IT WAS a news flash many of them didn’t see coming.
Several local employees of GMA Network lost their jobs this week and were offered separation pay as part of the television giant’s “streamlining” of programs and crew.
The initial report was that the services of four reporters, five cameramen, three editors, one producer and several talents from the morning program “Buena Mano” were terminated because of redundancy.
Among those affected were journalists Jun Veleganio, Greggy Magdadaro, Bexmae Jumao-as, Jessie Campos and Mark Bautista, assistant producer Randy Gorion, and cameramen Aaron Blanco, Joel Pantino and Joel Bajenting.
The services of some of their counterparts in other network branches like Cagayan de Oro were also terminated.
Veleganio and Magdadaro told Sun.Star Cebu that the Cebu management officials, joined by lawyers from the network’s head office in Manila, informed them that their positions had become redundant.
When asked to comment, the GMA Network yesterday said that it is undertaking a strategic streamlining of programs and manpower in its provincial stations to ensure competitiveness.
GMA Network Inc. reported a net income (after tax) of P1.009 billion in 2014, down from P1.67 billion at the end of 2013. Its operating revenue stood at P11.98 billion as of Dec. 31, 2014, down from P12.95 billion a year before that.
The press statement sent to Sun.Star Cebu by GMA 7 Station Manager Ann Marie Tan said that the streamlining has resulted in the reduction of manpower and is part of efforts to make operations more efficient.
Severance packages were offered by GMA to all affected personnel, the statement added.
“GMA Network greatly appreciates the contributions rendered by our Kapuso in the regions and we wish them all the best as they seek new opportunities outside the network,” the statement further said.
Tan refused to reveal how many employees in Cebu lost their jobs. “The statement I texted you earlier is what we can give you for now,” she said.
Some of the affected employees said that the severance packages, some of which amounted to P130,000, would not support a family of five for the next six months while they look for other jobs.
During a press conference called by the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) the other day, Veleganio, without saying anything about his status at the network, asked Director Exequiel Sarcauga if it would be legal for management to fire employees because of “redundancy”.
Sarcauga said that redundancy is allowed by law but the management must show the labor department proof. Once redundancy is proven, he added, the management may pay half a month per year of service as severance, instead of one month per year of service.