Asia-Pacific Unions Demand Philippines Broadcaster End Unfair Practices

 

Sham contracting schemes in the Philippines and media management practices that

attempt to deny journalists and media workers their right to fair and secure

working conditions were resoundingly condemned by 38 international and national

unions and associations that met in Bali,

Indonesia, this

week.

 

Global

union federations the International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific, UNI Global Union and UNI-APRO,

UNI-MEI (Media, Entertainment and Arts) and UNI Graphical & Packaging, and their

affiliates and associates across Asia-Pacific called on media employers in the Philippines

to end violations of worker’s rights to decent and secure working conditions, including

efforts to prevent workers from joining unions.

 

Meeting

on September 29-30, unions and

journalists’ associations from Afghanistan

to the Pacific expressed deep concerns in particular about unfair practices at Philippine

broadcaster ABS-CBN.

 

They

requested the IFJ and UNI seek the support of the International

Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to

investigate ABS-CBN’s treatment of workers.

 

The meeting was informed that ABS-CBN

is denying job security and fair working conditions to professional, loyal and

committed members of its personnel by sacking workers, seeking to enforce

irregular contracts, and pressuring workers to sign confidentiality clauses

that require they not join a union.

 

Asia-Pacific

affiliates and associates of the IFJ and UNI called for ABS-CBN to immediately

offer regularised employment for long-standing staff, free of bonds or

confidentiality clauses that undermine their workers’ right to free

association.

 

The

meeting noted that ABS-CBN claims about 1600 personnel in a pool of workers

within the network, known as Internal

Job Market (IJM), are not regular employees. ABS-CBN says this applies even for

people who have worked with the company for many years, the meeting was told.

 

Under the system, 112 ABS-CBN

contracted personnel have been terminated since June 2010. The same scheme is

utilised to deny secure contracts, pressure workers to accept irregular

contracts and unfair conditions, and sign clauses stating they not join a

union.

 

The Bali meeting’s delegates called

on ABS-CBN to abide by Philippines

law, Article 280 of the Labor Code, under which individuals are entitled to

regularised work contracts granting them security in their employment status

after six months of employment with one company.

 

“We express deep concern that at

least 11 personnel who have worked with ABS-CBN for many years, and who have

requested secure contracts, have been denied regularisation and associated

benefits,” a unanimously endorsed meeting resolution stated.

 

“We note that

ABS-CBN’s efforts

to block workers from joining a union directly contravenes their right to free

association, including the right to form and join trade unions, enshrined in

the Philippines Labor Code as well as Article 22 of the International

Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Philippines has signed and

ratified.”

 

IFJ Asia-Pacific and UNI will

approach the ITUC for support to

encourage ABS-CBN to:

 

  1. Recognise the IJM workers’ union, in accordance with Philippine labour laws.
  2. Offer regular employment to all employees under the IJM system.
  3. Reinstate the 112 staff who have been arbitrarily dismissed.
  4. Abide by Philippine law in not obstructing workers’ right to belong to a union and collectively bargain.

 

The IFJ, UNI and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) will keep their members and affiliates

informed of the situation at ABS-CBN, and the response of the management to the

regional request for an end to unfair practices.

 

The organisations endorsing this action

in Bali are as follows:

 

  1. International Federation of Journalists Asia-Pacific
  2. UNI Global Union
  3. UNI Media, Entertainment & Arts
  4. UNI Graphical & Packaging
  5. UNI APRO
  6. Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association
  7. Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, Indonesia
  8. All India Newspaper Employees’ Federation
  9. Asosiasi Serikat Pekerja Indonesia
  10. Association of Taiwan Journalists
  11. Bangkok Post LU
  12. Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists
  13. Engineering, Printing, and Manufacturing Union, New Zealand
  14. Federation of Independent Media Workers’ Unions, Indonesia
  15. Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka
  16. Hong Kong Journalists’ Association
  17. Indian Journalists’ Union
  18. Journalists’ Association of Korea
  19. Maldives Journalists’ Association
  20. Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, Australia
  21. Maharashtra Media Employees’ Union
  22. National Alliance of Broadcasting Unions, Philippines
  23. National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
  24. National Union of Journalists, India
  25. National Union of Journalists, Malaysia
  26. National Union of Media Workers, Korea
  27. National Union of Newspaper Workers, Malaysia
  28. Nepal Press Union
  29. Nepal Television Employees’ Association
  30. New Zealand Public Service Association             
  31. Pacific Freedom Forum, Pacific Islands
  32. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists
  33. Shimbun Roren - Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Unions
  34. Sindicato dos Jornalistas de Timor Leste
  35. Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association
  36. System Television Malaysia Berhad Employees Union - KSKSTMB  
  37. Timor Lorosae Journalists’ Association
  38. Union of Public Services, Nepal

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide

 

Find the IFJ

on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific