Monday, March 7, 2011

PALEA files notice of strike anew on PAL’s refusal to bargain

Press Release
March 7, 2011

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today filed another notice of strike (NOS) on the basis of unfair labor practice as Philippine Airlines (PAL) refuses to bargain with the ground crew union. At 10:35 a.m. PALEA’s NOS was submitted to the Department of Labor and Employment and was docketed as NCMB NCR 03-018-11.

“It has been six months since PALEA submitted its collective bargaining agreement (CBA) proposal to PAL. Moreover it has been 12 years since the CBA moratorium that should have lasted only ten years. PAL’s workers have suffered all through that time as we have not been able to improve our wages, benefits and working conditions. Management is engaging in unfair labor practice for refusing to bargain with PALEA as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

In October 8, 2010 PALEA submitted its CBA proposal to management which was received by no less than PAL President Jaime Bautista. It was in 1998 when the PAL-PALEA CBA was put on moratorium as a condition for the reopening of the flag carrier and as requirement for its rehabilitation. PAL however successfully got out of rehabilitation in 2007 ahead of schedule.

“PAL is evidently guilty of bad faith for backtracking on the talks for a new CBA. As late as January 27, PAL President Jimmy Bautista asked in a labor-management consultative council meeting that PALEA submits its panel of negotiators for the CBA talks, which we promptly did on January 31. But then PAL made an abrupt turnaround and in a February 16 letter to PALEA, announced that they will only start CBA negotiations after they implement the outsourcing plan which remains suspended as per the assumption of jurisdiction by the Office of the President,” Rivera explained.

He argued that “PAL however cannot arbitrarily refuse to bargain with PALEA now and insist that it will only hold CBA negotiations later. The CBA negotiations and the assailed outsourcing plan and are two separate issues. PAL has a duty to bargain as provided for in the Labor Code and it is illegal to refuse to because of an impending plan to layoff union officers and members. The right to collective bargaining is moreover enshrined in the Constitution and protected by the International Labor Organization’s Convention 98.”

Further PALEA slammed PAL’s refusal to bargain and intransigence on the outsourcing plan as “immoral and greedy” given the company’s profitability. Aside from a $15.1 million third quarter profit on its latest fiscal year, PAL’s first quarter profit was $31.6 million and second quarter profit was $28.2 million for a total net income of $74.9 million. PAL also paid a loan in the amount of $46.5 million in June 2010.

The union is pushing for collective bargaining negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year moratorium of the collective bargaining agreement. PALEA renewed mass actions with a prayer rally last February 9 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 for a mass. ###

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