TRO filed to stop DOLE guidelines on work hours in show biz industry
Broadcast network ABS-CBN has filed a petition for a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the implementation of the labor department advisory providing the guidelines on work hours in the movie and television industry.
In a petition filed with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court last Tuesday, ABS-CBN and its cable TV production subsidiary Creative Programs Inc. (CPI) questioned the validity of Labor Advisory 04-2016 issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on April 26.
It claimed that Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz issued the advisory “with undue haste and without consulting” key industry players.
The network said that consultations were not completed when the DOLE “suddenly issued the labor advisory…despite the ongoing meetings with broadcast management and workers.”
It pointed out that the advisory was issued on the very day the [DOLE] “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 the same meeting, the DOLE announced that it would conduct site visits in the first week of May, then draft a department order, which would then be presented to industry stakeholders for comment.
The petition also described the assailed labor advisory as the DOLE’s latest “public relations gambit…[to] grandstand and project a sham pro-labor image in time for Labor Day.”
The network claimed that the DOLE’s move to “regulate” even non-employees, such as independent contractors, “is a clear case of executive overreach.”
Once implemented, the provisions of the DOLE advisory would interfere with the network’s existing contracts with its employees or workers, as well as its independent contractors, the petition stated.
ABS-CBN, in a statement sent to the Inquirer, however, stressed that it “has always championed and supported any development, whether initiated by the DOLE or not, that ensures the health and well-being of its workers.”
The labor advisory was a response to a call to action by
industry personalities on what they deemed as stressful environment and long working hours on the set of television shows and films.
Under the advisory, workers and talents should not exceed eight hours of work a day, and that their maximum actual hours of work should not exceed 12 hours in any 24-hour period.
Baldoz added that provisions found in Republic Act 9231 should be strictly followed in relation to the employment of children.
She likewise said that the “waiting time” spent by workers during production period should also be considered as “working time, if they are required or engaged to wait.”
Also included in the labor advisory are provisions on occupational safety and health standards.
It further stated that “adequate transportation to and from the location or set must be provided to the workers or reimbursed by the network, company or outfit of the costs incurred by the worker in commuting.”
Lastly, the labor chief declared that industry workers should also be covered by agencies such as Pag-Ibig, PhilHealth, Social Security System, Employees’ Compensation Program, among others.
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