February 14, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) issued a clarification and denial that it is considering a gradual implementation of outsourcing and higher separation pay as a form of settlement of the labor dispute. “Neither management or the union proposed such ideas in the mediation meeting called by the Office of the President last Friday. And we certainly will not agree to either gradual outsourcing or higher separation or both,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of the militant Partido ng Manggagawa.
“The only agreement reached at the mediation meeting was for Philippine Airlines (PAL) to submit its unaudited quarterly financial statements for the two quarters from April to September 2010 today. That is the only news that we were expecting to receive today, certainly not the wrong information that is coming out,” Rivera insisted.
PALEA said that they are giving Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte the benefit of the doubt whether she actually announced the alleged partial settlement of the PAL-PALEA labor dispute. A news report today by the ANC channel showed file footage of Valte while quoting her about the so-called partial settlement.
Rivera asserted that “We hope that Malacanang will issue its own clarification since such ‘wrong mistakes’ will not help the Office of the President in mediating PAL and PALEA. We made it clear in the mediation meeting that we will not agree to any outsourcing and layoff. Instead we put forward the position that the outsourcing plan can be the subject of the long-delayed collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.”
PALEA flexed its muscles anew with a prayer rally last Wednesday 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 (OLAP) for a mass. The union is pushing for CBA negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year CBA moratorium.
“PALEA must remain vigilant until the CBA negotiations actually start and our mass actions serve this purpose of alerting PAL and the government that we are not complacent. CBA negotiations will be historic since it will mean the end of the dozen year moratorium,” Rivera clarified.
Last January 27, in a union and management consultative meeting, PAL President Jaime Bautista asked PALEA to submit the names of its negotiating panel so that CBA negotiations may start. PALEA had already submitted its draft CBA proposal in October 8, 2010.