Precarious Work in the Broadcast Industry

Precarious work is largely defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in the 2012 document Precarious Work to Decent Work as working conditions “defined by uncertainty as to the duration of employment, multiple possible employers or a disguised or ambiguous employment relationship, a lack of access to social protection and benefits usually associated with employment, low pay, and substantial legal and practical obstacles to joining a trade union and bargaining collectively”.

As interns for SENTRO Labor center, we had our first fieldwork in ABS-CBN to interview different kinds of workers. There we were able to interview company drivers, a radio DJ, union workers, and a union leader. We were able to get information from them such as their working conditions, monthly salary, benefits, and daily expenditure. The most surprising fact that we found out while interviewing workers is that they would choose to remain as contractual workers than become regular employees for according to them, they’ll earn more as contractuals than as regulars. It is because once they become regular employees, they would be regarded as Technical Specialists and wouldn’t be allowed to do overtime work which in their case is the largest component of their monthly salary.

After ABS-CBN, we went to TV5 in Mandaluyong to interview more workers. We did not come in the offices to interview workers. Rather, we interviewed them during their “yosi break” outside. There we were able to interview production specialists, video editors, cameramen, segment producers, and a TV anchor. I was able to interview writer and TV anchor Lourd de Veyra. I was very surprised when I learned that even Lourd is a contractual worker. His contract is renewed just every 3 months although he gets high pay compared to other workers because of the nature of his job.

We had fieldwork in more TV stations such as SOLAR TV, PTV 4, and GMA 7. After interviewing workers in GMA 7, we had the chance to visit the studios where they tape and shoot their shows like Bubble Gang and Party Pilipinas. We also were able to watch a taping of Bubble Gang and this gave the lighter feeling to us after loads of work and being busy interviewing different kinds of workers in the broadcast industry.

This internship gives us a deeper knowledge, understanding, and experience on the labor sector in the Philippines. I would say that this internship really helped me develop as a student and as a Filipino citizen.

Julius Anthony Q. Sinoy

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