On April 28, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued Labor Advisory No. 4 Series of 2016 or the “Working Condition in the Movie and Television Industry” wherein it stated, among others, the allowable maximum working hours for industry talents and workers.
DOLE’s advisory established an eight-hour maximum workday for newscasters/anchors, managers, reporters, news correspondent, cameramen, production assistants, teleprompter operators, VTR personnel and other individuals employed in a network or production, in any 24-hour work period.
The decision, however, compelled media conglomerate ABS-CBN to note via a press statement, “It comes as a complete surprise that DOLE would mandate changes without completing consultations.”
Sent by Corporate Communications Head Kane Ochoa to The Manila Times, the statement continued, “The day that the DOLE issued the advisory was the same day (April 26) it hurriedly met with broadcast management representatives—a meeting attended only by ABS-CBN—to request data that would help them understand the TV industry.
“In that same meeting, DOLE announced it would conduct site visits in the first week of May and draft a Department Order in the second week of May, which would then be presented to industry stakeholders for comment,” the statement continued.
In releasing the statement, the network clarified that it is not against steps of improving the industry’s working conditions.
“ABS-CBN is not against improving the working conditions of everyone in the industry, but believes that any meaningful change must factor in the ideas and opinions of stakeholders and field experts for it to protect both the welfare of our workers and the sustainability of the industry. For this to happen, a crucial process would be in-depth consultations with all parties.
“But this did not happen when the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) suddenly issued a labor advisory defining the working conditions in the movie and television industry despite the ongoing meetings with broadcast management and workers. ABS-CBN maintains that due process must be followed to ensure that the agreement will be beneficial for industry workers and talents and viable for the industry.”
With the sudden release of advisory that orders strict compliance, ABS-CBN finds the company in a difficult situation, and has been forced to seek a TRO on DOLE’s directive.
“In view of this and since the validity of the advisory is questionable, ABS-CBN is constrained to seek a temporary restraining order from the Regional Trial Courts of Quezon City.”