Friday, October 1, 2010

Asia-Pacific Unions Demand Philippines Broadcaster End Unfair Practices

Asia-Pacific Unions Demand Philippines Broadcaster End Unfair Practices

Islamabad: Oct 1:- 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 37 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 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
  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. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists
  32. Shimbun Roren - Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Unions
  33. Sindicato dos Jornalistas de Timor Leste
  34. Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association
  35. System Television Malaysia Berhad Employees Union - KSKSTMB
  36. Timor Lorosae Journalists’ Association
  37. 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

Shamsul Islam Naz
Secretary General
Cellular +92(0)300 8665523

+92(0)321 8665523

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