Sunday, June 12, 2011

Labor dispute erupts anew at PAL

Press Release
June 12, 2011

Labor relations at Philippine Airlines (PAL) promises to become stormy again like the weather as the union Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) is opposing the national flag carrier’s plan to employ contractual workers of a service provider on June 16. PALEA returns to the streets tomorrow with a motorcade around the airport area to drum up resistance to the planned outsourcing.

“PALEA considers the temporary outsourcing of regular jobs to MacroAsia as a backdoor implementation of the controversial contractualization plan and a violation of the April 1 order of the Labor Secretary enjoining management and the union from engaging in any act that will exacerbate the labor dispute at PAL. If PAL pushes through with the plan on June 16, we will act accordingly to defend our jobs and the union,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chair.

Last April 1, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz imposed an assumption of jurisdiction order on the labor dispute at PAL which stopped PALEA from a planned strike and also enjoined the two parties from any acts that will worsen the labor dispute.

At 2:30 pm tomorrow, PALEA members will assemble at their headquarters in Paranaque for the motorcade that will proceed to PAL’s In-Flight Center near the Centennial Terminal and then on to the Nichols gate where other company offices are located.

“Tomorrow’s motorcade is just a preview of protests that will culminate on Thursday should PAL carry on with its de facto outsourcing plan despite our opposition and the Labor Secretary’s order,” insisted Rivera.

Last May 30, PAL informed PALEA of an acute manpower shortage for passenger handling due to the exodus of customer service agents who have sought greener pastures abroad and asked for the union’s cooperation in allowing MacroAsia to work the departure gates for a period of six months. PALEA rejected outright the proposal and suggested instead that the vacant positions be filled up by direct hiring instead of outsourcing to a service provider. PALEA even offered to help in rehiring former PAL employees and recalling trainees who were not hired due to a freeze hiring program.

Discussions between PAL and PALEA on these stop gap measures proceeded and last June 9 the union submitted a partial list of people interested in the position of customer service agents. “PALEA has extended the hand of assistance in solving the company’s manpower shortage. We expect that PAL will shake our hands in return instead of stabbing us in the back by outsourcing regular positions to contractual workers,” Rivera averred.

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