Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Labor contractualization is ‘hostage-taking’ in another form

Koalisyon Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon
31 August 2010

Leaving workers with no choice but to submit to contractual work arrangements or face losing their jobs is ‘hostage-taking’ in another form, according to an anti-labor contractualization alliance.

Taking the case of Philippine Airlines (PAL) as an example, members of the Koalisyon Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon or Kontra who staged another picket at the PAL office in Pasay City this morning, continue to express their outrage over the plan of the flag-carrier to outsource or contract out its core functions to third party service providers, leaving the jobs of thousands of its regular employees in peril.

“In this particular case, it is not a dismissed worker holding his hostages at gunpoint and demanding reinstatement, but Lucio Tan, his boss, leaving him with no choice but to accept a bad deal – a termination paper or a new contractual job,” said Kontra in a statement.

Also presiding over the negotiations on the company’s planned outsourcing and contractualization scheme is the government through the Department of Labor and Employment.

Some 2,600 of PAL’s regular ground personnel are to be laid off and rehired as contractuals once labor secretary Rosalinda Baldos sustains the ruling of her predecessor who, in a midnight decision, recognized PAL’s position that outsourcing the airline’s core functions is a valid exercise of management prerogative.

In addition, life ends at 40 for hundreds of female flight attendants who are being forced by the company to retire when they celebrate their 40th birthday. The plan is patently illegal and discriminatory.

Applied by many firms nationwide, contractualization and other flexible work arrangements, according to Kontra, is in some way similar to a hostage drama though in a reverse form as it is the workers who are being held against their will by their bosses.

Partido ng Manggagawa chair Renato Magtubo, on the other hand, said the prospect of losing their jobs or their security of tenure is definitely a life-threatening situation for ordinary workers whose existence is solely dependent on their existing jobs.

Last week’s hostage drama that ended in unnecessary bloodshed because of bungled police operations caused a major setback and diplomatic blunder for a newly-installed Aquino administration.

“We hope the government does not commit a similar blunder in handling the PAL case,” stated Magtubo as he and other Kontra leaders led the demonstration outside PAL offices at the PNB Financial Center in Pasay City, demanding a stop to the airline and other companies’ contractualization policy.


KONTRA is an alliance opposed to the policy of labor contractualization. It is composed Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry for Labor Concerns (AMLC), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Manggagawa para sa Inang Bayan (MAKABAYAN), Manggagawa sa Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas (MKP), PALEA, Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Union of Filipino Service Workers (UFSW), and the Urban Missionaries (UM).

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