September 19, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) held a human chain protest this afternoon at the airport as the September 30 termination date of some 2,600 Philippine Airlines (PAL) employees loomed. PALEA also claimed that an overwhelming number of PAL employees have defied the outsourcing plan by not accepting the separation package and not signing up for the work in the service providers.
“As per our monitoring no more than 15% of the total affected employees have claimed the separation offer from management and even less than 7% have applied for jobs in contractual agencies Sky Logistics, Sky Kitchen and SPI Global,” Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chair revealed three days after the lapse of the extended deadline for PAL workers to shift to the service providers.
He added that “Today’s human chain protest is part of the continuing campaign to stop the mass layoff and labor contractualization at PAL. PALEA will not stop until we win this fight.” Tomorrow, eve of the anniversary of martial law, PALEA will join other workers groups in a rally at Mendiola to slam government repression in the labor front. On Wednesday, PALEA will assemble its membership on the occasion of its 65th anniversary.
PALEA is yet to decide whether to attend a dialogue called by the Labor Undersecretary Hans Cacdac tomorrow afternoon. The Labor Department said that it is convening the dialogue as part of its conciliation process to avert strikes. PALEA has however not filed any notice of strike and has declared that its actions are simply protests against a lockout by PAL.
“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. Nobody will work in the service providers since they are bogus and unregistered, and also such will mean a downgrading to contractual status. To cite an example, a senior PAL reservation agent with five years of work experience receives P22,400 in salaries and allowances but is being offered by 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,” Rivera explained.
Meanwhile PALEA clarified media reports that their protest today is in support of the nationwide strike of PISTON. Rivera stated that “PALEA and PISTON are fighting for separate and distinct causes. Although similar to PAL employees, jeepney drivers have the right to legitimate protest to seek redress of grievances. We hope our friends in media will be more accurate in their reports since there were also incorrect stories that last Friday’s rally was to commemorate PALEA’s anniversary instead of to protest contractualization.”