Davao City – Support has kept on coming for members of the RMN Davao Employees Union (RDEU) who are on their 10th day of strike today.
Last night, members of the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines Davao Chapter visited the strike camp situated outside Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) Davao station along Anda street and prepared a solidarity dinner for the radio workers.
The strike which started last October 2 was launched after the management failed to implement job security provisions agreed in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Read related story here: Radio station workers in Davao City goes on strike
Members from various radio stations, online and print media delivered their solidarity speeches before the workers.
“We believe that the demands of the strikers are more than labor issues. Ignoring their welfare is equivalent to ignoring public interest because they serve as the voice of the public,” said Grace Uddin, station manager of 94.7 One Radio News FM in Davao.
While columnist and writer Margarita “Ging-ging” Valle believes that “it is the responsibility of fellow journalists to protect each other and pursue freedom of the press at all cost.”
“We could not continue doing our obligation if in our midst there are fellow media practitioners who are suffering because their basic rights are violated,” she said.
Media and communication personalities from national organizations have also expressed their support for the radio workers through video messages.
Luis Teodoro, head of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said that genuine unionism is needed by the media sector to protect the rights of the media workers.
“That’s why you should continue to fight for your right to unionize and for your economic rights. That will also help you to be efficient in your work as reporters,” Teodoro said.
Multi-awarded playwright and director Bonifacio Ilagan said that the news regarding the strike of the RMN Davao workers has already reached Manila and is very much supported by various groups from the alternative media.
“We support the fight of the RMN Davao workers for their right to unionize and for a favorable working condition,” Ilagan said.
“I support the fight of RMN Union Davao because its workers embody the continued suffering of the workers sector and this should also be supported by the public because we need genuine emancipation of the workers and the labor sector in our country,” said the dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, Dr. Rolando Tolentino.
Recently, the RDEU condemned the management for resorting to runaway shop by operating from an undisclosed location.
The Labor Code of the Philippines defines run-away shop as “an industrial plant moved by its owners from one location to another to escape union labor regulations or state laws.”
They also condemned the verbal attacks hurled against the union on-air by some of their station announcers.
Former manager of RMN Davao, Maximo Solis said that the management’s hand in attacking the union definitely affects the station’s image in the public.
“The manager of the station is also an employee of Mr. Canoy, the owner of RMN Davao and he should feel for the workers. But you can hear them attack their fellow workers on-air. We can see now that this station lacks credibility and integrity,” he said.
While, NUJP Davao Chairperson Jessie Casalda expressed his sadness for his former colleagues in RMN Davao. Casalda was the former news director of RMN Davao and worked there for seven years.
“For more than seven years, we worked very hard to be number one. We lacked sleep then. It hurts me to see that my fellow workers are now in this dire condition. Maybe during our time, one thing was always present and that was respect,” he said.
Casalda said that he is proud to say that during their time, RMN Davao consistently stayed on the number one spot in surveys.
“The fight of the RDEU for their rights is not just their union’s fight. It also a fight for all the journalists, media workers who are exploited in their workplace. Because there is no real press freedom if the journalists live in fear, poverty and exploitation,” Casalda said.(davaotoday.com)