March 19, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) insisted that the expected $1.6 billion profit of Philippine Airlines (PAL) for the fiscal year ending in March 2011 should be shared with its workers through a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). “PAL should start CBA negotiations now without any conditions. PAL employees deserve their part in the bountiful fruits of production,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chair.
PALEA also announced that more mass actions are planned for the coming week since they still have not received a counter-proposal from management. In the conciliation hearing last March 14 at the Department of Labor and Employment, PAL promised to open CBA negotiations within two weeks but subject to certain conditions. “Among others, a torch parade next week by hundreds of PAL employees is in the drawing boards,” explained Rivera.
He added that “Amidst the 70th year celebration of PAL last week, Lucio Tan declared that the company’s success was as much due to the hard work of its dedicated crew. Unfortunately PAL under Lucio Tan does not match deeds with words. We cannot feed our families with press releases from PAL. Through hard work PAL workers created $1.6 billion in profit in just one year and in return PAL plans to layoff 2,600 employees. The separation package of P2 billion is a drop in the bucket compared to $1.6 billion.”
Rivera furthered that “The labor dispute remains unresolved until PAL makes good on its promise that CBA negotiations actually start.” PALEA announced that it is already preparing to hold a strike vote “both as a legal requirement of the law before it can hold a strike and as an expression of PAL employee’s determination to fight for the right to collective bargaining and security of tenure.”
“In just one year, PAL can accumulate $1.6 billion in profit despite the global crisis and in the face of oil price hikes. What is the secret? The PAL-PALEA CBA has been suspended for almost 13 years already and in that period the wages, benefits and protection of employees have stagnated. Moreover when outsourcing is implemented, labor cost savings thorough contractualization will inflate PAL’s profits even more. No wonder that Lucio Tan is the second richest Filipino in the Forbes list of billionaires. He has become richer from outsourcing and CBA moratorium,” Rivera elaborated.