Friday, December 30, 2011

PALEA to prospective new owners: End in labor row crucial for PAL takeoff

PRESS RELEASE
December 29, 2011
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) expressed guarded optimism on the possibility that a change in ownership and leadership at the Philippine Airlines (PAL) may create an opportunity to end the flag carrier’s lingering labor dispute. 

San Miguel Corporation has confirmed news that the conglomerate is in advance talks with PAL owner Lucio Tan for a possible buyout of the ailing flag carrier.

The ground crew union, nonetheless, maintains its assertion that whoever gets control of PAL the fact remains that the airline can only takeoff and prevent further losses by getting the 2,600 locked out regular workers back.

“Bring back PAL's regular employees and it can fly anew with pride,” declared PALEA President Gerry Rivera, as he assured the public that within days upon their reinstatement, PAL operations would be back to normal.

“As a legacy airline, PAL is about quality service – quality service that only comes from a quality workforce.  The new owner/s must therefore consider this crucial human resource factor in their ongoing acquisition talks,” added Rivera.

PAL suffered heavy losses in the third and fourth quarter of this year after PALEA members opposed the company’s outsourcing/contractualization plan by refusing to transfer into assigned service providers.  PALEA’s protest in September 27 has forced the airline to scale down its operations for lack of skilled manpower to operate its passenger and cargo handling operations as well as its catering services. 

PALEA stressed that it is the failed outsourcing plan that pulled the flag carrier’s finances as well as its reputation down as consumer confidence is greatly affected by labor issues, low quality service and safety concerns. 

Moreover, PALEA supporters from the local and international trade unions, the Church, the academe, migrants and civil society groups, have launched a successful boycott campaign  -- all contributing to a significant reduction in PAL’s load factor.

Noisy camp

On December 31, the protest camp located at PAL’s In-Flight Center and Catering Services Building along
MIA Road
will be a noisy camp as PALEA members make noise to assertively and confidently greet the New Year with a call to end the labor row at PAL.

A media-noche will also be prepared at the camp similar to what PALEANs have shared during their noche-buena on Christmas Eve.

“2011 was really a turbulent year for PALEA and the entire labor movement.  Yet despite the storms, our fighting spirits remain intact.  We remain hopeful and we thank everyone who stood with us for keeping us strong and united,” concluded Rivera.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

PALEA holiday greetings

Para sa lahat ng supporters at allies

Pagbati sa Pasko

Matapos ang isang Taon ng Pag-aalsa at Pakikibaka sa buong Mundo

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hope springs eternal at PALEA protest camp

PRESS RELEASE
December 23, 2011

They have been out of jobs during the last three (3) months but for members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) hope springs eternal at their protest camp which they likened to the traditional “belen” that gave temporary shelter to the infant Jesus. 

“Without the protest camp, PALEA members could have been wandering anywhere after being hit by the man-made tsunami of outsourcing.  Had we not fought the outsourcing plan, we would have ended having separate Christmas parties at Skylogistics, Skykitchen and SPI Global,” stated PALEA President Gerry Rivera. 

PALEA and their supporters in the labor movement and the Church are celebrating Christmas at their protest camp located at PAL’s In-Flight Center near Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 

Blessed with support

Fortunately PALEA’s protest camp is blessed with continuing local and international support.  Aside from the Church-Labor Coneferece (CLC), the vibrant civil society organizations and migrant groups have joined the boycott campaign against PAL.

Today, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, director of CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action is celebrating an anticipated Misang Gabi at the camp.  Pabillo, who is also the co-chair of the CLC has been very supportive of PALEA’s struggle against mass layoff and contractualization. 

After the mass, the CLC, which includes different labor groups and church institutions, will share a Christmas party with PALEA members.  On the 24th and 25th PALEA members and their families will greet Christmas at the protest camp, their first noche buena celebration done outside their homes.

Scrooge PAL

Trade unions and international labor advocacy groups across the world, have also come in full support for PALEA.  Just recently, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) has included PAL in its list of ‘scrooge corporations’. PAL joined Dole, Hershey’s and Wal-Mart in ILRF’s 2011 Working for Scrooge report (see link at  http://www.laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/Working_For_Scrooge_2011.pdf).

ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. It promotes enforcement of labor rights internationally through public education and mobilization, research, litigation, legislation, and collaboration with labor, government and business groups.

PAL executives admitted recently that the company incurred heavy losses at the height of the labor row and that its operations cannot get back to full normal even until next year.  Its reputation was also badly hurt.

Rivera, who is also the vice-chair of Partido ng Manggagagawa (PM), is confident PALEA has a good chance of winning its fight against PAL’s outsourcing/contractualization plan. 

“Of course nobody wants to celebrate Christmas the second time around here at the protest camp,” quipped Rivera.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Victims of man-made calamity: PALEA members celebrating Christmas at protest camp

PRESS RELEASE
December 21, 2011

Describing themselves as ‘victims of a man-made calamity’, members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), with their supporters in the labor movement and the Church, are celebrating Christmas at their protest camp located at PAL’s In-Flight Center near Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“We could have joined the rest of our nation in the relief drive for the victims of Sendong had we not been locked out by PAL owner Lucio Tan.  Unfortunately we are also victims of a man-made calamity.  2011 is indeed a very difficult year for the working class and the poor who were made to suffer from both natural and man-made calamities,” stated PALEA President Gerry Rivera.  

Rivera explained that PALEA can’t do anything right now except to sympathize with the victims of Sendong, unlike before when they can easily mobilize and share their resources for victims of calamities through internal fund and relief drive. 

“To sustain our fight against the wrath of corporate greed, we have also been asking for financial and logistical support from our allies here and abroad during the last three months,” added Rivera who is also the vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

Continuing support

Fortunately PALEA is blessed with continuing local and international support.  On December 23, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, director of CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action will be celebrating a 4:00 PM anticipated mass at PALEA’s protest camp. 

Pabillo, who is also the co-chair of the Church-Labor Conference (CLC) has been very supportive of PALEA’s struggle against mass layoff and contractualization.  Aside from the CLC, the vibrant civil society organizations and migrant groups have also joined the boycott campaign against PAL.

After the mass, the CLC, which includes different labor groups and church institutions, will share a Christmas party with PALEA members.

