Labor group urges lawmakers to pass 'pro-worker' ABS-CBN franchise

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2020 03:39 PM

Labor group urges lawmakers to pass 'pro-worker' ABS-CBN franchise 1
Employees and supporters of ABS-CBN Corp. gather in front of the network's headquarters in Quezon City on Feb. 21, 2020 to show support and call on congress to renew the broadcaster's franchise. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — Putting the jobs of 11,000 ABS-CBN workers at risk during the coronavirus pandemic is "immoral and inhumane", a labor group said Tuesday as it urged lawmakers to approve a fresh franchise for the network with "pro-worker" provisions. 

The franchise should recognize workers' "rights to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with the law," said Benjamin Miguel Alvero, campaign officer of the labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO). 

ABS-CBN should also "allocate at least 2 seats in the board of directors to the workers with one of these being assigned to a woman," he said. 

"Ang magkaroon ng aabot sa 11,000 manggagawa na humaharap ng pangamba sa kanilang kabuhayan sa gitna ng isang pandemya ay sa aming pananaw, isang imoral, hindi makatao at simpleng maling pangyayari," Alvero told lawmakers. 

(To have 11,000 workers who are worried about their livelihood in the middle of a pandemic is, in our view, immoral, inhuman and simply wrong.) 

"Hindi lang po kami humihingi ng simpleng pag-renew ng prangkisa ng ABS-CBN. Ang amin pong mungkahi bilang representante ng mga manggagawa ay ang pag-apruba ng mas magandang bersyon -- isang bersyon na clearly pro-worker, sumusunod sa mga batas at kumikilala sa dekadang serbisyo ng mga manggagawa," he added. 
(We are not only asking for a simple renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise. Our suggestion as a representative of workers is the approval of a better version that is clearly pro-worker, obeys the laws ,and recognizes the decades-long service of its workers.) 

The proposed provisions can serve as a "model" for the broadcast industry, he said. 

ABS-CBN's labor compliance is among the issues raised in its application for a franchise, almost 2 months after regulators stopped its free television and radio broadcast on May 5, a day after its license expired. 

The media outfit is "fully compliant" with Philippine labor standards following a routine inspection by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), an official earlier said. is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp. 

Watch the hearing here: 

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