(UPDATE 2) Over 600 employees of broadcast network TV5 will remain working, two months after union members filed a notice of strike before the DoLE (Department of Labor and Employment).
Jonathan Lintag, vice president for internal affairs of ABC Employees’ Union (ABCEU), told Yahoo the union will most likely “move on as partners with the company,” this after both parties agreed to P3,000 wage increase, as well as P20,000 signing bonus among the union members.
The wage increase was P1,000 lower than the union’s initial request.
The management led by President Noel Lorenzana, Broadcast Operations head Atty. Dan De Padua and Human Resources head Joy Aquino sat down with union officials led by Chairman Bayani Bravante Tuesday night (February 18) to reach an agreement included in their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The meeting took place in a restaurant near the network’s new broadcast complex on Reliance Street, Mandaluyong City. It lasted almost six hours.
Both parties have signed the agreement Wednesday (February 19) which included "employees’ improved benefits – i.e., increased wages, more medical and hospitalization benefits, a rebuilding fund, etc. – and ensures the network’s future growth."
“We are very happy that we can now move forward and continue a productive partnership with our employees. We are all in this as one company, one team. This is why we really need to work together for the common goal of helping TV5 become the game-changing network we all want it to be," Lorenzana said in a statement.
Before the meeting, the union members overwhelmingly voted in favor of going on strike—which would paralyze operations of the struggling network. The 600-strong union members form one third of TV5’s manpower.
“We’re hoping on the part of the union to settle this dispute. We’ll we make sure that both parties would benefit from the meeting that had occurred last night,” Lintag said.
It is unclear if the non-union members would also get a wage increase.
Changing times, multimillion talents
In November, the ABCEU fought for a wage increase at the time the network migrated broadcast operations from its decades-old complex in Novaliches, Quezon City to a multi-billion peso media center in Mandaluyong City.
The shift would compel employees to adjust to the new business district’s higher cost of living.
The union officials also argued that while they are supportive of network upgrades, the network’s workforce also deserves the attention its high-paying talents enjoy.
Over the past four years, the Kapatid Network has signed up dozens of high-profile celebrities like Sharon Cuneta, Nora Aunor, Derek Ramsay, Willie Revillame and Aga Muhlach, among others.
The said celebrities were said to have received huge paychecks from the Manuel V. Pangilinan-led network in order to make the move. For instance, former ABS-CBN star Sharon Cuneta signed up in November 2011 with a P1 billion price tag. Network insiders, however, peg the value of the five-year contract at P600 million.
To date, network finances remain bleeding despite drastic top-level management shakeups and program launches. TV5 lost a total of P6.8 billion from 2011 to the first half of 2012.