RMN employees dismayed with management’s refusal to grant benefits, failure to negotiate

Jul. 07, 2012

“What we’ve asked was very modest, and yet the management was too stingy to give in to the employees’ rightful demands,” Rey Hernan Fabe, President, RMN Davao Employees Union

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Dismayed journalists and workers of the top rating Radio Mindanao Network DXDC radio station here held a picket rally to denounce the company’s failure to negotiate with them and to grant a package of benefits contained in a memorandum of agreement.

The group is also poised to hold a crippling strike should the management continue to ignore their demands.

“What we’ve asked was very modest, and yet the management was too stingy to give in to the employees’ rightful demands,” Rey Hernan Fabe, RMN reporter and also president of the RMN Davao Employees Union (RDEU), told Davao Today.

Fabe said on Wednesday, after a number of postponed meetings, lawyer Cubillo and Bong Bastes, one of RMN’s area managers in Mindanao finally met with them at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.

“Our almost 10-hour talk was a failure.  The management panel wants us to lift our Notice of Strike and review the provisions we already agreed last year.  What they did was an outright non-implementation of our agreement,” a dismayed Fabe said.

Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations last year between the union and management ended with a deadlock as the management refused to grant wage increases.  The two parties settled in a Voluntary Arbitration scheme, inking a Memorandum of Agreement instead of concluding a CBA in November last year.

The MOA stated that for the first year, union members will be given a graduated lump sum of PHP 10,000 (USD 239) for those employed more than five years and PHP 6,000 (USD 143.5) for those employed less than five years.  Supposedly by May this year, the RMN management and RDEU will negotiate to discuss the proposed PHP 75 (USD 1.79) wage increase, rice subsidy, meal allowance and the proposed close shop provision.

While the RMN management granted the lump sum, it did not implement other provisions in the MOA; it also did not initiate the continuation of the negotiations.  Faced with this latest obstacle, the RDEU filed a notice of strike citing the company’s refusal to bargain last month.

“We should have started the discussion on wage increase, among others, last May.  But no negotiations happened,” Fabe said.  “This only shows the management’s insincerity to its employees,” he added.

Former DXDC station manager Dodong Solis said RMN employees and union members “are not dumb; they can clearly see what the management is doing to them.”

Solis, also an officer of the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines-Davao, said  “For a reasonable length of time, the workers negotiated in good faith with the management, believing the latter is professional in dealing with them under a fair and legal process but RMN’s insincerity was exposed.  Clearly, it engages in delaying tactics, waiting for the perfect time to bust the union.”

Solis himself was dismissed by the management in August 2010 on grounds of “disobedience and loss of trust and confidence.” Solis filed a case of illegal dismissal and won; the case is now sitting at the Court of Appeals.

For his part, Fabe scoffed the management’s “anti-worker” stance saying, “Without the employees, RMN would never have made it to the top.  But look at what it’s doing to us?”

Dodong Basilio of the National Federation of Labor Union, where the RDEU is affiliated, said the RMN management “has clearly violated” the MOA and collective bargaining.

“What the management did was to do surface bargaining — a token move to appease the anger of the workers so that they could get away with ignoring the MOA,” Basilio said.  (Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/davaotoday.com)

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