On the 24th and 25th PALEA members and their families will greet Christmas at the protest camp, their first noche buena celebration done outside their homes.

PAL as Scrooge

Trade unions and international labor advocacy groups across the world, have also come in full support for PALEA.  Just recently, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) has included PAL in its list of ‘scrooge corporations’. PAL joined Dole, Hershey’s and Wal-Mart in ILRF’s 2011 Working for Scrooge report (see link at  http://www.laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/Working_For_Scrooge_2011.pdf).

ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. It promotes enforcement of labor rights internationally through public education and mobilization, research, litigation, legislation, and collaboration with labor, government and business groups.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

PAL is a Scrooge—international labor rights group

Press Release
December 21, 2011

A Washington DC-based international labor rights watchdog has included Philippine Airlines (PAL) in its list of worst companies for the year. PAL joins giant companies Dole, Wal-Mart and Hershey in the “Scrooge list” of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) for the “use of intimidation and sometimes violence, in the U.S. and abroad, to violate workers’ internationally recognized right to organize.”

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) welcomed PAL’s description as a Scrooge “since Lucio Tan stole Christmas from some 2,400 employees and their families.” Renato Magtubo, PM chair, said that “PAL has been naughty not nice to its workers so Santa did not grant its wish of a profitable year.” PAL has announced that it will end the year with losses to due its failed outsourcing plan and high fuel prices.

In its report, ILRF explained that “Some of this year’s Scrooges, such as Dole and Wal-Mart, are repeat offenders—giant corporations that refuse to uphold their responsibility to their direct employees and to workers in their supply chains. Hershey receives Scrooge status for the first time—an accolade long overdue—as the chapter exposes an ongoing pattern of the company’s neglect of workers’ rights and refusal to be more accountable to workers in its supply chain. The case of Philippine Airlines illustrates an increasingly common trend among corporations, the flexibilization of work, and how when workers protest against outsourcing, they are locked-out and fired.”

“This holiday season corporate greed at PAL is shining through,” the ILRF report asserted. The group is supporting PALEA by calling on the public to boycott PAL and its sister low-cost carrier Air Philippines until the workers are reinstated to their regular jobs.

“The right to freedom of association is typically violated through the use of bullying tactics and the spread of anti-union propaganda but this year’s Scrooges have taken violating workers’ rights to new lows. As we celebrate the holiday season, consumers and labor advocates can support workers by telling these Scrooge companies that they need to respect workers rights,” said Judy Gearhart, ILRF Executive Director.

Magtubo declared that “The Philippines is not on the right track but off course as far as labor rights is concerned.” The ILRF Scrooge list follows on the heels of a critical report issued last month by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) regarding the observance of core labor standards in the Philippines which also mentions the case of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) as substantiation. The global union body said that “In view of restrictions on the trade union rights of workers, discrimination, child labour, and forced labour, determined measures are needed to comply with the commitments” of the Philippines to international treaties.

The ILRF report Working for Scrooge is can be viewed online at http://www.laborrights.org/scrooges2011. The ITUC report is posted at is posted at http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/wto_review.pdf.

Friday, December 16, 2011

PALEA gets backing of Occupy protesters


Press Release
December 16, 2011
PALEA

Just as truck drivers and longshore workers got the support of Occupy rallyists in the US, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) received the solidarity of Occupy protesters in Canada. Occupy Toronto activists together with Canadian airline unions held a solidarity action at the Toronto international airport last December 10. Last Tuesday various ports along the West Coast such as Oakland, Los Angeles and Portland were shutdown by community pickets of Occupy protesters with the support of port workers who refused to cross the picketlines. As is the practice in Occupy protests, the Toronto rally was called a “general assembly” and speeches were “echoed” by the participants.

The series of solidarity actions for PALEA continued with a picket at the Tokyo office of Philippine Airlines (PAL) by Japanese railway workers last December 12. On December 14 another rally was held at the Philippine consulate in Melbourne that was attended by PALEA vice president Alnem Pretencio, the head of the two million-strong Australian Council of Trade Unions Geraldine Kearney and leaders of the Australian Services Union which represents airline workers including Qantas, Maritime Union of Australia, Victorian Trades Hall Council and Australia Asia Worker Links.

Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of the Partido ng Manggagawa, said that “We salute the Occupy shutdown of the West Coast ports to demand justice for truck drivers and longshore workers. The fight for better pay, job security and union rights is a common struggle of port workers, airline employees and workers around the world. PALEA stands shoulder to shoulder with Occupy protesters.”

The latest series of solidarity actions for PALEA is the second wave after earlier rallies staged in late October to early November in Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Renato Magtubo, chair of PM and co-chair of the Church-Labor Conference, declared that “The latest rallies in support of PALEA are a level up from earlier actions since the call for a boycott of Lucio Tan-owned PAL and Air Philippines are explicitly expressed. The widespread boycott campaign will hurt PAL since the regional flights to Australia and Japan, and the transpacific flights to the US are among its most profitable operations.” He added that “The fact that PAL is having a promo during the Christmas peak season belies its claims that its operations are back to normal.”

Rivera claimed that “The convergence between the youth-led Occupy protests and the workers struggles for wages, jobs and rights is a welcome development. Social change will come from the unity and action of the 99%.”

For a video of the Toronto action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV8lFtTCo7Q


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Labor rights under P-Noy: Large gap between declared policy and implementation

PRESS RELEASE
10 December 2011
A large gap between declared policies and implementation characterize the conduct of the present administration in upholding the constitutional mandate of providing full protection to labor, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement as the country celebrates the International Human Rights Day.

PM chair Renato Magtubo find the current state of labor rights “very depressing” under the present administration as "P-Noy is all talk but zero achievement in upholding labor rights.”

Magtubo pointed out that when P-Noy assumed office in July last year, he carried with him a 22-Point Labor & Agenda with a declared policy in promoting employment and upholding labor rights.  The agenda has an an over-arching goal of “investing in our country’s top resource, our human resource, to make us more competitive and employable while promoting industrial peace based on social justice.” 

