Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PALEA asks Congress to probe ownership of PAL’s service providers

Press Release
November 9, 2010

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) is calling on the House Labor Committee to investigate the ownership of the so-called third party service providers contracted by Philippine Airlines (PAL) to takeover the airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations.

“Congress must attempt to pierce the corporate veil surrounding these service providers. A probe may reveal that Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen are not third-party companies but simply fronts with Lucio Tan as the real owner,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) vice chairperson. Sky Logistics is set to takeover the airport services to be shutdown by PAL while Sky Kitchen will capture PAL’s in-flight catering operations. Meanwhile PAL’s call center reservations will e contracted out to ePLDT Ventus.

Tomorrow the House Labor Committee to will hold a hearing on the PAL labor row. PALEA and PM will attend the House hearing to push Congress to regulate the rampant contractualization schemes of employers. Some 500 members of PALEA, PM and the coalition Kontra will also hold a picket the Batasang Pambansa at 11:30 a.m.

PALEA believes that Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen are in fact owned by Lucio Tan and the alleged proprietor, a certain Manny Osmena, is just fronting for the PAL boss. “Manny Osmena is a Chinese immigrant who acquired Filipino citizenship by naturalization and in the process changed his name to Manny Osmena. He is not related to the Osmenas of Cebu instead he is a cousin of Lucio Tan,” Rivera revealed.

He said that the information they have gathered is that PAL President Jaime Bautista is a stockholder of Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen. He is also a partner of Manny Pangilinan in ePLDT Ventus. Rivera announced that “We are asking the House Labor Committee to validate these data by asking PAL management to make a full disclosure of the interlocking directorates between PAL and the service providers.”

PALEA is also asking Congress to probe the bonuses received by PAL executives and board members during the years that the national flag carrier was claiming losses. “Why does PAL reward the failure of its executives and officers with indecent benefits? And why is it that workers have to pay for the financial crisis of PAL?” Rivera insisted.

Rivera quoted from documents in PALEA’s possession that reveal bonuses received and estimated to be received by the top senior executive officers in the three years from 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 at around USD 60,000 (PHP 2.76 M at exchange rate of PHP46 to USD1) per year. This is aside from salaries of around USD 360,000 and other annual compensation of up to USD 90,000.

“For the same years, all the other PAL officers and Board of Directors received no less than USD 25,000 in bonuses on top of salaries of more than USD 150,000 and other annual compensation of up to USD 265,000. These bonuses and other compensation were given out during the years that Labor Secretary Baldoz in her decision cites PAL’s claimed of losses of USD 297.8 M in 2009 and USD 14.3 M in 2010 as basis for retrenchment,” Rivera added.

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