November 12, 2010
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today returned to Mendiola for a rally to appeal to President Benigno Aquino III to stop the mass layoff of 2,600 employees at Philippine Airlines (PAL). PALEA submitted a formal petition to the Office of the President appealing for presidential intervention to suspend the implementation of the Baldoz decision pending its review.
“We are hopeful that P-Noy will act immediately on our petition. The President has the power based on Article 263(g) of the Labor Code to intervene at any time and assume jurisdiction over any labor dispute in order to settle it. That power has usually been used to stop workers from holding a strike as in the case of PALEA and FASAP recently. But now we are challenging P-Noy to employ it to stop management’s planned mass layoff,” explained Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chairperson.
Some 300 PALEA members and supporters from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and the coalition Kontra launched a motorcade that started at the PNB Building in Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. then went onto to the Department of Labor and Employment and ended at Mendiola by noon. Meanwhile PALEA, PM and Kontra members in the cities of Cebu and Davao picketed the local Department of Labor and Employment offices to lambast the controversial Baldoz decision.
PALEA had initially planned to file a case at the Court of Appeals to question the Baldoz ruling. Rivera asserted that “We are still reserving the option to go to the Court of Appeals if nothing happens with the Office of the President. We believe we have 60 days to file a case at the Court of Appeals.”
PALEA insisted that its notice of strike is based on valid grounds of unfair labor practice by PAL. “Cielo Villaluna of PAL keeps on denying our claim that management is trying to convince union members to accept the termination package. But she signed the minutes of the conciliation meeting last Monday which states that ‘Management, through counsel, will talk to the managers to refrain from discussing the plan/issues with union members.” PAL has practically admitted to our allegation,” argued Rivera.
He also added in response to Baldoz’ justification that outsourcing is a global trend, “It does not mean that if others are doing it then it is right. If that is the logic then Filipino workers should then be enjoying the generous benefits and protection accorded workers abroad. Fact is the worldwide shift to outsourcing and contractualization has lead to the worsening of global poverty. This global inequality is the root of the global crisis two years ago which is a problem of overproduction in goods due to the lack of purchasing power by workers whose wages and benefits have shrank in the last two decades.”