The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is in solidarity with workers in the struggle for better pay and working conditions and the call for government action to lower prices and rein in inflation.
Whether because we cover the Labor Day protests, are on duty on this holiday, or because we ourselves have experienced how difficult it has been to make ends meet with that we are paid for the amount of work we do, we remind ourselves this Labor Day that we are workers too.
Our economic and labor rights are as much press freedom issues as the continued attempts to harass and silence our colleagues and threaten media independence as much as the attempts to censor us.
Many of us work long hours with no overtime, holiday and night differential pay. When disasters or calamities strike, many cover without hazard pay or insurance.
Many still work without recognition, without the mandated benefits of regular workers, and even without proper work contracts.
Even in relatively safer environments like online newsrooms, many are expected to write as many as seven to ten stories a day while also producing social media and video content.
We have been told to accept that media is a tiring profession and that our passion and our service to the public are payment enough.
But recent wins at the National Labor Relations Commission and by employee unions at major newsrooms have shown that things can be better but often only when we make our demands heard.
While we acknowledge the Media Workers’ Welfare bill and other proposed legislation to improve our labor situation, we do not need to wait for Congress to start conversations in our newsrooms and offices on issues like pay, workload and our work conditions and how these can be improved.