Thursday, September 8, 2011

A fight for the dignity and future of Filipino workers

Press Statement
Labor and Church Groups
September 8, 2011

The labor and church groups represented in today’s press conference state our support to the fight of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) for regular jobs and against labor contractualization. Practically the entire labor movement is united and key church institutions are in solidarity behind PALEA’s fight.

We say to our brothers and sisters in PALEA: Hindi kayo nag-iisa!

The unity of the sectors of our society in the people power uprising brought down a dictator. This time the solidarity of labor and church groups in a labor power protest will defeat the plan of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to impose contractualization and bust PALEA.

PALEA’s fight is not just for the rights and welfare of PAL employees. The fight against contractualization is a struggle for the dignity and future of all workers.

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. The blank check given to outsourcing as a management prerogative contradicts clear provisions of the PAL-PALEA collective bargaining agreement, the stipulations of the Labor Code and even jurisprudence by the courts.

Further, allowing PAL to layoff some 2,600 workers despite some PhP5 billion in yearly income is a policy shift that says to employers: fire-all-you-can. It mimics the fire-at-will employment relations in the United States where huge profitable corporations outsource and layoff with abandon.

But we should be forewarned by the failure of such American-style labor relations. It brought crisis and recession instead of progress and productivity. It worsened the unequal distribution of wealth that directly led to the Great Recession of 2008 and even the threat of a double-dip recession today.

In our country, unemployment and contractualization has maintained the underdevelopment of our domestic economy and forced Filipinos to go abroad just to find their daily bread. Kaya naman, oras na para sabihing tama na, sobra na, laban na.

It has been said that PALEA is the last line of defense against contractualization. We say too 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. A victory for PALEA will benefit all Filipino workers.

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