The labor leader explained that Item No. 3 of the said Agenda aims “to promote not only the constitutionally protected rights of workers but also their right to participate in the policymaking processes”, while Item No. 7 seeks “to align  our country’s labor policies with international treaties and ILO conventions in a sound and realistic manner.”
Asked Magtubo: “Where is P-Noy now after declaring those big words 17 months ago? Where is P-Noy now after Lucio Tan locked out the 2,600 workers of PAL who were fighting for their constitutionally guaranteed rights?  Where is industrial peace based on social justice? ”

The labor group added that even the recent Conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO) held in Kyoto reminded both businesses and governments to prioritize long-term over short term employment.  The ILO’s Decent Work Framework which promotes equal opportunity and gainful employment was adopted by the Philippine government several years ago.

“Yet P-Noy’s labor secretary Rosalinda Baldoz who was present at the conference and who decided in favour of Lucio Tan in the PAL case, defended the outsourcing and contractualization as a necessary policy,” lamented Magtubo,

The former partylist representative said the PAL issue had become a litmus test to P-Noy and this unresolved issue of social justice will continue to hound his administration whose popularity is mainly bolstered by a populist campaign on anti-corruption.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

PALEA takes fight to Australia and Canada


PALEA VP Alnem Pretencio meeting ASU airlines delegates (Photo courtesy of ASU)

PALEA VP meeting with ASU organizers (Photo courtesy of ASU)
Press Release
December 8, 2011
PALEA

The embattled Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) is taking its fight against the outsourcing and contractualization plan of Philippine Airlines to Australia and Canada. The vice president of PALEA, Alnem Pretencio, is in Australia now on a tour sponsored by unions with the aim of soliciting international support.

This coming Saturday (Eastern Standard Time), Canadian unions and groups together with the Filipino community will hold a demonstration at the Toronto international airport in solidarity with PALEA. Toronto hosts the biggest population of immigrant Filipinos in Canada.

Meanwhile yesterday Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz was questioned by a delegate in the ILO regional meeting in Kyoto, Japan about the government's handling of the PALEA labor dispute. The challenge to Baldoz is an expression of the snowballing international support for PALEA.

Aside from expressing for PALEA’s demand for immediate reinstatement, the Canadian groups will be disseminating information about the boycott campaign against PAL and Air Philippines, both owned by Lucio Tan. Yesterday representatives of various civil society organizations of migrants, students and NGO’s held a press conference to call for “Don’t fly PAL and AirPhil” and denounced Tan as “a Grinch who stole Christmas from some 2,600 PAL employees.”

On its second day of the tour, Pretencio had already met with bus, tram and train unions in Melbourne. Also he is scheduled to meet with airport workers represented by the Australian Services Union (ASU), the Qantas aircraft engineers union ALAEA and the Qantas ground crew union TWU. More meetings are planned in the weekend and next week including with the militant Maritime Union of Australia. Pretencio’s tour was held in coordination with the Australia-Asia Workers Links and ASU.

In Toronto, the airport workers represented by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), Canadian Union of Public Employees and the International Association of Machinists took the lead in organizing the rally for PALEA. Activists of the Occupy Toronto are also slated to participate in the solidarity action.

Among the reasons for the warm reception received by Pretencio in Australia is the solidarity shown by PALEA for the Qantas workers who are in a similar dispute with management over outsourcing, job security and pay. PALEA has twice picketed the Qantas office in Makati during the lockout in November 1 and as part of the global day of action for Qantas families last November 16.

The support by Canadian unions does not end with the Toronto rally. Early next year, the groups are planning to hold a similar solidarity action in the Vancouver international airport. CAW has vowed to make an active boycott campaign in the Vancouver since PAL operates flights to and from the international airport.

“Don’t Fly PAL, AirPhil” campaign snowballs

NEWS RELEASE
07 December 2011


MANILA, Philippines – This Christmas break, don’t fly airlines owned by the “Grinch.”

As thousands of riding public prepare for the Christmas season, various sectors have joined together in calling a boycott of Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines in solidarity with the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA).

In a press conference, migrant groups, student councils and organizations, NGOs and international organizations have joined the bandwagon in supporting the “Don’t Fly PAL/AirPhil” campaign.

“Because of his greed, Lucio Tan has stolen Christmas of retrenched PAL workers. He acts like the true Grinch,” said Ricardo Reyes, president of Freedom from Debt Coalition.

Created by Dr. Seuss, the Grinch is a fictional character who first appeared as the main protagonist in the 1957 children's book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Now, it is a term used to describe a person with a coarse and greedy attitude and opposed to Christmas time celebrations.

“It is almost Christmas time – our great Kapaskuhan, a time for families, friends, neighbors, and loved ones to gather, celebrate and share blessings with one another. But not for 2,600 of our kababayan PAL employees and their families who until now face the uncertainty of a prolonged deadlock due to Lucio Tan’s refusal to sit down with PALEA and address their just demands,” said Reyes.

“We are urging the riding public, particularly the students, government and private workers and OFWs to support the members of PALEA in their struggle against the mass lay-off, contractualization, and their fight to protect their job security. PALEA’s fight is also our fight. As riding customers, we can best support PALEA by hitting Lucio Tan where he hurts most – by not flying PAL and AirPhil, until he sits down with PALEA and address their just demands,” he said.

Agnes Matienzo of Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA): "In support of the 2,600 PALEA members who are unilaterally locked out and terminated by PAL, MFA continues to call on our fellow OFWs and partners/affiliates in over 16 countries in Asia not to fly PAL this Christmas unless Lucio Tan sits with PALEA and address their demands. PALEA members’ fight is our fight. As migrants’ advocate, we demand host countries to respect the right of our workers overseas to unionize and demand for just wages and job security. How do we expect destination countries to respect and protect the rights of our workers, if the rights of our local workers are blatantly violated? We shall never accept that the rights of our local workers are violated. The interest of 10 million OFWs and the interest of 2,600 PALEA members are one and the same. Boycott PAL and stop corporate greed!"

Shaina Santiago, Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT) representative to the UP Diliman Student Council, said that contractualization, as a labor policy, is a threat not only to the current labor force, but also to the students who are future workers.

