September 20, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) asserted today that the Supreme Court’s (SC) final decision in favor of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association’s (FASAP) on the illegal retrenchment case bolsters its position against the outsourcing plan of Philippine Airlines (PAL). “After 13 long years, the SC ruled with finality that PAL is guilty of illegal dismissing 1,400 flight crew at the height of the flag carrier’s financial troubles. Today with PAL awash in PhP 5 billion in income, the courts will clearly decide against the legality of terminating 2,600 ground crew if the judicial process is given due course,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
PALEA congratulated FASAP in its hard won victory. “We salute our brothers and sisters in FASAP for the justice they have achieved after a protracted legal battle. This is the reason we argue that the ruling of the Office of the President on the outsourcing plan is not yet final and executory pending final judicial resolution of the case,” Rivera clarified.
PALEA members continued its protests against the layoff and contractualization by participating in the joint labor rally this afternoon at Mendiola. The groups Church-Labor Conference, Koalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon and PM held the rally on eve of the anniversary of martial law to denounce government policies that suppress labor rights.
“It is as if martial law has not been lifted for the labor movement. The workers of PAL, Hanjin shipyard and Dusit Hotel are living examples of martial law in the labor front,” Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, argued. Tomorrow PALEA is celebrating its 65th anniversary with a vow to “defeat PAL’s union busting scheme masquerading as an outsourcing plan.”
The SC second division in a ruling dated September 7, 2011 dismissed PAL’s second motion for reconsideration and ordered PAL to reinstate 1,400 flight attendants with full backwages. PALEA noted that among the issues resolved by the SC was that retrenchment is valid only if alleged business losses are substantial, serious and actual, which PAL failed to prove for the case of the flight crew.
PALEA has a pending petition at the Court of Appeals (CA) against the OP decision on the outsourcing plan. “The flight attendants were dismissed in 1998 at a time when PAL was obviously facing loss losses but the courts nonetheless saw that the financial difficulties were not serious enough to merit mass layoff. Thus we believe that both the CA and SC will both rule against PAL’s outsourcing plan. Like the FASAP case, PAL argued for the outsourcing plan on supposed losses which has been disproved by the company’s own financial statements proving the flag carrier is highly profitable,” Rivera said.