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Labor group: Appeals court ruling on GMA labor case 'proves' fighting for job security is not wrong
In this file photo from June 2015, members and supporters of Talents Association of GMA picket in front of the network's office in Quezon City.
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Labor group: Appeals court ruling on GMA labor case 'proves' fighting for job security is not wrong

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - February 26, 2020 - 3:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals ruling ordering the reinstatement of 51 media workers and the release of their back pay after they were fired for joining a protest shows that “there is nothing wrong” in fighting for decent and secure jobs, a labor group said on Wednesday.

Defend Jobs Philippines welcomed the appeals’ court ruling that declared as regular employees 51 talents of GMA Network who were fired or whose contracts were not renewed for holding a picket outside the network in protest of the company’s “harassment.”

The petitioners filed an illegal dismissal case against the network for sacking them in 2015 for holding a rally outside the company’s office and not reporting for work for several days.

Thadeus Ifurung, Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson, said that the CA ruling “only proves to us that there is nothing wrong and there is nothing to fear to struggle for our rights for secured and decent jobs.”

The CA’s 15th Division, in a decision dated February 19 but released Tuesday, ordered the 51 reinstated and held that they are entitled to “reinstatement without loss of seniority rights, full backwages inclusive of allowance, and any and all benefit employees of GMA receives.”

'An inspiration for other media, entertainment workers'

Iffurung added that the CA decision is a “breath of fresh air” and an “inspiration” for other media and entertainment workers still fighting for regularization, higher wages, better benefits, safe workplaces and right to self-organization.

 “The recent victory of GMA workers in their battle for regularization, security of tenure, benefits and unfair labor practices must serve as a precedent and at the same time warning to media firms and other companies not to disregard their workers [sic] rights and welfare,” Ifurung also said.

He expressed hope that the ruling will be a “wake-up call” to other media and entertainment companies to “do what is right for their workers and employees.”

‘Side with media workers’

Defend Jobs Philippines also stood by workers of ABS-CBN and joined journalists in calling for the dismissal of Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto plea questioning the legislative franchise of the media giant.

Defend Jobs Philippines joined the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in holding a protest before the SC, while the Justices held their full court session.

The labor group urged the tribunal to rule in favor of 11,000 workers of ABS-CBN.

Ifurung said that Calida’s quo warranto petition and plea for gag order are “only meant to silence ABS-CBN, revoke its franchise and leave thousands of its workers and employees jobless.”

He added: “Now is the best time for our SC justices to prove their independence to the executive and legsilative branches of our bureaucracy and that they will not be dictated by political patronages from President [Rodrigo] Duterte and his minions like Calida among others.”

The SC reset tackling Calida’s petition against ABS-CBN to March 10

ABS-CBN ABS-CBN FRANCHISE COURT OF APPEALS GMA NETWORK LABOR PRESS FREEDOM SUPREME COURT
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