Thursday, September 9, 2010

Holiday travels face disturbances as PAL flight crew union files notice of strike

9 September 2010

Travelers might have to bear with major flight disturbances these holiday seasons as Philippine Airline’s flight crew union files notice of strike this morning.

Citing the PAL management’s bad faith in negotiations, the Flight Attendants and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (FASAP) proceeds with the filing of their Notice of Strike (NOS) before the labor department, making strike imminent anytime these holiday seasons.

FASAP is opposing PAL’s plan to retire its female cabin crews upon reaching the age of 40. The union is also accusing the management of bad faith as their negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement already dragged for three years.

Meanwhile, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) warned that labor row in PAL would deteriorate further once the labor department grants the go signal for PAL to embark on a massive contractualization scheme which is being opposed vigorously by the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), the airline’s ground crew union.

PALEA is opposing the planned massive layoff and outsourcing of PAL’s core functions such as passenger handling, ramp and cargo handling and customer care units to third party service providers. The plan would affect the job security of at least 2,600 employees who are intended to become contractual workers.

Sensing a looming strike in PAL, PM Chair and former labor party-list Rep. Renato Magtubo urges the Aquino government to make an advance crisis management plan on this issue to avoid repeating a major disorder that attended the recent hostage crisis in Manila.

“This is definitely bigger than the recent hostage crisis as it involves thousands of workers facing job loss, discrimination, and deteriorating working conditions in PAL,” explained Magtubo.

The labor leader said the proper way of state intervention on this problem is to prevent PAL from enforcing its illegal, anti-labor and discriminatory policies such as the planned contractualization of its ground employees and the forced early retirement plan for its female cabin crews.

Magtubo further said that FASAP and PALEA have the support of almost all the organized labor groups in the country as well as other advocacy groups that are strongly opposed to contractualization and discrimination in the labor sector.

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