November 6, 2010
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) yesterday filed a new notice of strike for alleged unfair labor practices by Philippine Airlines (PAL) stemming from managers’ efforts to convince individual employees to accept the planned mass layoff.
“We decided to file the notice of strike because of widespread and persistent attempts by management to convince union members which by law is individual bargaining and constitute interference in the right to self-organization. These are issues separate although related to the question of the mass layoff recently decided by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz,” explained Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chairperson.
In the notice of strike filed by PALEA, they cited unfair labor practice as ground. The specifics of the unfair labor practice are (1) individual bargaining with union members which is tantamount to interference with, restraint, and coercion of employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization; and (2) mass termination of union officers amounting to union busting.
The mass layoff will lead to the dismissal of 62% of the present union leadership and 70% of its leadership. “The 1,000 union members who will remain then will be the subject of the next round of outsourcing which is already in management’s drawing boards and will be perfectly legal using the Baldoz decision as a precedent. The mass layoff is a teleserye that started with PAL’s maintenance and engineering department and in the end none will be left standing except the kontrabidas,” Rivera warned.
The notice of strike was filed yesterday around 5 p.m. at the Intramuros office of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB). By 5:30 p.m. PALEA had already received a notice of conference sent by fax from the office of NCMB Executive Director Reynaldo Ubaldo.
PALEA announced that they will attend the conciliation hearing on Monday. The Partido ng Manggagawa together with KONTRA, a labor coalition against contractualization, are planning however to stage a picket at the Department of Labor and Employment to coincide with the conciliation meeting.
Rivera revealed that a series of protests are slated for next week. He asked on the different labor groups to set aside their differences and unite in the fight for job security. “We call on our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement to join the picket on Monday and actions on the succeeding days. The struggle of PAL workers against contractualization is the struggle of all Filipino workers. All Filipinos will be poorer if we become a nation of contractuals,” Rivera insisted.
After filing the notice of strike, the next step in the process leading towards a full-blown strike is for PALEA to conduct a strike vote among its members.