Sunday, September 25, 2011

PALEA slams PAL for employing scabs

Commotion at Terminal 2 tarmac 24 Sept 2011
Press Release
September 25, 2011

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today slammed Philippine Airlines (PAL) for illegally employing “scabs” in its operations. Yesterday a commotion occurred at the Terminal 2 tarmac as PALEA members confronted personnel of MacroAsia, a Lucio Tan-owned service provider, who were operating PAL catering trucks and planning to service Japan-bound flights of PAL. PALEA members were able to convince the MacroAsia employees to leave but airport police later arrived to investigate the incident.

“It is illegal for PAL to contract out jobs performed by its regular workers. Further, these workers are in effect scabs hired by PAL in the context of its labor dispute with PALEA. PALEA considers such incidents as provocations by PAL ahead of its impending lockout of workers on October 1,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

He explained that PAL has announced reductions in flights and has been forced to use other service providers or non-PALEA personnel since the outsourcing plan is facing difficulties. “Less than 15% of the affected employees have accepted the separation package and even less than 7% have signed up for work in the service providers Sky Logistics, Sky Kitchen and SPI Global. The outsourcing plan cannot fly,” Rivera insisted.

Also last Thursday, 15 managers and non-PALEA staff tried to check-in passengers bound for Cebu and Davao but were challenged by PALEA members in the passenger handling department. The managers and non-PALEA staff backed down and left.

“PALEA is already consulting our legal counsels on appropriate complaints to be filed. We believe serious violations not just of the labor code but of airport security and civil aviation regulations are occurring due to the entry of non-licensed personnel from other PAL departments and outside companies such as MacroAsia,” Rivera elaborated.

He added that “We call on personnel of MacroAsia, PAL staff from other departments and employees from outlying stations in the provinces who have been brought in supposedly for training to refrain from being used as scabs by management.”

As can be gleaned from postings on the union’s Sulong PALEANS! Facebook account, tensions are rising in the airport as employees continue to defy PAL’s outsourcing plan while management prepares for the intended lockout by the end of the month. One of the recent postings reveal that weight and balance functions—a critical pre-flight procedure—for Cebu and Davao flights were done remotely in Cebu and Davao respectively. The posting claims that safety is being compromised as a result.

“We appeal to PAL to resolve the present labor dispute in order to prevent any inconvenience to its passengers and clients. It should stop the outsourcing plan and instead open collective bargaining negotiations with the union. PALEA is open to discuss measures to make PAL viable except outsourcing. But should PAL refuse to hear its employees’ legitimate grievances, then PALEA has no recourse but to fight back and defend our regular jobs” Rivera insisted.

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