Max De Mesa, chairperson of Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), said: “PAL workers are co-creators of the wealth of the company. Thus, not only should the quality of life of workers rightfully and proportionately improve as the company develops and grows – this is a collective aspect of the right to development. More important, they should be integral to the company itself. The owner’s and management’s decision to outsource as part of its overall contractualization plan is to deceptively cut-off its co-creators of corporate wealth under the false basis of ‘financial losses.’ This is corporate callousness. They have disjointed themselves from the same humanity as their workers so as to accrue profits primarily for themselves. The vaunted plan of separation benefits is no more than a ruse to distract from the truth of corporate greed and the deprivation of workers’ rights."

Francis Lunag of the Urban Missionaries said that the contractualization of workers at PAL violates the dignity of human person. He said they will convince other priests, nuns, and even the bishops to not fly via the flag-carrier. “We will distribute flyers to our parishioners, put posters in front of our churches, and continue our support for the ‘Don’t Fly PAL/AirPhil’ campaign until this issue is resolved and benefits both parties.”

May-i Fabros of WomanHealth Philippines expressed empathy with the retrenched workers and encouraged Filipino women, especially those managing the household budget , not to consider PAL and Air Philippines on their travel arrangements.

National pride

FDC’s Reyes said that aside from corporate greed, union busting, human rights violations, labor code violations and compromised safety and service, another important reason why the Filipino people must boycott Lucio Tan’s airlines is what is at stake in the dispute.

“What is at stake here is our national pride, our identity with this institution called PAL. Despite the Government’s decision to privatize PAL, we all grew up knowing that it is our nation’s flag carrier, our symbol in the sky, our representative in global aviation.  We take pride in the excellent ability of its pilots and ground crew to provide safe and comfortable air travel and to respond effectively during emergencies and unexpected mishaps.  Now this national symbolism is heavily tainted by a bare-faced and shameless oppression of our very own Filipino workers,” said Reyes.

Snowballing support

Aside from FDC, MFA, PAHRA, Urban Missionaries and WomanHealth Philippines, other groups supporting the Boycott PAL/Airphil campaign are the following:

Migrant groups – Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) – Philippines, DIWATA-Philippine Women’s Network in Greece, Kanlungan Migrant Center, and Unity of Filipino Migrants in Greece;

Student groups – KAISA – UP Diliman, CRUSADA – Ateneo de Manila University, Alliance of Progressive Students – EARIST, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), Kalayaan! Lihok Mag-aaram – UP Tacloban, Magkaisa-CSSP, UP Organization of Human Rights Advocates (OHRA), UP Alyansa, ARISE, Buklod-CSSP, PALS-NCPAG, START-AIT, UST Central Student Council, DLSU-CSB Student Council, UP Diliman AIT Student Council, UP Diliman CHE Student Council, Bukluran Student Alliance – PLM, Akbayan Youth, Sanlakas Youth, Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), and Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND);

Civil Society Organizations – Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF), Active Citizenship Foundation, Assalam Bangsamoro, Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms (IPER), Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD) and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ);
International organizations – International Transport Workers Federation, Jubilee South-APMDD, and Coalition against the Trafficking of Women-Asia/Pacific (CATW-AP).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

PM: Philippines off course regarding labor rights

Press Release
December 6, 2011

Days before the commemoration of International Human Rights Day, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called the attention of the government to the critical report issued by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) regarding the observance of core labor standards in the Philippines. “The Philippines is not on the right track but off course as far as labor rights is concerned,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

The global union body said that “In view of restrictions on the trade union rights of workers, discrimination, child labour, and forced labour, determined measures are needed to comply with the commitments” of the country to the World Trade Organization and the International Labor Organization.

Magtubo said that “The ITUC report is a wake up call to PNoy and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz that rhetoric is far from reality. The violations of core labor standards detailed in the report are in stark contrast to the avowed aim of the administration to align our country’s labor policies with international treaties and ILO conventions.”

The critique was contained in the ITUC REPORT FOR THE WTO GENERAL COUNCIL REVIEW OF THE TRADE POLICIES OF PHILIPPINES (Geneva, 22 and 24 November 2011) which is posted at http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/wto_review.pdf.

Magtubo insisted that “Among the damning conclusions reached by the ITUC is that union rights are restricted in law and practice.” He quoted from the report that “There is an environment of violence and intimidation against trade unions. Employers and state authorities make use of anti-union practices in order to curb unions' rights.”

The ITUC report also rapped the Aquino administration for its decision to allow the outsourcing plan of Philippine Airlines. The report asserted that “The increasing replacement of long-term employment contracts with subcontracted or contractual labor curtails union membership.” To support this conclusion, the report cited that “Another example of the increasing contractualisation of employment is PAL… In February 2011, PAL announced $15.1 million profits and one month later, the government gave the company permission to continue with its outsourcing plan.”

“The ITUC report further confirms the accusation of labor groups that labor rights in general and union organizing in particular is severely constrained in the export procession zones,” Magtubo averred. He again quoted from the ITUC report that “When a union is organized the management of the special economic zones (EPZs) or individual companies file lawsuits to frighten union leaders or threaten that they will file for bankruptcy. This was the case of the garment producer, Alta Mode Inc, in the Mactan EPZ II in Lapu-Lapu City.”

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Solidarity Message to SITIAPES from PALEA


December 4, 2011

We extend the hand of solidarity to our brothers and sisters in the Union of Employees and Allied Workers of the El Salvador Airport (SITIAPES) who are fighting for union recognition, collective bargaining rights, decent pay, better working conditions and protection of job security. The struggles you are waging mirror the same demands that we are currently fighting for at Philippine Airlines, the flag carrier of our country.
PALEA supports the campaign by SITIAPES and its sister unions, SITEAIES and SIGTRASEL, for the immediate reinstatement of the fired workers of AERODESPACHOS. We support your demands in the hope that international support can put pressure on AERODESPACHOS so it will heed workers demands.
PALEA condemns the intransigence of AERODESPACHOS, its anti-union maneuver, refusal to recognize the union, opposition to bargaining negotiations and termination of workers active in union organizing.
The same issues animate the struggles that PALEA is facing at the moment. Some 2,400 PALEA members have been locked out and terminated as part of a plan to outsource the airport services, inflight catering and call center reservations departments of Philippine Airlines. Majority of those affected are in the ramp, baggage, cargo and passenger handling aside from inflight catering. PALEA represents these workers and the remaining 900 ground staff of Philippine Airlines.
In fact as can bee seen from the number that were retrenched and those remaining, the outsourcing plan seeks not just to demolish job security but bust the union itself. In fact the outsourcing plan came on the heels of a 13-year suspension of the collective bargaining negotiations with PALEA which was forced on the union through government intervention.
To resist the imminent implementation of the outsourcing plan, on September 27 PALEA undertook a protest at the Manila International Airport that paralyzed the operations of Philippine Airlines. The swift answer of the government and management was the forcible eviction of protesting PALEA members from the airport and other offices using police forces and security guards. PALEA members have been locked out since and then terminated starting October 1.
At present PALEA protest camps are set up outside the international airports of Manila and Cebu, the two biggest cities in the Philippines.  Every day several hundred PALEA members are alternating in shifts to maintain the protest camps until the workers demands are heeded.
PALEA demands that Philippine Airlines stop the lockout of workers and allow those terminated to go back to their regular jobs. We know that this is a difficult battle but through the solidarity of the workers movement in our country and even abroad, we will prevail.
Further we are inspired by the struggles for labor rights and social justice of fellow aviation workers such as yours in El Salvador and by general strikes around the globe such as that in Greece and Portugal recently.
Sincerely,
(signed)
Gerry Rivera
President, Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA)
Vice Chair, Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party-Philippines)
Vice Chair, Ground Staff Committee of Aviation Section, ITF
International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) solidarity campaign for PALEA:
Online petition in support of PALEA:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Diskontento ng manggagawa kay P-Noy, ihahayag sa araw ni Bonifacio

Press Release
November 30, 2011

Diskontento at pagkadismaya sa administrasyong Aquino ang ihahayag ng mga manggagawa sa araw ng bayani ng uri na si Gat Andres Bonifacio. Mula sa Mehan Garden sa Maynila ay magmamartsa patungong Mendiola ang mga myembro ng Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) at Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) para sumanib sa iba pang grupo ng manggagawa sa ilalim ng Koalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon (Kontra).

Dala ng PM at PALEA ang kahilingan na ibasura ang patakarang kontraktwalisasyon na ginawang ligal at unlimited ni P-Noy, at ibalik sa trabaho ang mga tinanggal na manggagawa sa PAL. Kasama rin sa kanilang kinokondena ang corporate greed na sya umanong dahilan sa paglawak pa ng inekwalidad
sa Pilipinas.

Elitistang hustisya

Ayon kay Renato Magtubo, tagapangulo ng PM, mananatiling elitista ang konsepto ng hustisya sa bansa hangga’t walang proteksyon ang mga manggagawa mula sa pang-aabuso ng kapital at hayaan lang ng gubyerno na umalagwa ang corporate greed sa bansa.

Dapat lang umanong papanagutin si Gloria sa mga kasalanang nagawa sa bansa, pero di rin dapat palagpasin
ang malawak na inhustisya na nararanasan ng milyun-milyong manggagawa mula sa kamay ng mga may
kontrol sa buhay nila - ang mga kapitalista.

Dagdag pa ni Magtubo, laganap pa rin ang kahirapan at inekwalidad sa bansa dahil hanggang ngayon ay hindi
makaalpas ang 99% ng masang Pinoy sa pagsasamantala ng 1% o nang iilang may kontrol sa kanilang buhay.
Ang ganito rin umanong sitwasyon ang dahilan kung bakit sa loob ng mahigit 300 taon ay hindi umunlad ang
Pilipinas dahil sakmal ito ng kolonyalistang Espanol, sa pakikipagkutsabahan ng mga ilustrado, habang ang
masang Pinoy ay walang tinatamasang karapatan.

Nangangamba ang dating partylist representative na sa harap ng lumalalang krisis sa ekonomiya, lalo pang
ilalaglag ni P-Noy ang karapatan ng mga manggagawa gaya nang ginawa nito sa PAL, mapagbigyan lang ang
dating Marcos crony, suporter ni Gloria, at ikalawang pinakamayamang tao sa Pilipinas na si Lucio Tan.

Boycott PAL

Kasabay ng pagdiriwang sa ika-148 na kaarawan ni Andres Bonifacio ang pinaigting na kampanya ng mga unyon at simbahan para boykotin ang PAL hanggat hindi naibabalik ang mga myembro ng PALEA.
Sa susunod na araw ay nakatakda na ring magtipon ang mga civil society groups para plantsahin ang mga
hakbang para paigtingin pa ang kampanyang boykot ng PAL hanggang sa international community.
Nagpasalamat naman si PALEA president Gerry Rivera sa walang sawang pagsuporta ng ibat-ibang samahan sa laban ng PALEA.

Sinabi ni Rivera na hindi nila isusuko ang kanilang laban dahil kapag nagtagumpay umano si Lucio Tan sa kanyang outsourcing plan, hindi lang 2,600 kundi milyun-milyong manggagawang Pinoy ang maghihirap sa ilalim ng patakarang kontraktwalisasyon.

Matapos ang programa sa Mendiola ay magsasagawa ng motorcade ang mga mangagagawa patungong Coastal Mall kung saan magmamartsa ulit ang mga ito papunta sa protest camp ng PALEA para sa isa pang programa.

Monday, November 28, 2011

PALEA, coco farmers hold solidarity human chain at protest camp

PRESS RELEASE
28 November 2011
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) has offered protesting coconut farmers from Quezon solidarity and an overnight stay at its protest camp at NAIA Terminal 2. 

The coconut farmers have embarked on 160-kilometer march from Lucena City in Quezon to Manila to demand the return to farmers of billions of pesos in allegedly stolen coconut levy funds collected during the martial law years. 

The march, which started on Thursday with some 100 farmers, is expected to arrive at PALEA’s protest camp before 6:00 PM.  A solidarity human chain with PALEA will be held upon their arrival at the protest camp.

“We wish to welcome our coconut farmers to our protest camp.  Since we occupied this place on September 27, this camp has become our protest camp, the protest camp of the 99% who are fighting for social justice,” said PALEA president Gerry Rivera.

Rivera said coconut farmers and PALEA members share a common struggle against government neglect as well as the capitalist greed of the country’s two most famous Marcos cronies, Lucio Tan and Danding Cojuangco.

“Coconut farmers were denied a share from their own coco levy fund.  PALEA members on the other hand were denied the right to live a life of dignity when they rejected Lucio Tan’s contractualization plan,” added Rivera.

PALEA had been occupying PAL’s In-Flight Center along
MIA Road
for two months after they were locked out by the management on October 1.  Rivera said they will not give up the camp until the PAL outsourcing plan is scrapped and PALEA members win their regular jobs back.

Labor and peasant groups are expected to join forces for the November 30 (Bonifacio Day) rallies. After a noon rally at Mendiola on November 30, the protesters will hold a motorcade to the PALEA protest camp for another program and mass outside the PAL In-Flight Center.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tado mag-eemcee sa concert para sa PALEA

Press Release
November 26, 2011
PALEA

Si Tado Jimenez na mas kilala sa simpleng pangalang Tado ay mag-eemcee ng isang solidarity concert para sa PALEA mamayang gabi. Ang concert sa protest camp ng PALEA sa may
MIA Road
ay bilang paghahanda din sa darating na pagkilos ng mga manggagawa sa Araw ni Bonifacio sa Miyerkules.

“SuporTADO ko ang PALEA. Ang laban ng PALEA ay laban ng lahat, kasama ako,” sigaw ni Tado. Bukod kay Tado, marami nang artista, sikat at di kilala, ang bumisita sa protest camp at nakikiisa sa laban ng PALEA laban sa kontraktwalisasyon. Ilan sa naunang pumunta sa picketline ay si Sandy Andolong at May Paner o mas kilalang Juana Change.

Ilan sa bandang tutugtog ay Outsource Band, Makuri Makuru, Milky Summer, Mary's Palm, Suicidal Genius, OG Sacred at LTNS. Ang kantahan mamaya ay tinatawag na “Concert for the 99%: A Solidarity Night for the Workers and the Poor.” Ang katawagang 99% ay pinasikat ng
Occupy Wall Street
movement sa Amerika at tumutukoy sa malaking mayorya ng mamamayan na naghihirap sa kabila ng karangyaan ng iilan o ng 1%.

Hindi rin ito ang unang pagkakataon na magkakaroon ng concert sa protest camp sapagkat tuwing Sabado ay madalas na may bands na sumusuporta sa pamamagitan ng pagkanta at pagtatanghal. Noong Oktubre ay mga members ng grupong Dakila ang nag-concert sa kabila ng malakas na buhos ng ulan.

Ang temang 99% din ang mensaheng ipapabatid ng pagkilos sa Nobyembre 30. Libu-libong manggagawa nag magrarali sa Mendiola nang tanghali bago mag-motorcade papuntang protest camp ng PALEA sa hapon.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Labor rights group lead global boycott of PAL

Press Release
November 25, 2011
PALEA

The Washington DC-based group International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) yesterday led the global call for a boycott of Lucio Tan-owned Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Air Philippines (AirPhil) in support of the embattled Philippine Airlines Employees Association. ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide.

ILRF is calling on its network of labor groups, civil society organizations and the general public to boycott PAL and AirPhil until the locked-out PALEA members are reinstated to their regular jobs. “We welcome the boycott call as a form of solidarity for PALEA. It will put pressure on PAL and the government which both remain deaf to the demands and plight of PAL employees. The unity of the 99% both here and abroad will be the key to winning the fight against the outsourcing scheme of Lucio Tan who represents the 1%,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

The launch of the global call was timed for the start of the peak season for airline travel and PAL’s announced return to normal operations yesterday. PALEA however disputes PAL’s claims and cited recent several hours and days of delays in international flights as indicators. Rivera also asked the media investigate the results of the recently concluded US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) audit of PAL. “The results of the audit will serve to validate PALEA’s assertions that the outsourcing scheme is a failure, and that safety and service has been compromised by the untrained and overworked scabs that are now operating the flights,” he added.

ILRF is running on its website an online petition for the boycott of PAL and AirPhil (http://action.laborrights.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3183). Once the petition is signed, messages of concern about PALEA will be sent to President Benigno Aquino III, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. and PAL CEO Jaime Bautista. ILRF has also sent by email notices about the boycott campaign to thousands in its mailing list.

In its mass mailing, ILRF argues that “We know that the airlines cannot withstand a boycott. PAL and AirPhil rely on end-of-year holidays travel for their profit line. If a large enough group of us join the boycott publicly, we will have an impact.”

In response to the ILRF boycott appeal, the global union International Transport Workers Federation has forwarded a similar call with a link to the ILRF petition so recipients can sign up. The largest trade union portal in the world, Labourstart (http://labourstart.org/), has also posted an article on its site with a link to the boycott petition.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

PALEA holds protest; disputes PAL’s alleged return to normalcy

Press Release
November 24, 2011
PALEA

Members of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) will troop to the Pasay Hall of Justice this afternoon in support of several colleagues who are charged in a civil case filed by Philippine Airlines. Judge Racquelen Vasquez of Pasay Regional Trial Court Branch 116 will hear at 2:00 p.m. today PAL’s complaint in which they ask for the dismantling of the protest camp.

Today’s protest also coincides with the resumption of normal operations by PAL as per its announcement yesterday. PALEA however disputes this claim and disparages it as a “praise release.” Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chair, “PAL’s operations remain abnormal as exposed by the 3-day delay in a Los Angeles-Manila flight last November 17 and another seven-hour delay in a Manila-Bangkok flight last Sunday. But these are just the tip of the iceberg as most of the flight issues are unreported by the media or covered up.”

“We suggest that the media investigate the results of the recently concluded US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) audit of PAL as an indicator of the alleged normalization of operations. A third-party audit such as the FAA’s is an objective guide rather than PAL’s self-serving claims. The results of the audit will serve to validate PALEA’s assertions that the outsourcing scheme is a failure, and that safety and service has been compromised by the untrained and overworked scabs that are now operating the flights,” Rivera added.

Meanwhile PALEA remains confident that the civil case being heard by Judge Vasquez will be dismissed. “PALEA’s protest camp arose out of the labor dispute between
PAL and PALEA and thus jurisdiction properly resides in the labor no civil courts. In any case, a picketline or campout is an activity allowed by law. What is illegal is the forcible and violent dispersal of a picketline as what was attempted last October 29 by hired goons,”
Rivera explained.

Seven PALEA members were injured in the daybreak attack while one of the paid goons was apprehended and confessed to the police that they were hired by management for P200.

The afternoon rally by PALEA is likewise a buildup activity for the coming November 30 protest by labor groups. Thousands of workers are expected to lead the commemoration of Bonifacio Day with a mobilization at Mendiola followed by a motorcade to the PALEA protest camp. On Saturday, a pre-November 30 concert will be held at the campout to be emceed by concerned artist and TV personality Tado Jimenez.

PALEA magpoprotesta kasabay ng diumano pagbabalik sa normal ng PAL

Press Release
November 24, 2011
PALEA

Susugod sa Pasay Hall of Justice ang mga miyembro ng Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) mamayang hapon habang dinidinig ang kaso ng Philippine Airlines (PAL) laban sa protest camp ng grupo. Mamayang alas dos ay may hearing ang Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) sa hiling ng PAL na tanggalin ang protest camp na tinutulan naman ng PALEA sapagkat bahagi ito ng kanilang protesta laban sa tanggalan at kontraktwalisasyon sa kompanya.

Sumabay din ang protesta sa araw na ito na inanusyo ng PAL na pagbabalik sa normal ng kanilang operasyon. Sagot naman ng PALEA na press release lang ito sapagkat anang grupo, nananatiling abnormal ang operasyon ng PAL. Bilang patunay, binanggit ng PALEA ang 3-day delay sa isang Los Angeles-Manila flight noong Nobyembre 17 and ang seven-hour delay sa Manila-Bangkok flight nitong Linggo.

“Mas marami pang aberya ang nagagap sa operasyon ng PAL dahil sa kabiguan ng outsourcing plan at kapalpakan ng untrained at overworked na mga iskirol na nagtatrabaho kapalit ng PALEA members. Di lang ito nauulat sa media. Mungkahi namin sa media na imbestigahan ang resulta ng kakatapos lang na audit ng US Federal Aviation Authority para malaman ang katotohanan kung balik sa normal na talaga ang PAL,” paliwanag ni Gerry Rivera, pangulo ng PALEA.

Paniwala din ni Rivera na madi-dismiss ang kaso ng PAL sa Pasay RTC. “Sa isang labor dispute, normal na nagtatayo ng picketline o protest camp at kinikilala ito ng batas. Hindi ito iligal. Ang bawal ay ang pwersahan at marahas na pagbubuwag ng protest camp gaya ng sinubukang gawin ng mga upahang goons noong Oktubre 29,” ani Rivera. Pito ang nasugatan sa hanay ng PALEA habang nahuli ang isa mga umatake na umamin sa pulis na binayaran sila ng management sa halagang P200 bawat isa.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

PALEA to rally at Pasay Hall of Justice amidst threats against protest camp

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHAT: PALEA to hold rally as RTC hears PAL case vs. protest camp

WHEN:  Tomorrow, November 24, 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Pasay Hall of Justice at City Hall compound


DETAILS: The PALEA rally is timed for the Regional Trial Court’s hearing of the PAL civil case calling for the dismantling of the protest camp outside the In-Flight Center. The protest is also part of PALEA’s continuing vigilance against renewed threats to the camp out.

The protest also coincides with the announcement by PAL that it resumes full operations tomorrow. PALEA however insists that operations remain abnormal as revealed by recently reported incidences of a three-day delay in a Los Angeles-Manila flight and seven-hour delay in a Manila-Bangkok flight.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It’s the 99%, not Gloria, who are the real victims of injustice in this country

 
Press Release
November 16, 2011


The Partido ng Mangagawa (PM) today said it is the 99% and not former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who are the real victims of tyranny and injustice in this country. Members of PM and the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) held a 2:00 p.m. rally at the Our Lady of the Airways Parish at the corner of Sucat Road and MIA Road to air their sentiments on the alleged escape of the Arroyos.
Earlier today the groups also joined running priest Fr. Robert Reyes in a picket at the Supreme Court, a day after the high tribunal allowed the former President, who is facing criminal charges, to seek medical treatment abroad. They brought placards which read: “Itlog ni Topacio ibigay kay PNoy para tumindig vs Lucio Tan,” “Panagutin si GMA sa pagnanakaw, pandaraya at pagsisinungaling. Panagutin si PNoy sa pang-aapi sa manggagawa,” “Wag patakasin si GMA sa pagkakasala sa bayan. Wag patakasin si PNoy sa pagkakasala sa manggagawa ng PAL.”
“Gloria was merely banned from leaving the country for a while, whereas thousands of PAL workers and several millions of contractuals, unemployed and underemployed out there are being denied the right to live decent lives,” stated PALEA president and PM vice chair Gerry Rivera.
Renato Magtubo, PM national chair, agreed with the position of DoJ Secretary Leila De Lima in invoking a judicial process available to all, in this case a motion for reconsideration, to take its course before Gloria is finally allowed to travel and seek medical treatment abroad. He said that “The Pinoy Bonnie and Clyde should not be allowed to escape from facing cases of stealing, cheating and lying. They will not get any sympathy from oppressed workers in their attempt to fly out of the country and out of reach of justice.”
“As to PAL’s implementation of its outsourcing plan we stand by our position that outsourcing should not be implemented while the case remains pending before the Court of Appeals,” said Rivera.
Unfortunately thousands of PAL workers were thrown out of work since October 1, 2011 when De Lima’s boss, President Benigno Aquino, allowed Lucio Tan to proceed in firing 2,600 its regular employees and outsource their jobs to third party service providers in clear violation of the Constitution, the Labor Code and international conventions. 
The only difference between the two cases, Magtubo added, is that PAL’s outsourcing was motivated by corporate greed while Gloria’s bid was a desperate attempt to escape looming imprisonment.
“Indeed, the country’s justice system is more ill than the ailing Gloria,” concluded Magtubo.

PALEA joins Global Day of Action for Qantas workers

Press Release
November 16, 2011
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) picketed the Qantas office and Australian embassy in a show of solidarity for the embattled workers of the Australian flag carrier. “We extend the hand of solidarity to our brothers and sisters at Qantas who are for fighting for job security, decent pay and better working conditions. The struggles they are waging mirror the same demands that we are currently fighting for at PAL,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

Members of PALEA picketed the Qantas office at a building in Paseo de Roxas in Legaspi Village, Makati by 11:00 a.m. After holding a short program and chanting slogans in support of Qantas workers, the group then proceeded to the Australian embassy in the RCBC Plaza along
Ayala Ave.

The picket is in response to the Global Day of Action for Qantas employees who are facing an intransigent management bent on outsourcing and union busting. The International Transport Workers Federation, a global union federation of some 5 million workers in 155 countries, called the day of action.

Earlier today, PALEA joined Fr. Robert Reyes and other groups in a prayer rally at the Supreme Court in protest at the temporary restraining order issued against the hold order against former President Gloria Arroyo and her husband Mike Arroyo. “The Arroyos are not getting any sympathy from workers in their attempt to escape the cases of plunder and electoral fraud. It is not the Arroyos but the workers, the 99%, who are victims of injustice by the government,” Rivera explained.

In Makati, the PALEA protesters shouted “Ang laban ng Qantas ay laban ng PALEA. We are all Qantas workers.” Rivera explained that “PALEA condemns the drive by Qantas to slash labor costs, undercut labor standards and weaken job security, all in the name of competitiveness. This is a mere myth as Qantas top management has taken salary hikes while forcing sacrifices on workers.”

The Australian labor court lifted the unprecedented Qantas lockout last October 29 and gave the three Qantas unions and management 21 days to negotiate an agreement before the issue is submitted for arbitration. “The global day of action will give the Qantas unions leverage in its bargaining with management. We are saying to Qantas that the workers of the world are supporting their employees in their demands for pay and job security guarantees,” Rivera argued.

 The Qantas union Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) had expressed solidarity for PALEA after some 2,400 its members were retrenched as part of a controversial outsourcing scheme that has been slammed as “a bid to demolish job security and also bust the union.”

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blacklisted PALEA member returns from US, rejoins protest

Press Release
November 12, 2011
PALEA

A member of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) who was refused boarding by Philippine Airlines (PAL) for allegedly being on a “blacklist” of protesting employees, returned from the United States today and vowed to rejoin the fight against contractualization. Belle Savellano and her family arrived from Taipei on an Eva Airways flight around noon today. Last November 6, PAL denied to fly Savellano and six members of her family despite holding tickets for the Los Angeles-Manila flight.

“It is good to be back home even after the petty persecution I experienced at the hands of PAL. My husband and children who should have been at work and school early this week, and even my 80-year mother suffered from PAL’s harassment of its protesting employees,” stated Savellano.

Meanwhile PALEA welcomed Savellano back to the protest. “Belle will be warmly received by her PALEA colleagues in the protest camp. Unfortunately, further harassment awaits Belle as the threat to disperse the campout continues to this day. A few days ago, PAL filed criminal charges against the PALEA 41 just to bully them into accepting the separation package and applying as contractuals in the service providers,” said Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

Yesterday the PALEA campout was the scene of renewed tension as a firetruck and scores of police accompanied a shuttle bus of PAL that went inside the In-Flight Center (IFC). But no untoward incident happened as PALEA members simply watched the bus arrive and depart from the compound.

PALEA has been questioning PAL’s insistence in operating the IFC since its in-flight catering and airport services have already been closed down. Rivera asserts that “Evidently PAL will allow Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen use of the IFC which means the service providers are nothing but illegal labor-only contractors.”

Representatives from PM-USA and Filipino-American groups BANTAY Pilipinas-Los Angeles, Alliance Philippines and Echo Park Community Coalition earlier called on the public especially Filipino-Americans to boycott PAL as the groups condemned the harassment tactics of the company against PALEA members.

Savellano, a PALEA member who worked for PAL for more than 28 years, is one of some 2,400 employees locked out after PALEA’s protest last September 27. Savellano and family flew to the US on October 19 to visit their relatives in San Diego using her employee travel benefit that was approved before the lock out. On October 23, PAL issued a memo that renders Savellano’s return ticket useless.

The Fil-Am groups vowed to increase its efforts to campaign for the boycott of PAL until the flag carrier has heeded the demands of PALEA for the return to their regular jobs. They believe that the fight against corporate greed is exemplified in the struggle of PALEA. They jointly declared that “The oppression of PALEA is a reflection of the plight of ordinary workers all over the world. We have to fight back as we are all PALEAns!”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

PALEA says criminal charges against 41 members is just another harassment

Press Release
November 10, 2011
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) declared that the criminal charges filed by Philippine Airlines (PAL) against 41 of its members are just part of the continuing harassment of its peaceful protest camp. “PAL is using the courts to bully our members in to submission. The filing of charges left and right is meant to coerce PALEA members to avail of separation package and to apply as contractuals in Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen which are gravely in need of the trained expertise of these workers,” announced Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

PALEA is confident that similar to the dismissal of PAL’s motion for a temporary restraining order against the campout by Pasay Judge Maria Rosario Ragasa, the criminal charges will also be found without merit. “All the incidents at the protest camp arose out of and involve the labor dispute between PAL and PALEA and thus jurisdiction properly resides in the National Labor Relations Commission or the Labor Department,” Rivera explained.

He argued that “The big question is: Why is PAL trying to operate the In-Flight Center (IFC) when its in-flight catering and airport services have already been closed down? Evidently PAL will allow Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen use of the IFC which means the service providers are nothing but illegal labor-only contractors.”

Rivera also described the incident involving the PAL truck that attempted to leave the PAL In-Flight Center last October 29 as “a diversionary tactic while hired goons attacked the protest camp.” Rivera added that “The PAL truck tried to leave the compound accompanied by a phalanx of security guard in full riot gear. But despite their overwhelming number vis-avis a handful of PALEA members, the PAL guards retreated when the attack on the other end of the protest camp was already proceeding.”

He recounted that “At around 5:45 am, some 40 hired goons attacked the PALEA protest camp while women and children were still sleeping. Armed with long sticks and stones, the goons destroyed tents in half of the campout and injured seven PALEA members in the violent daybreak. One of the goons was apprehended and confessed in a sworn testimony to the police that they were paid by management. In a new outsourcing scheme, PAL had employed the services of a goons-provider to undertake the dispersal attempt.”

PALEA is asking the public to “Look at the complete picture. Be a critical judge.”