union members were dismayed with the management’s “delaying tactics” as the latter refused to give the workers’ benefits and failed to negotiate with them despite inking a MOA on November last year.
One of the MOA’s collective points was for the RMN management to give a lump sum to its union members at the first year of negotiations. The amount depends on the employee’s length of service. The management has complied with this agreement.
Second, both parties should discuss four items during the second and third year of negotiations. The discussion on wages, rice subsidy, meal allowance and union security clause provision should have started last May, but the management, according to RDEU, did not make any move.
Last Wednesday, the management panel sat down with representatives from the RDEU, but Fabe said, “It was just plain talk. No negotiations happened.”
Fabe added the management’s newly hired lawyer, Rommel Cubelo, asked for a second round of talks on July 11 to negotiate.
“But he did not give any assurance that what we have agreed last year will be immediately implemented. He just said, they will have to revisit last negotiations’ agreed points,” he said, adding, “Definitely, we do not agree with that. We’ve already signed that agreement.”
Davao Today tried to get Cubelo’s side but to no avail.
“The right to strike is guaranteed by the Constitution,” Joffrey Suyao, Director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE)-XI, told davaotoday.com.
Suyao said he sees nothing wrong with the RMN employees exercising such right as long as they “conduct the activity peacefully.” He added that there should also be strict observance on the part of government agencies as to the guidelines issued by DOLE, like for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police personnel to follow the 50-meter radius distance from the picket line.
Suyao, who visited the striking workers on Tuesday afternoon, said, “It’s a positive sign that they are willing to negotiate with the NCMB (National Conciliation and Mediation Board).”
On Wednesday morning, representatives from RDEU and the management will sit and talk with the NCMB.
“I’m hoping for a peaceful and immediate resolution on this case,” Suyao said.
But while RMN employees are open with the talks, Fabe said, “we still have to see if the management is really sincere.” He added they expect for the higher management — like RMN station owner Eric Canoy and Human Resource Manager Carmela Cabactan — to discuss with them, otherwise, the talks would just be pointless.
He said, “This is not an easy decision because we have everything to lose in this strike, unlike the management who will only lose their profit. But this is no reason to stop our fight. We just demand what is rightfully ours. And we vow to get it.”
Councilor Ibuyan said he can only call for the expeditious resolution of the workers’ complaints, if not, the speedy implementation of the decision on their case.
Dodong Basilio, labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno’s (KMU) secretary general, said they are one with the RMN employees’ fight. “We see no other option to pressure the management but through the workers’ collective action,” he said.
KMU’s local chapters have signified their support to RDEU through financial and logistics help, and most importantly, “supporting them to achieve victory in the picket line.” (Marilou Aguirre Tuburan/davaotoday.com)World