CA upholds ruling vs GMA: Talents are regular employees

MANILA, Philippines – In a win for media workers of broadcast giant GMA Network, the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld an earlier decision declaring over 100 of its workers as regular employees.

In a decision promulgated on Monday, November 25 and released on Thursday, November 28, the CA's former special 14th division junked the motion for reconsideration filed by GMA and its CEO Felipe L. Gozon, saying the petitioners did not present any new argument for the court to deliberate on.

"We thus find no compelling reason that warrants a modification much less a reversal of the assailed decision dated February 20, 2019. Wherefore, the instant motion for reconsideration is denied," said the CA in a decision penned by Associate Justice Zenaida Galapate Laguilles with concurrences from associate justices Mario Lopez and Gabriel Robeniol.

Why this matters. The appellate court's latest decision keeps with its previous ruling, which declared 101 media workers of GMA Network as regular employees. The network called the workers “talents” whose contracts were continually renewed over a period, some as long as 10 years.

The CA's decision in February affirmed the National Labor Relations Commission's (NLRC) decisions in 2015 and 2016, which declared and affirmed that the workers were regular employees.

In 2017, the NLRC  also ruled that the fired workers were illegally dismissed. GMA has reinstated them according to the order of the labor commission.

The workers have since organized themselves as the Talents Association of GMA or TAG. The network fired some them when the case started.

November 28, TAG welcomed the CA's latest decision, saying it only confirmed and reiterated what the appellate court and labor commission have declered – the workers are, "undisputedly regular employees of GMA Network."

"That GMA continues to contest this, with its arsenal of lawyers, only reflects its values as a company that claims its "people are our best assets," TAG said in a statement on Thursday,  November 28.

What comes next? GMA can still elevate the case to the Supreme Court.

TAG said it would welcome this scenario to present its case to the High Court and "carve out jurisprudence that can benefit not just media workers, but all contractual workers in the country."

"That we are continuing to pursue this case, with meager resources, reflects our commitment to push for better labor conditions in the media industry, no matter how long it takes, no matter where this goes. Filipino workers deserve nothing less," the group said. – Rappler.com

 

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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