Friday, May 22, 2020

Labor group Calls on the House to Pass ABS-CBN Franchise with Deliberate Speed, Ensure Workers' Rights Embedded in said Franchise

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition calls on the House of Representatives to deliberate with dispatch its recalled bill on ABS-CBN as soon as possible to avert the retrenchment of 11,000 workers and to give timely and critical information to the general public in this national health emergency caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.

Initially rolling in the House of Representatives was a bill granting provisional franchise to ABS-CBN which was recalled and will be subject for congressional deliberation on May 26.

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition urges the House not to exhaust the last six (6) days left of its session and wait for the next session in July as the workers' and their families' future is getting bleaker and direr as Congress continue to drag its feet for whatever reason of its own.

The next session of Congress will begin in the last week ofJuly 2020. But ABS-CBN already have a warning that it might be forced to retrench its employees by August.

We urge Congress not to further delay, the on-ongoing initiative. Its approval with deliberate speed is good for the country and the workers.

Firstly, the approval of the franchise will avert the termination of more than 11,000 workers from employment and prevent the starvation of their dependent families in the midst of a pandemic.

Secondly, in this time of national health crisis, our people need accurate and timely information to fight an unseen enemy known as Covid 19 and the nationwide network of ABS-CBN can help in the dissemination of crucial and timely information in all nooks and corners of the country.

Nagkaisa urges both the House and the Senate to immediately enact it into a law in the form of a pro-workers' franchise for the benefit of more than 11,000 workers and the general public.

ABS-CBN is engaged in a radio-TV-broadcasting business affected with public interest. The phrase "affected with public interest" means that an industry is subject to control for the public good subject to the exercise of the police power.

In its letter to Senate President Tito Sotto III and Speaker Alan Cayetano, the biggest labor Coalition in the country said that a legislative franchise to operate said business is imbued with public interest and involves an exercise of police power. In this regard, the legislature as the guardian of workers and society, it is presumed to advance the interest of workers and society.

In the exercise of police power and to uphold social justice, the Nagkaisa urges Congress to include in the new franchise -- as well as other legislative franchises to be passed -- the provisions on democratization of ownership like shares of stocks be offered to the public; workers be given equity and representation to decision making.

Nagkaisa also calls for respect and protection of workers' security of tenure, rights to self-organization, collective bargaining and concerted activities including the right to strike in accordance with law and other constitutional rights such as humane condition of worker, participation to decision-making and just share in the fruits of production.

It entails the regularization by ABS-CBN of portion of its workforce who are in precarious and contractual status for several years now.

Nagkaisa looks forward to the Congressional leaders to usher and expedite the passage of and ABS-CBN pro-workers' francise.

Nagkaisa had sent its legislative proposal to both the Senate and the House. The draft includes provisions on democratization of ownership, on workers' equity and representation to policy and decision making and on respect for trade union and workers' rights to the Senate and the House on pro-workers' ABS-CBN. franchise.

Nagkaisa also suggested to include its pro-workers' proposal to other earlier granted legislative franchises in the form of amendments on these franchises as Congress can do so at its own discretion.

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