February 9, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) flexes its muscles anew with a prayer rally today calling for the start of negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL). On Friday afternoon PALEA and PAL will meet at Malacanang for a mediation meeting called by the Office of the President (OP).
Hundreds of PALEA members and a delegation of supporters from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) marched from the PAL Nichols gate 2 at 2:30 pm to the Our Lady of the Airways Parish (OLAP) for a 4:00 pm mass. The union is pushing for CBA negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year CBA moratorium.
“Since 1998, the PALEA CBA has been suspended for 10 years and the moratorium was extended again for another two years under the old union leadership. It is time to negotiate better terms and conditions of employment for PAL ground employees,” insisted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair.
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. In the same meeting, PAL said that it will study PALEA’s proposal for manual of operations to protect frontline service workers from indignities and harassment in the wake of the complaint by ground attendant Sarah Bonnin-Ocampo against Rep. Eulogio Magsaysay.
“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,” Rivera clarified.
The OP letter signed by Ronaldo Geron, Assistant Executive Secretary, reads “Towards an amicable settlement of the labor dispute, and/or to elicit facts of information through clarificatory questions for the fair resolution thereof, you are hereby called to a conference on Friday, February 11, 2011 at 2:00p.m. Venue will be at the Conference Room, 4th floor, Mabini Hall, Malacanang compound.”
The theme of PALEA’s march and prayer rally today is “Stop mass layoff, Start CBA negotiations.” Rivera added that “CBA negotiations will be historic since it will mean the end of the dozen year moratorium.”