Friday, March 25, 2011

PALEA all set for strike as 95% vote yes

Press Release
March 25, 2011

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) is set to hold a work stoppage at Philippine Airlines (PAL) as 95% voted yes in the strike poll conducted last Wednesday. Some 70% of PALEA members turned out for the strike vote and a mere 4% voted no.

“The massive vote for a strike is an expression of protest at the 13-year long suspension of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and the planned contractualization amidst PAL’s $1.6 billion yearly profit. Our demand for new CBA negotiations has remained unheeded for the past five months thus we are forced to go on strike. A strike can still be stopped if PAL stops breaking promises and instead opens negotiations without any preconditions,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

PALEA finished tallying the votes late last night from all PAL offices and outlying stations and this morning submitted the results to the Department of Labor and Employment in time for another conciliation meeting. In the last strike vote conducted last December, some 86% voted yes.

“PALEA asks for the support of our fellow Filipinos, and our brothers and sisters in the labor movement. The CBA moratorium is a man-made tsunami that has ravaged on our working conditions and the planned outsourcing is another disaster awaiting PAL workers. Lucio Tan is becoming richer from CBA moratorium and contractualization,” Rivera insisted.

Tomorrow afternoon a labor unity meeting will be convened in Quezon City where moderate to militant labor groups will gather in support of PALEA’s fight. “The workers movement stands as one in solidarity with PALEA’s strike for regular jobs and labor rights. PAL is insensitive for refusing to share its $1.6 billion profit with its workers through a CBA and for planning to layoff 2,600 employees while tens of thousands of OFW’s are returning from unrest and disaster abroad,” argued Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

“The strike vote is not baseless as PAL claims. Instead it is management’s position that the CBA exclude any provisions on outsourcing that is baseless. The law provides that a CBA can cover any and all issues affecting the terms and conditions of employment,” Rivera argued.

The results of the strike vote were reflected in the demands aired in the torch parade by several hundred PAL employees. They assembled at the PAL Nichols gate 2 at 5:30 p.m. and then marched to the Our Lady of the Airways Parish for short program and prayer rally. “PAL workers also voted by their feet for a strike and against the CBA moratorium,” insisted Rivera.

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