Thursday, September 8, 2011

Big labor and church groups reiterate support for PALEA as major battle looms

Press Release
September 8, 2011

Big labor groups and key church institutions declared their continuing solidarity for the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) in a press conference today in Manila. Led by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the labor and church organizations committed to support PALEA should a major battle occur due to the plan of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to terminate some 2,600 by October 1.

“Management has pushed PAL workers to the wall and there is no other way but to fight back with all the weapons at our disposal. Thus we ask for the understanding of the riding public. Any inconvenience to the passengers and clients of PAL will be short-term but the benefits will be long-term,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

PALEA is asserting that the maintenance of regular jobs at PAL will ensure the safe operation of the flag carrier. Meanwhile the labor and church groups stated that the fight against contractualization is a struggle for the dignity and future of all workers. In a statement the groups said that “The decision of the Office of the President and PAL’s outsourcing plan is a blatant attempt to revise labor relations in the country and rollback workers rights to the Commonwealth era.”

Meanwhile PALEA decried the harassment by airport authorities in yesterday’s mass at the Terminal 2 chapel. Terminal manager Atty. Cecilio Bobila tried to block the use of the chapel but eventually acceded in the face of a crowd of PAL employees participating in the mass. Still the airport authorities shutdown the air conditioning and sound system in the chapel as the mass was being officiated by Fr. Joel Guinto, PALEA revealed.

“Despite harassment by wang-wangs in the airport authority, the active participation by PAL employees at yesterday’s prayer protest at the Terminal 2 chapel and noise barrage at the corner of MIA and Sucat Roads has revealed that the outsourcing plan will fail,” Rivera exclaimed.

Renato Magtubo, PM national chair, claimed that “A victory for PALEA will mean a big time rollback of contractualization. A victory for PALEA will be a major gain in the campaign to secure regular jobs for all workers and a decent future for all Filipinos.”

On Saturday afternoon at the Baclaran Church, PALEA will hold a “family day” where spouses and children of PAL employees can express and voice their sentiments on the planned layoff and outsourcing.

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