GMA job cuts to include headquarters?

Chrisee Dela Paz
The network chief says GMA-7 ‘will save millions of pesos' in its streamlining policy

GMA will continue its manpower reduction program to cover its headquarters in Manila after laying off several workers in its regional offices. File photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – After laying off employees in its regional offices, GMA Network, Incorporated said it will likely continue the process in its headquarters in Quezon City to reduce operational costs and ensure competitiveness.

“We’re done with regional offices, but here in the main office, we still have to know by how many; we’re constantly reviewing,” GMA President and Chief Executive Officer Felipe Gozon told reporters in a briefing Thursday, May 14 when asked if its manpower reduction program is still ongoing.

In April, contracts of workers in GMA-7’s regional offices in Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, and two other cities were terminated. Some reports said this involved the sacking of at least a hundred reporters, video cameramen, and drivers who were an essential part of the network’s newsgathering team.

Gozon, however, did not say how many were laid off in its regional stations and how much did the network save as a result.

Continuing process

Asked if the same will happen to its Manila office, the chief of GMA-7 replied: “It’s a continuing process,” noting that the company “will save millions of pesos” due to lower overhead cost.

Gozon said that his network gained “big savings” from the layoffs in regional stations.

Lugi kami eh. Wala nang ratings eh. In short, wala nang silbi. Lahat naman ng managers ay ginagawa ito. Kung hahayaan mo lang, eh ‘di maba-bankrupt ka. (We were losing money. Ratings were low. In short, there’s no use. All managers do this. If you let this happen, you’ll be bankrupt),” he explained.

In a statement in April, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) regarded the network’s claim of “strategic streamlining” to justify the layoffs as a “play on words” that “belies the grim reality that almost all employees in regional news desks of the network will lose their jobs.”

NUJP said the network “is not on the brink of bankruptcy with no recourse but to let go of its employees to stay afloat.”

Under the Constitution, workers are guaranteed security of tenure or the right against termination without just cause and due process.

In 2014, GMA saw its bottom line shrink by 40% to P1.01 billion ($22.67 million) due to the lack of political advertisements that lifted its income a year before, during the 2013 elections.

But in the first quarter of the year, its net income jumped 25% to P408 million ($9.15 million), from P326 million ($7.31 million) a year ago.

Its revenues also went up by 5% to P3.01 billion ($67.50 million) from P2.85 billion ($63.91 million).

The chief of the country’s second largest broadcaster by market value said: “Our performance in the first quarter is a good indication that 2015 will be a much better year for our company.” – Rappler.com

$1 = P44.59