Saturday, March 26, 2011

PALEA regrets P-Noy decision on PAL, prepares for a strike

March 26, 2011

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) expressed frustrations over the decision rendered by the Office of the President on the outsourcing issue in PAL even as it has yet to receive an official copy of the order.

“Sinubukan naming dumaan sa sinasabing tuwid na landas ni P-Noy, yun pala ang Malacanang ay ikalawa na rin palang tahanan ni Lucio Tan,” said Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

“We are very frustrated with P-Noy,” a furious Rivera said, virtually accusing the President and his men, specifically Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr., of conspiring with Lucio Tan in facilitating the legalization of labor contractualization in the country.

Rivera said the conspiracy was evident when PAL itself broke the news to the media even before the official announcement was made, meaning it has prior knowledge of the decision long before it was announced last Friday.

It was also this prior knowledge, Rivera cites, as the main reason why the management kept on delaying the negotiation for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with PALEA confident that P-Noy ever since was on the side of Lucio Tan.

The outsourcing plan will cause the layoff of some 2,600 regular employees of PAL and their eventual shift to contractual employment to third party service providers. The plan will eventually weaken PALEA and be profitable for PAL as contractual workers do not have job security and receive lesser benefits compared to regular workers.

“PAL wanted to negotiate with the dead PALEA and was able to convince the President and his men to lead the funeral before it sits down with zombies for a new CBA,” said Rivera.

PM chair Renato Magtubo on his part said the OP decision sends a chilling message to the labor front: that outsourcing and contractualization is not only legal but a desired labor and economic policy of the Aquino administration.

“The flag carrier should not be allowed to take pride in spreading P-Noy’s legacy of legalizing the scourge of contractualization,” said the labor leader and former partylist representative.

Preparing for a strike

PALEA is already preparing for the requirements for the strike before the OP decision came out. In the strike vote held last Wednesday, more than 70% of PALEA members came out and 95% of them voted for yes, with only 4% voting no.

“PALEA asks for the support of our fellow Filipinos and from 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 the CBA moratorium and contractualization,” Rivera insisted.

A labor unity meeting convened in Quezon City this afternoon gathered militant and moderate labor groups in support of PALEA’s fight. They expressed opposition to the OP decision and full support to all future PALEA actions.

“The workers movement stands as one in solidarity with PALEA’s strike for regular jobs and labor rights. PAL is so insensitive it refuses 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 unrests and disasters abroad,” stated PM’s Magtubo.

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