November 3, 2010
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today disputed Malacanang’s pronouncement that it must keep its hands off Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’ ruling allowing the mass layoff of some 3,000 employees.
Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chairperson, said that “Malacanang cannot do a Pontius Pilate on the mass layoff. Government put its hands deep into the labor row when former Labor Secretary Marianito Roque assumed jurisdiction (AJ). Sec. Baldoz kept government’s hands in the dispute since she did not lift the AJ and later affirmed the previous ruling permitting the mass layoff. In fact Baldoz used the same power to intervene by imposing another AJ order on the impending flight attendants’ strike.”
Nonetheless Rivera welcomed news reports that President Benigno Aquino III intends to review Baldoz’ ruling. “If indeed PNoy sent a text message to that effect then it is a welcome development. We challenge PNoy to uphold his promise of change by reversing the ruling. Also he better reprimand Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte for speaking from the hip for it is worse than tweeting undiplomatic messages. Valte may have read Baldoz’ decision as she alleges but she apparently did not understand it,” he explained.
Rivera added that Valte cannot recommend that PALEA file a motion for reconsideration (MR) since Baldoz’ ruling is in fact a denial of their MR. He stated that Valte moreover cannot use the argument that Malacanang must keep its hands off because the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is part of the executive and not a co-equal body like the judiciary.
PALEA also slammed DOLE for alleging that the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) recognizes management’s prerogative to exercise the mass layoff. “While the PAL-PALEA CBA upholds management prerogative in general, this exercise is restricted by a separate provision explicitly banning the company from contracting out existing positions, jobs, divisions and departments presently occupied by present or future regular employees within the collective bargaining unit. DOLE prefers to turn a blind eye to this specific provision protecting job security,” Rivera elaborated.
Further, Rivera dismisses as lies PAL’s claims that it is losing money and will go bankrupt if not allowed to outsource work. He asserted that “Jurisprudence allows retrenchment as a measure of last resort which should only be undertaken in case of serious and imminent losses. The financial statements and disclosures of PAL reveal that its business condition is improving and not deteriorating, thereby negating the necessity for retrenchment.”
PALEA also announced that their lawyers are already preparing the case to be filed at the Court of Appeals. The union believes that while the Baldoz’ ruling is under appeal then PAL is prohibited from undertaking the mass layoff.