MANILA, Philippines – Workers of TV5 accused the management of trying to weaken the union’s fight against contractualization by dismissing 98 employees on Friday, February 24.
The TV5 Employees Union pointed out the management initially said the lay-off was due to financial losses, but the memorandum issued to the affected rank-and-file employees, supervisors, and managers stated they were not fit for the job.
It said the reason cited in the memo was questionable because most of them had been working for the network for more than 10 years.
Meanwhile, Manuel Panglinan, whose MediaQuest Holdings Incorporated operates TV5, gave assurances on Monday, February 27, “that’s the last” lay-off at the Kapatid Network.
TV5’s manpower is now down to 600, he said, and to reduce this further would mean “cutting to the bone and that is not good.”
In 2016, the workers and the management negotiated for better salary, security of tenure, and benefits.
Can MPIC come in?
“Pangunahin na layunin [ng TV5] ay huwag mabawasan ang kanyang tubo at higit pa itong palakihin sa anyo ng pagtatanggal ng regular na manggagawa at pagpapatupad ng kontraktwalisasyon. Magagawa lamang niya ito kung pahinain niya ang ating unyon na tanging sandigan ng manggagawang inaapi at sukdulan pang buwagin ito,”
(The main objective of TV5 is to keep intact and increase its profit by terminating regular employees and implementing contractualization. It can only do this if they weaken and eventually dismantle our union, which is the only support of mistreated workers.)
The union said among those who were dismissed last Friday were 34 assistant cameramen, 8 cameramen, and 3 reporters. Some of them only learned of their dismissal either during a hasrily-called meeting with the management or when they were barred by the guards from entering the network’s compound.
If the network is really losing money, the union said, Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investment Corporation (MPIC) could surely help.
“Ibig sabihin, maaari niya itong isalba o tulungan gamit ang ibang kumpanya na pag-aari niya na may limpak-limpak na tubo hanggang sa ganap na pagbangon nito,” the union said. “Kapag para sa kanyang pakinabang kaya niyang gumawa ng paraan, pero bakit ang pagsalba sa manggagawa hindi niya magawa? Hindi parehas ang laban.”
(This means that he can save or help the network by using the enormous profits of his other companies. Why is it that he can find ways when he stands to benefit, but doesn’t lift a finger to save the workers? It is unfair.).
‘New content strategy’
Pangilinan said while the layoffs were “a painful experience,” the network had to carry it out. “We can only do the best we can under the circumstances.”
The choices, he said, were to “shut down the station or keep it alive. So, we have to save as many as we can.”
Moving forward, TV5 has a “whole new content strategy” that will move away from the types of shows traditionally produced by networks. “News will still be there, sports content will still be there, but we are expanding it. There will be some entertainment to be produced,” Pangilinan said.
With the changes TV5 is expected to reduce its losses in 2017 and 2019, “such that by 2019 we will be debt free,” said Pangilinan. “Losses are starting to decline now.” – Rappler.com