Wednesday, September 7, 2011

PALEA renews protest as outsourcing deadline nears

Press Release
September 7, 2011

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) held a prayer protest this morning at the Terminal 2 chapel and then a noise barrage in the afternoon at the corner of
MIA Road
Sucat Road
. The protest actions are part of a renewed
campaign against the outsourcing plan as the September 9 deadline of Philippine Airlines (PAL) for workers to avail of separation package nears.

“The energetic participation by members in today’s protest activities shows that PAL management is failing in its attempt to prematurely implement the outsourcing plan by cajoling and coercing PALEA members into accepting the separation package. The workers united will never be defeated,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chair.

Tomorrow labor and church groups will hold a press conference in support of PALEA. Then on Saturday PALEA will hold a “family day” where spouses and children of PAL employees can express and voice their sentiments on the planned layoff and outsourcing. Meanwhile next week, the Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) is organizing a multisectoral support network for PALEA.

The CBCP-NASSA averred that “We express grave disappointment over the government’s manifest partiality towards PAL, whose recent financial report belies claims of ‘massive losses.’” Meanwhile Atty. Sonny Matula, president of the Federation of Free Workers also released a statement that asserted “If profitable enterprises, such as PAL, are allowed to wantonly retrench its workers, what would prevent enterprises who are earning enough to layoff their workers in the name of contractualization?”

According to PAL’s audited financial statement, the flag carrier earned a net profit of USD 72.5 million last fiscal year apart from paying its loans obligation of USD 46.5 million in 2010. “Apparently a PhP 5 billion income is not enough for Lucio Tan that he has to depress the wages and working conditions of PAL workers by turning them into contractual workers at service providers,” Rivera insisted.

PALEA slammed the terms and conditions of employment being offered at service providers to laidoff PAL employees. “The employment contracts that are being sent together with the termination notices are revealing. It exposes the dagdag-bawas offer to outsourced workers—less wages and benefits but more working hours,” stated Rivera.

Moreover, from regular employees of PAL, the outsourced workers will become contractual workers at the service providers. “PAL employees who have been working for 10, 20 or 30 years will be downgraded to probationary status for six months and after which he or she can simply be terminated after training other younger workers at the service providers,” Rivera claimed.

He said that most PAL employees to be terminated are being offered a monthly wage of just PhP 1111.50 for working eight hours a day for six days a week. In comparison he declared that as PAL workers they work 7 ½ a day for five days a week as stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement. “Outsourced employees will be working longer hours but be receiving smaller pay. Lowly PAL workers will sacrifice but Lucio Tan, already the second richest Filipino, will benefit,” Rivera said.

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