July 03 2020
The Ninth Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Zamboanga City dismissed for lack of merit the regularization case filed by six (6) RGMA transmitter technicians against RGMA Network, Inc. and GMA Network.
The six technicians, who are assigned at GMA’s relay stations in Zamboanga and Pagadian, filed an amended complaint against the respondents for unfair labor practice and entitlement to Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) benefits for the period 2017 to 2019 as they claim to be employees of GMA.
In the February 28, 2020 decision, however, Executive Labor Arbiter Rhett Julius J. Plagata found that RGMA is not a labor-only contractor as it had substantial capital, which is more than the minimum P5 million set by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order No. 174-17 for job contractors. In addition, RGMA was granted a legislative franchise under R.A. No. 8608 to own, manage, and operate radio and television station throughout the Philippines.
It was also stated that GMA and RGMA entered into a Provincial TV Relay Management Agreement where RGMA undertook to operate, maintain, and service GMA’s television facilities. Under the said agreement, “RGMA shall have exclusive discretion in the selection, hiring, engagement, discipline, and discharge of its employees, and that RGMA’s employees are not in any manner considered as employees of GMA.”
Given these circumstances, which prove that RGMA is not a labor-only contractor and that it has been conducting its own independent business, the labor arbiter found that there is no ground to hold that the complainants are employees of GMA as they are clearly the employees of RGMA. They cannot be covered by the CBA for GMA employees and it also necessarily follows that RGMA and GMA cannot be held liable for unfair labor practice.