April 23, 2010
Philippine Airlines employees will hold a new motorcade today against the planned layoff of an estimated 3,000 employees by May 31. The motorcade will start at 10:30 a.m. at the Department of Labor and Employment office in Intramuros then proceed to the PAL Center at the PNB Compound along Diosdado Macapagal Ave., then move on to the PAL In Flight Center along Airport Road and then end at the Nichols terminal.
“The fight against mass layoffs in PAL continues,” declared Gerry Rivera, president of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) and vice-chairperson of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM). The protests started last Monday with more than 200 employees participating in a motorcade of 100 motorcycles and cars.
“PAL is propagating the myth that the jobs to be spun off are non-core units. But how can passenger airlines function without ground crew that handles ticketing reservations, cargo handling and in flight catering? These are jobs that are essential to PAL’s smooth and safe operation, or in the language of the labor code, work that is necessary and desirable to the principal business of the company,” Rivera insisted.
The party-list PM expressed support to the struggle of PAL workers. “The fight of PAL employees is the fight of Filipino workers. Contractualization is a scourge that is ravaging the lives of workers and their families,” stated Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.
Rivera added that “PAL is juggling words as an alibi for contractualization. If Lucio Tan is indeed losing money in PAL, he can just close it down. But instead he will just layoff regular workers and replace us with contractual workers with lower wages, less benefits and no security of tenure. No wonder Lucio Tan is one of the richest Filipinos.”
PM is calling on the labor movement to close ranks and launch solidarity with the fight of PAL employees. “The protests against spinoff will continue until Labor Day on May 1. The twin themes of the coming Labor Day commemoration are the demand for regular jobs and wage hike,” Magtubo explained.