December 6, 2010
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), the embattled ground crew union of Philippine Airlines (PAL), will hold a strike vote tomorrow and expects to get the necessary majority support of its members. PALEA leaders delivered a notice of strike vote to the office of National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) Executive Director Reynaldo Ubaldo at 8:30 am with a copy furnished the Office of the Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz at 8:55 am. This means that PALEA can proceed with the strike vote from 9:00 am to 12:00 midnight tomorrow.
“The strike vote is compliance with the requirements of the law. If management does not desist from harassing PALEA members to avail of the separation offer which is tantamount to individual bargaining and therefore illegal then we will be forced to actually hold the strike. Management continues to violate its own promise during the mediation last November 8 that PAL managers will refrain from discussing the issues with PALEA members,” insisted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of the militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
“We don't make strike threats. We just do it when needed. That is why we are preparing the requirements for a strike which will happen at the appropriate time. A majority support of members assessed via a strike vote is necessary to hold a legal strike,” Rivera explained.
PALEA explained that the strike vote does not constitute a transgression of the mediation efforts of the Office of the President (OP). “We are not blackmailing Malacanang to favor our position but we are warning management for its illegal acts. It was PALEA that asked for the intervention of President Benigno Aquino III into the PAL-PALEA dispute and so it is illogical that we will sabotage it. The issue pending at the OP is separate though related to the case from which proceeds the strike vote,” Rivera argued.
He clarified that the issue pending at the OP is PAL’s outsourcing plan which has been affirmed by Labor Sec. Baldoz while the strike vote arose from the complaint of individual bargaining by PAL management which constitutes unfair labor practice and union busting.
Rivera called on PALEA members “To vote yes in the strike vote in order to defend our jobs and secure our future. Those who have their day off tomorrow should go to work to register their vote and express their sentiments.”
Some 3,700 PALEA members from all PAL offices in Manila, the airports of Cebu and Davao, and even outlying stations in 14 cities nationwide will participate in the strike vote. PALEA announced that everything is all set for the orderly conduct of the strike vote tomorrow.