September 23, 2011
In reaction to news reports on the possible acquisition by Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) of Philippine Airlines (PAL) from Lucio Tan (LT), the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) stated that if his business model is also outsourcing and contractualization then it is unacceptable. “Contractualization is not ok whether of MVP or LT’s type,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.
Despite open denials from both the camps of Pangilinan and Tan, rumors persist of a buyout of PAL. Rivera added that “MVP is not a white knight but a black plague if his business model is more of the same contractualization. Furthermore PAL is not in need of a savior since it is a hugely profitable business with US$72.5 million in income for its 2010-2011 fiscal year.”
Rivera insisted that “The labor dispute can only be resolved if the present and any future owners of PAL maintain rather than destroy the job security of its workers. It is time for employers make a paradigm shift and craft business models that sustain regular jobs. Especially for the aviation industry, airline and passenger safety is ensured by regular employees not contractual workers whose work experience is no more than six months at a time and who are demoralized by low wages and bad working conditions.”
“Outsourcing will not make PAL lean and mean, instead it will simply make Lucio Tan even richer. The same number of employees will still be working as a whole, only that many would then be in contractual agencies which pay less in wages and benefits. To cite examples, senior reservation agents of PAL who receive some PhP22,400 in salaries and allowances will just be paid PhP10,000 in the PLDT-owned service provider SPI Global and master technicians in airport services are being offered a measly PhP11,111.50 wage in Sky Logistics,” Rivera revealed.
With a week to go before the effectivity date of PAL’s outsourcing plan, PALEA asserts that a tiny minority of workers have accepted the separation offer and even less have signed up for work in the service providers. “We know that no more than 15% of the total 2,600 affected employees have claimed the separation package and even less than 7% have applied for jobs as contractuals in the providers,” Rivera announced.
He also contested that PAL would become more efficient if outsourcing is implemented. “It is myth that the departments to be outsourced are non-core services. No PAL plane can fly without the labor of employees in the airport services, in-flight catering and flight reservations. These departments are in fact profit centers that generate revenues for PAL. It is also a misconception that PAL is overmanned. If PAL employees do not regularly perform overtime then operations are disrupted and flights are delayed,” Rivera elaborated.