By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition has called on the House of Representatives to deliberate with dispatch the bill on the franchise of ABS-CBN to avert the retrenchment of thousands of workers of the broadcast network.
“We urge Congress not to further delay the ongoing initiative. Its approval with deliberate speed is good for the country and the workers,” the group said in a statement.
The labor group also said that the approval of ABS CBN’s franchise will avert the employment termination of more than 11,000 workers and prevent the starvation of their dependent families in the midst of a pandemic.
Nagkaisa said people also need accurate and timely information during this time of national health crisis due to COVID-19.
“The nationwide network of ABS-CBN can help in the dissemination of crucial and timely information in all nooks and corners of the country,” said the group.
Nagkaisa urged 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 in decision making.
It also called 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 workers, participation in decision-making, and just share in the fruits of production.
“It entails the regularization by ABS-CBN of a portion of its workforce who [have been] in precarious and contractual status for several years now,” said Nagkaisa.
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 in policy and decision making, and on respect for trade union and workers’ rights.
A bill granting provisional franchise to ABS-CBN will be subject for congressional deliberation on May 26.