Employees file NLRC case for unpaid wages
At least 16 employees of El Nuevo Bantay Radyo yesterday filed a complaint against Cebu Provincial Board Member Grecilda “Gigi” Sanchez for non-payment of salaries and separation pay after the radio station suspended operations last Aug. 1.
They went to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) to compel Sanchez, chief executive officer of Pafi Foundation, to give what is due them.
“Since the radio station has been off the air for some time, we want Ma’am Gigi to pay us for the years we served the company. What will we feed our family if we don’t look for another job?” said Cesario Cajes, head of El Nuevo Bantay Radyo’s engineering department and one of the complainants.
El Nuevo Bantay Radyo is owned by the Cagayan de Oro-based Sarraga Integration and Management (SIAM) Broadcasting Corp.
Sanchez said she was stil determined to resume operations of the network which Pafi Foundation has managed since 2002 under a contract that is under court litigation.
“It’s the the right of the employees to decide where to go,” she told reporters.
The network, composed of dyDD in Metro Cebu, dyHH in Bogo City and dyZZ in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental suddenly went off the air in Aug. 1 when its exciters, a critical piece of equipment, were confiscated by SIAM representatives as an offshoot of the legal battle.
Sanchez said it would not have come to this point if SIAM had complied with a court order to return the transmitters.
Judge Alexander Acosta of the Regional Trial Court Branch 9 in Cebu City issued an injunction against SIAM, which refused to extend the contract of Pafi Foundation after its expiry on July 31.
Last July, Sanchez, the late vice governor’s daughter, filed a civil case for specific performance and injunction against SIAM, which had signed a new contract for Cebu CFI Cooperative to take over control of El Nuevo Bantay Radyo.
The main case is pending in court.
Cesario, who has worked with El Nuevo Bantay Radyo since 2002, said Sanchez told them to hang on and wait for the outcome of the case.
“She (Sanchez) told us she’s willing to help us find another job. But what has she done? We want to move on and look for other jobs so we can feed our family,” said the 45-year-old Bohol native who has four children aged 14, 13, 12, and 3.
Cesario said he received a monthly salary of P15,000 from Pafi Foundation.
He and 15 other employees from the station’s engineering department last received their salaries on Oct. 15.
Cesario said the PB member also failed to remit their contributions to the Social Security Security System (SSS), PhilHealth, and Pag-ibig from 2009 to 2011.
Aside from the 16 complainants, Cesario said nine other employees from the station’s administrative department will also file a labor case against Sanchez.
Sanchez said she already told the Department of Labor and Employment that the radio stations have been disabled by the seizure of the exciters.
A congressional inquiry is ongoing to examine whether SIAM violated its franchise which prohibits leasing its rights to another entity.
“We want them to return the exciters to us so we can resume operations and give these employees back their jobs,” said Sanchez.
This, despite the case filed against her before the NLRC yesterday.
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