December 9, 2010
The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) welcomed the consolidated security of tenure bill that was approved by the House Labor Committee (LaborCom) at a hearing yesterday at the Batasang Pambansa. “The security of tenure bill is a remedial measure, although not a lasting solution, that can curb the wanton proliferation of contractualization schemes and scams by capitalists,” stated Renato Magtubo, PM chair.
Gerry Rivera, PM vice chair and president of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), spoke at the LaborCom hearing and lobbied for a bill to strengthen job security in the face of labor unrest provoked by rampant outsourcing, subcontracting and casualization moves by employers. “There will be many more PALEAs if capitalists are allowed to use the loopholes of the law on subcontracting to bust unions, cheapen wages, worsen working conditions and demolish workers rights,” he said.
Rivera also announced at the LaborCom hearing that the successful strike vote conducted among its members brings the union closer to holding an actual strike. Nonetheless he also clarified that PALEA will respect the 7-day cooling period once the final results are reported to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board. “We recognize that a strike at Philippine Airlines (PAL) may inconvenience the public. But we also know that the vast majority of the public are workers and their families who will benefit from PALEA’s fight for job security and labor rights,” Rivera insisted.
Rivera also countered PAL and the Labor Department’s positions that the strike vote is illegal since there is no labor dispute pending. “The strike vote stems from the labor dispute docketed as NCMB-NCR NS-11-128-10. That dispute has not been resolved nor been assumed,” he explained.
The consolidated security of tenure bill provides for stricter rules on allowable contracting arrangements, a cap of 20% on the number of contractuals vis-à-vis the total workforce and heavier penalties on violations.
Rivera added that “The fight for job security is now beyond PALEA. The passage of the security of tenure bill will be the focus of the working class movement’s campaign for regular jobs and against labor contractualization.”
Magtubo revealed that they will push the Senate Labor Committee for a counterpart bill even as the House version moves for plenary discussion. “The fight for the security of tenure bill has just started. The House Rules Committee will have to be convinced into putting on the calendar this proposed legislation for the plenary. If necessary the labor movement will mobilize again ala the November 25 rally in Ayala to push Congress along,” he emphasized.
“The new year will be happy for the workers if the security of tenure bill becomes a law. We call on our brothers and sisters in the labor movement to once again set aside differences and unite in the fight for the passage of the security of tenure bill,” Rivera asserted.