RMN Davao workers’ strike earns support from Davao media

Jul. 11, 2012

Demands for decent wages, according to the NUJP-Davao “cannot be put on hold, especially not with RMN doing good business, raking in huge profits.” 

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Tuesday’s strike by the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) Davao workers got staunch allies from various media and media groups.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Davao City Chapter (NUJP-Davao) considers “fitting” the workers’ response to refuse to go to work until their demands are answered.

The strike was a good reminder for the company that it is the workers who are the “spokes that keep their radio business going, and churning in huge profits,” said NUJP.

According to the NUJP, the employees’ wage and non-wage demands, if totaled would sum up to a measly PHP 99,000 (USD 2,322) a month, in contrast to the PHP 24 Million (USD 0.56M) that the RMN Davao station earns monthly.

Demands for decent wages, according to the NUJP-Davao “cannot be put on hold, especially not with RMN doing good business, raking in huge profits.”

NUJP-Davao reminded that “a decent wage is paramount to the media worker’s well-being.”

“Corollary to this is a condition for a free press,” it added.

Meanwhile, lawyer Jesus Dureza, Philippine Press Institute’s (PPI) corporate secretary, told Davao Today they are interested to look into RMN employees’ case and to recommend appropriate steps to address the issue.

“Although RMN, a radio network is principally within the purview of the work of the KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters ng Pilipinas), we at PPI which has for its members print media organizations, are willing to look into this and find ways how it can help resolve the matter, if it can,” Dureza said.

Ivy Tejano of Sunstar Davao said the RMN workers have all the right to stage a protest as they are not just fighting for their rights as employees, but “their dignity as members of the press, as well, who continue to serve the people despite the dangers of the job.”

Roger Balanza of the Davao newspaper Durian Post encourage the RMN Davao workers to “push case to the hilt to positive results to show they can fight for rights not only of others but also their own.”

“It would be funny if media fight for the harassed but cannot stand against those who trample press freedom and abuse media workers,” Balanza added.

The RMN Davao workers are asking for a PHP 75 (USD 1.78) raise in daily wages for the first year after any signing of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and PHP 50 (USD 1.19) for the next two years, inclusive of a rice subsidy and meal allowance.

A field reporter of RMN-Davao, at present, earns a measly wage of PHP 8,000 (USD 190) a month.

The management’s failure to implement an agreement caused the strike.

A document signed between the management and the union before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) in November last year obliged the management to start negotiations on wage increase, rice subsidy and meal allowance in May.

But this did not happen.  For the workers, this was just too serious to let pass.  It entailed a demand that would have made their lives a little better.

On Tuesday, news reporters, disc jockeys, technicians and traffic personnel of RMN Davao went to the streets and mounted strike camps at the RMN studio, AM transmitter site in Madapo hills, and FM transmitter site in Shrine hills.

CBA negotiations started early last year but fizzled out after eight sessions when the RMN management shot down any of the workers’ proposal for wage and non-wage benefits.

The failed CBA negotiations culminated with the filing of a notice of strike first filed by the employees in September last year.

The notice of strike was however withdrawn when NCMB-XI intervened and had both parties go into voluntary arbitration instead.  The said MOA was a result of this agreement.  (Cheryll D. Fiel/ davaotoday.com)

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