April 1, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today announced that it is all systems go for its first nationwide strike since 1998 even as the Department of Labor and Employment makes a last ditch mediation effort. Big labor groups together with PALEA will hold a big rally at the airport this afternoon as a dress rehearsal for the work stoppage which can happen any day after the lapse of the strike ban today.
“PALEA is 100% ready for a strike that will paralyze the operations of PAL that in cahoots with the Aquino government wants to deny workers the right to regular jobs and a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The only thing that can prevent a strike is for PAL to heed the demand to stop outsourcing and open CBA negotiations without preconditions,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
At 5:00 p.m. today, more than a thousand PAL employees and members of big labor groups such as PM, TUCP, APL, Makabayan, NCL, BMP, PSLINK, the unions of PLDT, PNR and Fortune Tobacco will hold a big rally and torch parade at the Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. “This mass action is an expression of the unity of the labor movement in the common fight for regular jobs and against the government’s policy of contractualization. This is also a dress rehearsal for the nationwide strike,” explained Rivera.
Synchronized mass actions will also be staged in the key international airports of Cebu and Davao. The labor unity rally will be at 11:00 a.m. in Davao and then later at 4:00 pm in Cebu. Meanwhile in Bacolod, a coalition of labor groups called All Workers Alliance for Regular Employment and Against Contractualization (AWARE AKO) led by PALEA, PM, TUCP and APL will hold a presscon at 10:00 a.m. today.
Rivera insisted that “PAL will earn $1.6 billion in profit this year. Yet it refuses to share the fruits of production with its employees via a CBA. PAL’s workers have already sacrificed with a 12-year CBA suspension that has resulted in the stagnation of wages, benefits and working conditions. In contrast Lucio Tan has become even richer as a result of CBA moratorium and outsourcing.”