DAVAO CITY — Broadcasters and workers here of a national radio network went on their second labor strike Thursday, after several conciliation meetings failed.

Gina Hitgano, president of the Radio Mindanao Network-Davao Employees Union (RDEU) said they simultaneously seized control of the network’s AM and FM antenna stations and padlocked the main company office at 1:00 pm Thursday after the failure of 17 negotiations with the management.

RDEU went on strike in 2012 to negotiate on the economic terms of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

In the CBA, the union notched a P1.3 million “economic package” and the management agreed to grant a P40 per day wage hike on the 2nd year and P20 per day on the 3rd year of the CBA, or an increase of P1, 040 monthly for 2012 and P1,560 monthly for 2013.

“But the management did not honor some provisions of the agreement,” said Hitgano.

The union filed the Notice of Strike before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board on August 11 this year and conducted a strike balloting on August 25, which came out with a strike vote.

Though legally allowed to launch their strike on September 2, the union gave “almost a month grace period for negotiations with management.”

“Unfortunately we were not able to agree on economic points,” said Hitgano.

Hitgano said that their among their complaints were “violation of job security clauses and contractualization of workers.”

“The management hired three AM radio and four FM radio workers under a talent contract which they only renew every five months instead of regularizing them,” she said.

Atty. Joffrey Suyao, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) XI, visited the striking radio workers 3:00 pm Thursday.

Suyao said it “is the constitutional  right of workers to conduct a strike.”

“We are here so that this will not become a stand-off, so will try to bring the management and the workers back to the negotiating table,” he said.

Suyao said police presence is nomal at 50 meters beyond the strike area.

“They are only to come inside the 50 meters if there is commotion,” he said.

Suyao did not elaborate if this was the first strike in the region as “there are still cases under mediation.”

President Benigno Aquino Jr, III in his state of the nation address quoted data from the NCMB which is tasked to negotiate between company management and workers, that since 2010 less than 10 strikes are launched each year.

Aquino said that out of 152 “notices of strike and lockout in 2013, only one was launched.”

Labor group said Aquino gave “wrong information on strike data” and “mocked the seriousness of the right to strike” in his 5th state of the nation address (Sona) to “salvage an already ostracized presidency”. (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)

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