Monday, March 14, 2011

Hundreds of PALEA members rally for start of CBA negotiations

Press Release
March 14, 2011

As the second conciliation conference was being held, some 300 members of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) picketed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) this morning and called on it to order Philippine Airlines (PAL) to start negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The last conciliation meeting was fruitless with PAL adamant in refusing to negotiate until after a decision on the outsourcing plan. Last March 7 PALEA filed a notice of strike on the basis of unfair labor practice due to PAL’s refusal to bargain.

“The DOLE must uphold the law. It must order PAL to do its legal duty to bargain with PALEA,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair.

The mass action is an intensification of protests by PALEA to push for the start of CBA negotiations. More mass actions are planned in preparation for the holding of the strike to force PAL to open CBA negotiations.

PALEA is calling on its members to prepare for a strike as the means to oblige PAL to observe its duties under the law. “The notice of strike is the first of a series of steps that will lead to a strike at PAL,” Rivera announced.

“Despite the bountiful fruits of production, Lucio Tan as PAL owner refuses to share with his workers through a CBA and plans to squeeze even more profit from employees through contractualization,” declared Rivera in reaction to news that Tan is the second richest Filipino in the Forbes list of billionaires.

Rivera elaborated that “PAL’s argument that it will wait for a ruling on the outsourcing plan is an alibi for a de facto indefinite CBA moratorium. Whatever is the ruling by the Office of the President (OP) on the legality of the outsourcing plan, either the union or management will file a case at the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. This was the declaration both of PAL and PALEA in the last mediation meeting called by Malacanang. The outsourcing plan then cannot be executed pending a final judicial resolution which may take years considering the justice system.”

“The law does not provide for a plan to layoff union officers and members as a reason not to bargain. The CBA negotiation is distinct and separate from the outsourcing plan,” Rivera said in response to PAL’s position that it will only negotiate after the OP has made a ruling on the dispute regarding outsourcing.

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