The International Federation of Journalists today called on the Philippine government and the National Labor Relations Commission to reopen immediately the Bombo Radyo Tacloban radio station and to order the recognition of the radio’s trade union by its management.
On 11 March, management was informed about the union’s existence and voluntary cooperation was sought. The following day, management issued the union workers with three options; either the union withdraws its registration; or the union’s President and executive board members resign; or the entire station will be closed.
The union members refused all options. With orders from the station owner, the station was shut down a few hours later. Union members were banned from entering the premises, even for collecting their personal belongings.
After attempts at mediation with the National Mediation and Conciliation Board (NMCB), an option to participate in voluntary arbitration was refused by the station owner. The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Commission for union busting, illegal termination, illegal lockout and other issues on 24 March. Union members picketed and several members were charged with illegal picketing, libel and damage
“The management of Bombo Radyo Tacloban must respect the journalists’ rights to press freedom and cannot manipulate them by dismantling their legal right to form a trade union,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.
Both the cases (the illegal picketing charges and the case for union busting) are now pending trial. The union reports death threats against its officers, which have been reported to the police. “The Philippine authorities must ensure that journalists and media workers in the Philippines can carry out their work without fear or persecution, and in a climate of safety and press freedom”, said White. We will support the legal fight for these rights.
The IFJ calls on its member union in the Philippines, the National Union of Journalists of The Philippines (NUJP) to support these journalists and also says that in accordance with the fundamentals of journalistic labour rights and press freedom, all charges must be dropped.
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The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries