February 20, 2011
In reaction to news reports yesterday that Philippine Airlines (PAL) posted a $15.1 million profit for the third quarter of its fiscal year, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) asserted that the turnaround belies the need for the planned outsourcing and layoff. “This report pulls the rug from under the feet of management and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz. Since PAL is not in danger of going bankrupt and instead earning handsomely, then the contractualization scheme is not necessary, if it ever was,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) vice chair.
PALEA is calling on the Office of the President to take cognizance of the continued profitable operations of PAL. “In view of PAL’s robust status, the Office of the President should make the logical decision and do the right thing. That is, overturn the decision of Baldoz, stop the contractualization scheme at PAL and preserve 2,600 regular jobs. In the face of such facts, it would be outrageous for PNoy to affirm the Baldoz ruling. What is needed it not a partial settlement that allows gradual outsourcing but full protection for the security of tenure of PAL employees,” Rivera argued.
The union also clarified that aside from the $15.1 million third quarter profit, PAL’s first quarter profit was $31.6 million and second quarter profit was $28.2 million for a total net income of $74.9 million. Further PALEA reported that PAL paid a loan in the amount of $46.5 million in June 2010.
Rivera added that “The fact that PAL has not been losing and instead has been earning despite being unable to proceed with the contractualization scheme disproves any necessity for the outsourcing. It is almost a year already since PAL sent termination notices to its employees last April 2010 and nearly two years since it announced the planned outsourcing in August 2009.”
In the decision of Baldoz, the Labor Secretary argued that the losses suffered by PAL during the brief period of the global financial crisis were a lawful ground for the outsourcing plan. “With the turnaround in PAL’s finances, there is no more alibi for contractualization at PAL,” Rivera insisted.
The union is pushing for collective bargaining negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year moratorium of the collective bargaining agreement. PALEA renewed mass actions with a prayer rally last February 9 with the theme “Stop mass layoff, Start CBA negotiations.” Some 200 PALEA members and a delegation of supporters from PM marched from the PAL Nichols gate to the Our Lady of the Airways Parish for a mass.