November 7, 2010
The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) declared that it is ready for a strike while it will respect the conciliation process mandated by law and will attend the hearing set for tomorrow at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“We are prepared to go on strike to defend the union from management’s unfair labor practice. We are forced to this recourse because of management’s intransigence in persuading PALEA members into accepting the separation package. The strike can be as early as after 15 days since this is an unfair labor practice issue,” explained Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) vice chairperson.
Last Friday PALEA filed anew a notice of strike on the ground of unfair labor practice due to PAL’s effort at individual bargaining with union members and also union busting. Tomorrow a conciliation hearing has been set at 2:00 p.m. at the DOLE office in Intramuros.
“The filing of a notice of strike is not a delaying tactic by the union but an urgent response to management’s belligerent moves. Tomorrow we will present evidence of PAL’s determined and pervasive attempts at cajoling PALEA members into swallowing the bitter pill of termination,” insisted Rivera.
To coincide with the conciliation meeting, a rally of some 200 PALEA members, PM supporters and a delegation from the coalition KONTRA will he held at the DOLE Intramuros. The DOLE rally will be the kickoff of a week-long series of protests that will culminate in the filing of a case at the Court of Appeals on Friday to question the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, stated that “We call upon P-Noy to reverse the decision of controversial Baldoz decision. Di pa huli ang lahat para ituwid ang baluktot. It is not too late for the government to follow the straight path instead of the crooked road of promoting contractualization.”
Rivera also laughed off PAL’s announcement that PALEA members and even officers are secretly asking management for the computation of their separation pay. “This work of fiction is the output of the newly-hired PR firm of PAL. What will make the coming holidays happy for PAL employees is not receiving separation pay but keeping our regular jobs and securing the future for our families. The offer of separation pay is a pittance compared to the multi-million annual bonuses doled out by PAL to its executives and directors despite its alleged huge losses for the years 2009 and 2010,” he elaborated.
On Tuesday KONTRA will hold a noise barrage at Baclaran and Bicutan while on Wednesday a rally of some 500 workers will be held at the Batasang Pambansa to coincide with the House Labor Committee hearing on the PAL labor row. Another noise barrage will be sponsored by KONTRA on Thursday at EDSA cor. GMA-7, Ali Mall in Cubao and at McDonald’s along Quezon Ave. On Friday a motorcade will be held that will start from the PALEA office, proceed to the Court of Appeals then on to DOLE Intramuros and finally end in the airport area. On the same day, synchronized pickets at local DOLE offices will be held in Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Dipolog, General Santaos City and Zamboanga.