Wednesday, November 17, 2010

PALEA, Fortune Tobacco union to lead National Day of Action vs. contractualization

Press Release
November 17, 2010

The various labor groups that have come together to denounce the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on the mass layoff at Philippine Airlines (PAL), will hold a nationwide protest on November 25 to push for government regulation against contractualization. The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) and the union at the Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC), another Lucio Tan company, will lead the main activity at Ayala Ave. in Makati.

“This is now a fight that is beyond PAL. In factories, shops, offices and malls contractual workers are working side-by-side with regular employees in doing the same job for lesser pay and worse working conditions. We demand that government institute reforms to enhance job security and stop contractualization schemes. Ang kontraktwalisasyon ay baluktot na landas,” argued Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chairperson.

The implementation of the Baldoz ruling allowing the layoff at PAL has been effectively stayed with the start of Malacanang-mediated talks between PAL and PALEA last Monday. “So now we have time to develop the movement against contractual employment and for regular jobs,” revealed Rivera. Only PALEA was met by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa last Monday since PAL President Jaime Bautista is still abroad.

Also attending the Ayala march are hundreds of FTC union members who are restive over another corporate restructuring which threatens the job security of more than 2,000 workers. Last Friday some 500 FTC workers held a torch parade from Parang to Concepcion in Marikina City. February this year FTC and Philip Morris Philippines, Inc. announced the formation of a joint venture company called Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC). Details of the merger agreement remain unclear especially on the employment status of FTC workers.

Aside from the Ayala march, rallies will also be held in other key cities like Davao, Bacolod and Iloilo on November 25. In Cebu City the mass action will be held a day earlier with a labor forum at the ALU Building in the morning and then an afternoon rally at the local Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office.

Arnulfo Macabutas, Fortune Tobacco Labor Union vice president, said that “The DOLE plans to hold a nationwide tripartite conference on outsourcing in Davao. The National Day off Action against contractualization is our way of expressing our position on outsourcing, mergers, layoffs and other forms of restructuring. We hold that management prerogative is not absolute and cannot trample upon workers’ right to job security and the freedom to unionize. The constitutional mandate for living wages, security of tenure and collective bargaining should not be dead letters but must be made real in life.”

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