Monday, February 21, 2011

PALEA calls on PNoy to deny outsourcing as PAL regains profitability

Press Release
February 21, 2011

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) today called on the Office of the President to reverse the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz regarding the outsourcing and layoff plan of Philippine Airlines (PAL) as the flag carrier has regained profitability. “Good governance means good decisions. And in this case, it will be obviously be a bad resolution for PNoy to affirm the Baldoz decision when PAL is securing sustained profits in millions of dollars,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

“We ask on PNoy to heed the call of his bosses—the ordinary workers—and protect regular jobs at PAL in view of its healthy financial situation,” Rivera insisted.

PAL earned $15.1 million in profits for the third quarter of its fiscal year according to news reports last Saturday. PALEA declared further that PAL also posted profits in the first and second quarters, amounting to $31.6 million and $28.2 million respectively. This substantial income was net of a hefty payment of a loan in the amount of $46.5 million in June 2010, PALEA also stated.

He added that “The incomes in just the first and third quarters, or $46.7 million or just above PhP2 billion, is already equivalent to the supposed total separation package for the 2,600 employees to be laid off permanently. Imagine then the great savings and additional profits to be generated by an outsourced and contractual workforce at PAL. So is outsourcing a means for survival or a scheme to increase profits?”

PALEA has been alleging that PAL’s planned outsourcing is a scheme to bust the union and cheapen labor costs. The union is also pushing for collective bargaining negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year moratorium of the collective bargaining agreement.

“What is needed is not a partial settlement that allows gradual outsourcing but full protection for the regular jobs and right to collective bargaining of PAL employees,” Rivera argued in reference to a proposal during the mediation meeting at Malacanang last February 11. As floated in the meeting, a partial settlement will mean either a gradual outsourcing of some departments, or a higher separation pay for workers to be laid off. PALEA rejected outright the partial settlement.

“Outsourcing at PAL will ruin the livelihood of thousands of employees’ similar to how contractualization at Eton—another Lucio Tan company—is resulting to deaths and injuries of scores of workers. In whatever form, contractualization penalizes workers but rewards capitalists,” Rivera concluded.


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