Wednesday, June 23, 2010

PAL union ask Noynoy for intervention in dispute

Press Release
June 23, 2010

Some 500 members of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) trooped to the Times St. residence of President-elect Noynoy Aquino this morning and submitted a letter asking him to intervene in the brewing labor dispute at Philippine Airlines. The PAL employees rode in motorcycles and vehicles that were festooned with yellow ribbons.

“The PAL workers’ petition is in pursuit of Noynoy’s campaign platform of good governance and the people’s hope for social reform,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) vice-chairperson.

In the letter addressed to President-elect Aquino, the PAL union asked him three things: presidential intervention in the PAL-PALEA dispute, cleansing of corrupt officials in the Department of Labor and Employment, and reform of the policy regarding contractualization.

In a decision dated June 15, 2010, Acting Labor Secretary Romeo Lagman found the planned mass layoff of some 3,000 Philippine Airlines (PAL) employees to be a “valid exercise of management prerogative.” PALEA argues that the order is a “midnight decision that is faulty on both substantive and procedural grounds.”

“We insist that the incoming Labor Secretary be given the right to study and decide on the labor dispute according to procedure and on a just basis. We believe that the PAL-PALEA dispute deserves Noynoy’s intervention given that it is imbued with national interest. More than half of the PAL workforce will be retrenched and the airline industry in no doubt of strategic value to the economy,” stated Rivera.

The PALEA petition submitted to President-elect Noynoy included endorsements from labor groups such as PM, Alliance of Progressive Labor, the unions at PLDT and Fortune Tobacco and from scores of leaders of various people’s organizations, including former General Danny Lim.

In the PALEA letter, the union contends that “Acting Sec. Lagman’s order was released with indecent haste given that the case has not been submitted for resolution and mediation proceedings are still ongoing. Moreover the decision failed to consider the PAL-PALEA collective bargaining agreement’s provision prohibiting the outsourcing of jobs that are being performed by regular employees.”

Yesterday hundreds of PALEA members held a motorcade from its office in Tambo, Paranaque and a rally at the Department of Labor and Employment office in Intramuros to protest the order. In the rally Rivera announced that PALEA will file a motion for reconsideration and “exhaust all the means provided by law to protect the job security of PAL employees.”

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