ABS-CBN told lawmakers that that company strives hard to prioritize the welfare of its workers and continuously seeks to provide benefits beyond what is mandated by law.
“We take the best care of our workers in a way that allows the company to continuously be competitive and sustainable po,” ABS-CBN head of transformation Mark Nepomuceno said on Tuesday (June 30) at the network’s franchise hearing in Congress.
He added that there is constant increase in the number of benefits given to project workers. Some of these non-statutory benefits are rice subsidy, cash gift equivalent to 13th month pay, contingency loans, life insurance, Christmas basket or gift check, employee stock purchase plan, hospitalization insurance which covers a number of dependents, 30-day accident leave, bonus when the company exceeds targets, and optional retirement plan.
Meanwhile, ABS-CBN chief operating officer for broadcast Cory Vidanes explained that the network, just like the other media companies, employs project and program workers due to the “uniqueness” of the industry.
“Yung uniqueness po ng industry namin ay dahil walang program po that stays on the air forever, lahat ng programa po talaga ay may simula at may katapusan. Even in the US, most are freelancers po, it’s really the nature of the industry,” she pointed out.
The network also expressed its willingness to review positions that deserve to be regularized and instigate changes accordingly.
“We are willing to review which positions in the company deserve to be regular and hopefully, gradually implement these changes overtime,” ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak said. “And for those positions that cannot be regularized, our goal is to make sure that project employees and regular employees at some point in time have an identical set of benefits.”
“More than anything else, our people is the most responsible for the success of ABS-CBN. We, at all times, put their welfare ahead of everything,” he said.
In the same hearing, ABS-CBN Rank and File Union president Jon Villanueva said the network endeavors to manage the workers’ welfare with fairness.
“Masasabi ko na patas naman sa amin ang pamamalakad ng ABS-CBN. In fact po, wala naman po kaming reklamo sa NLRC. Lahat po ng problema namin sa loob ay naresolve sa pag-uusap,” he asserted.
Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite urged fellow lawmakers to not focus on the number of ABS-CBN workers and instead prioritize saving jobs especially in the midst of a health crisis.
“If we do not allow the continued operation of ABS-CBN, 4,000, no, 11,000, or whatever number—let’s not quibble with the number—one job loss, especially in this time of pandemic, is one job lost too many,” he said.