March 22, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) is set to hold a strike vote tomorrow regarding Philippine Airlines management’s refusal to negotiate with the union. PALEA filed a notice to hold a strike vote early this morning at the offices of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), Office of the Secretary of Labor and Employment and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-NCR.
“We ask for the understanding of the people for the strike we are about to hold. PAL employees have endured almost 13 years of suspension of our collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and for five months PAL has sat on our request for bargaining negotiations. After all that sacrifice and now that PAL are expecting $1.6 billion in yearly profit, it plans to layoff 2,600 regular workers and make us contractuals in service providers. Enough is enough,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.
The strike vote will be held tomorrow at all PAL offices and outlying stations from Laoag to Cebu to Zamboanga. The results of the strike vote are expected by late Thursday. PALEA plans to submit the outcome of the strike vote to the DOLE on Friday. The actual strike can then commence after a lapse of seven days.
“We call on PAL to resolve the dispute by immediately opening CBA negotiations without preconditions. The issue has dragged on since PAL has been changing its mind erratically. They initially announced they were willing to negotiate. Then they said that they won’t until after the termination of half of PAL’s workforce. And now they insist that they will negotiate but only with preconditions that are unacceptable to the PAL workers,” Rivera explained.
He added that “We do not want to derail the evacuation efforts for our OFW’s by being forced to go on strike. But the retrenchment of 2,600 workers is also a man-made tsunami for the country. Still it is a disaster that can be prevented by management. The ball is in PAL’s court.”
“In just one year, PAL will accumulate $1.6 billion in profit despite the global crisis and in the face of oil price hikes. What is the secret? The wages, benefits and protection of employees have stagnated since the PAL-PALEA CBA has been suspended. 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.