September 15, 2011
On the eve of the extended deadline for terminated employees of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to sign up for the service providers, the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) claimed that the outsourcing plan is facing difficulties. “PAL’s outsourcing plan cannot fly or even takeoff because of the unity and defiance of PALEA members,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
Rivera declared that the overwhelming majority of the 2,600 employees who will be affected by the mass layoff and outsourcing plan have not signed the termination notices sent to them and even fewer have signed up to work for the three service providers. “Of the few employees who availed of the separation package, a significant number have already made affidavits of retraction alleging that they only accepted the termination under duress and with deceit,” he revealed.
Tomorrow PALEA is holding a big protest rally to serve as a final warning to PAL against enforcing a lockout on the workers. “The one week extension of the original September 9 deadline for terminated workers to apply to the service providers is proof of management’s failure to coerce and cajole PALEA members into accepting the mass layoff. Still PAL had not retreated from its announcement that September 30 is the last day of work for laid off workers,” Rivera explained.
PALEA also denounced the termination of an additional 55 customer service agents (CSA’s) who were hired in batches last June and July. “These CSA’s were hired on a six-month contract but PAL early this week arbitrarily pre-terminated their employment for no reason at all and were told that October 15 is their last day of work. The fate of these CSA’s is a preview of the life of workers in the service providers. Their working conditions will be at the whim of the company and they can be fired at will. They will have no voice in the workplace and no union to protect them,” Rivera elaborated.
PALEA continues to slam the contractual working conditions at the service providers. Rivera gave a concrete example of the downgrading of pay and status for PAL employees, “A senior PAL reservation agent with five years of work experience receives PhP 22,400 in salaries and allowances but is being offered by service provider SPI Global a wage of only PhP 10,000. This is not even the minimum salary and clearly a starvation wage for a family breadwinner.”
More than a thousand PAL employees are expected to attend the big protest tomorrow with hundreds more participants coming from labor and church groups supporting PALEA’s cause. The protesters will assemble by 2:30 p.m. at PAL Nichols Gate 2 then march to the Our Lady of the Airways Parish at the corner of MIA and Sucat Roads for a program that will last until 8:00 p.m.