November 8, 2010
More than 200 protesters from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and groups affiliated with the coalition KONTRA picketed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) this afternoon while a conciliation meeting was being held between Philippine Airlines (PAL) management and the ground crew union. The protesters called for Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’ resignation and for President Benigno Aquino III’s intervention in the PAL-PALEA labor row.
Last Friday PALEA filed another notice of strike on the ground of unfair labor practice due to PAL’s effort at individual bargaining with union members and also union busting. The DOLE rally today is the kickoff of a week-long series of protests that will culminate in the filing of a case at the Court of Appeals on Friday to question the decision of Labor Sec. Baldoz.
This morning a press conference was held in Quezon City by rival labor groups in support of PALEA’s cause. Aside from PALEA, the following groups attended the presscon: Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP), Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Archdiocese of Manila Labor Concerns (AMLC), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Church Labor Conference (CLC), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN), National Federation of Labor (NFL), PM, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Union Network Philippines (UNP), United Filipino Service Workers (UFSW), United transport Workers Union (UTWU), Urban Missionaries (UM).
Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, stated that “We call upon P-Noy to reverse the decision of controversial Baldoz decision. Di pa huli ang lahat para ituwid ang baluktot. It is not too late for the government to follow the straight path instead of the crooked road of promoting contractualization.”
The protesters brought placards that read “Baldozer ng labor rights, Resign!,” “Baldoz: Tuta ni Lucio Tan, Resign!,” “DOLE: Libingan ng karapatan ng manggagawa,” “Ayaw namin sa trabahong kontraktwal, trabahong regular ipaglaban,” “End ENDO,” and “Basta Regular kahit di Special, Wag lang Kontraktwal.”
Tomorrow KONTRA will hold a noise barrage at Baclaran and Bicutan while on Wednesday a rally of some 500 workers will be held at the Batasang Pambansa to coincide with the House Labor Committee hearing on the PAL labor dispute. Another noise barrage will be sponsored by KONTRA on Thursday at EDSA cor. GMA-7, Ali Mall in Cubao and at McDonald’s along Quezon Ave.
On Friday a motorcade will be held that will start from the PALEA office, proceed to the Court of Appeals then on to DOLE Intramuros and finally end in the airport area. On the same day, synchronized pickets at local DOLE offices will be held in Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Dipolog, General Santos City and Zamboanga.
Gerry Rivera, PALEA president insisted that “What will make the coming holidays happy for PAL employees is not receiving separation pay but keeping our regular jobs and securing the future for our families. The offer of separation pay is a pittance compared to the multi-million annual bonuses doled out by PAL to its executives and directors despite its alleged huge losses for the years 2009 and 2010.”