Thursday, August 5, 2010

Job security at the heart of recurring labor problems in PAL

August 5, 2010

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) agreed with Malacanang’s initial view that the problems besetting the Philippine Airlines (PAL) is more than the pilots’ decision to seek better paying jobs elsewhere.

The group insists that at the heart of the continuing labor disputes in PAL is job security and the regression in labor standards in the flag carrier.

“A regression in labor standards in Asia’s first airline is a scorn to Filipino’s pride that is supposed to be flying high with the flag carrier,” said the group in a statement.

Partido ng Manggagawa chair Renato Magtubo, said the current resignations of PAL pilots, the ground crews’ struggle against spinoff and contractualization and the flight attendants fight for job security, “all speak of deteriorating labor standards at the flag carrier and as such warrant an active intervention if the government intends to correct this rocky labor-management relations in PAL.”

Magtubo, who’s group has been involved with the PAL employees struggle for job security since the 1998 strike believes that the pilots’ mass resignations and the company’s unresolved disputes with the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and the Flight Attendants and Stewardees Association of the Philippines (FASAP) may again lead to a full-blown strike if the company refuses to heed the employees demands and the government fail to carry out proper intervention.

Proper government intervention, according to Magtubo, can be done by invoking not just the ‘national interest’ but also the ‘social justice’ provision of the Constitution declaring a State policy recognizing the primacy of labor over capital.

On Agust 12, PALEA has a scheduled conciliation meeting with the management and the labor department on the planned spinoff of PAL’s ground handling operations to other Tan companies. The plan will result to the mass layoff of some 2,600 ground crew pesonnels as they shift from regular to contractual work arrangements with the spinoff companies.

PALEA describes the plan as a ‘massive contractualization of regular employees’ thus it is seeking the reversal of the ‘midnight decision’ by then acting secretary Romeo Lagman rendering legality for the planned contractualization scheme.

The FASAP is also struggling against the lowering of their retirement age to 40 and several other issues affecting their job security.

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