April 7, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) welcomed the solidarity expressed by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo in a meeting held yesterday. “We are glad that Bishop Pabillo supports RH for PALEA, that is regular na hanapbuhay. The solidarity of the Catholic Church strengthens the resolve of PALEA to defy the order of the Labor Secretary against a strike. It also bolsters our fight for regular jobs and against labor contractualization at
Airlines (PAL),” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa. Philippines
PALEA met Bishop Pabillo yesterday afternoon at the office of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) office in Intramuros in order to solicit support and coordinate plans. Bishop Pabillo committed to support the various activities of the labor groups, such as a workers caravan, to popularize the demands of PALEA and the call against contractualization.
He also declared backing for a planned letter of concern for President Benigno Aquino to be sent by the different labor groups. Big labor groups, including the TUCP, are critical of the Office of the President decision allowing Philippine Airlines to layoff some 2,600 employees and transform them into contractual workers in service providers.
Among other concrete activities, Bishop Pabillo was open to initiating a big meeting of advocates for PALEA. He also opened up the media network of the CBCP for the campaign against contractualization. PALEA and the other labor groups will be guests at the weekly press conference organized by the CBCP and the Radyo Veritas. Further Bishop Pabillo plans to lead a mass on the Labor Day commemoration of labor groups.
“We believe that church-labor solidarity is just as important as the labor unity forged in support of PALEA’s fight for regular jobs. This will not be a country fit for our children if no one will enjoy the dignity of a regular job. A regular job that provides decent wages, substantial benefits, security of tenure and the protection of a union should be the Filipino way of life. For this to be realized, employers need only be guided by Christian teachings on sharing the fruits of production,” Rivera asserted.
Aside from PALEA, the anti-contractualization coalition KONTRA, the federation UFSW, the labor unions of Fortune Tobacco and Philippine National Railways, and representatives from the Urban Missionaries and the Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns attended the meeting.
PALEA has not announced any date for the planned strike to paralyze PAL’s operations but has been patiently building support for it. Aside from soliciting the support of organized labor and the Catholic Church, PALEA is also building alliances with human rights groups, student and youth associations, and even lawyers and other advocates.