September 30, 2011
The Philippine Airline Employees Association (PALEA) holds a big protest at the airport today, the last day of work for 2,600 employees affected by the outsourcing plan of Philippine Airlines (PAL). PALEA challenged PAL to open talks in order to resolve the dispute in the face of continuing flight disruptions which the union claims is due to the failure of the outsourcing plan.
“It is as clear as day that the outsourcing plan is a failure and PAL does not have the manpower to normalize its operations. We call on PAL to end the lockout of its employees and halt the premature implementation of the outsourcing plan pending the final decision of the courts,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.
PALEA is calling on its members to report for duty at the protest campout at the gates of the PAL In-Flight Center. The protest will start with a 3:00 p.m. march from the Our Lady of the Airways Parish (OLAP) to the In-Flight Center. Labor and church groups supporting PALEA will join the protest at OLAP. At 5:00 pm a mass will be officiated then leaders of PALEA and allied groups will speak about the problem of contractualization.
In response to the claim of Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas that PALEA reneged on a promise not to hold a protest during typhoon, Rivera once more clarified that they only agreed to coordinate street rallies in advance so that traffic can be managed. “As to a protest at our workplaces, of course we will not coordinate it with them. If we did that, then PAL and the police will not even allow us to enter the airport and offices. Look at what they did during our protest, they forcibly evicted employees and hurt some in the process,” he elaborated.
Rivera added “But it must be remembered that we repeatedly warned the public that PALEA will hold a protest that will paralyze PAL’s operations. Apparently nobody believed our warning especially since PAL kept on assuring passengers that no flight disruption will happen. So now who is to blame for the inconvenience?”
PALEA announced that more protests are scheduled and that today’s big protest is not a “last hurrah.” Rivera insisted that “The protest is already spreading to the outlying stations with rallies to be held today in
Bacolod and Davao, and the tomorrow in Cebu. The fight against layoff and contractualization will continue until PAL’s lockout is ended and PAL employees return to their regular jobs. The protest will take different forms in the coming days such as another PALEA family day to involve our spouses and children in the issue. We will be campaigning too in the campuses to inform the youth about the pernicious impact of contractualization on our nation’s future.”