September 27, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) started at around 7:00 a.m. today a protest action against the impending lockout on October 1 of 2,600 employees of Philippine Airlines (PAL). “PALEA has decided to act now instead of waiting for the onslaught of the outsourcing typhoon on Friday. This is the mother of all protests against layoff and contractualization. Nobody will go home and we will not back down until our demand for job security is met,” announced Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
PAL employees in the departments to be outsourced—airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations—are leading the protest action. While most PALEA members remain inside their workplaces, off-duty employees will be picketing PAL offices at the airport.
“We call on PAL to begin talks for a settlement to the labor dispute. PALEA demands a stop to the outsourcing plan. We call for the opening of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). In the CBA negotiations, we can discuss measures to make PAL viable except outsourcing,” Rivera stated.
The PAL-PALEA CBA has remained suspended for 13 years since 1998. PALEA has a case against PAL for refusal to bargain that is pending at the National Labor Relations Commission.
Supporters of PALEA have also started to assemble in solidarity with the protest action. Church and labor groups plan to march up to the PAL In-Flight Center along
and also to set up a protest camp at the Our Lady of the Airways Parish at the corner of
“We are calling on our brothers and sisters in the labor movement, our allies in the Church and other sectors, the families of PAL employees, our fellow workers in the communities around the airport and every Filipino who opposes contractualization to gather in solidarity with PALEA in its moment of need,” appealed Renato Magtubo, PM national chair.
PALEA meanwhile asked for the understanding of the public. “Any inconvenience brought about by the protest is temporary. Ultimately the safe and efficient operation of PAL is guaranteed if employees are regular not contractual. It is up to PAL to settle the dispute and prevent further difficulties to passengers and clients of the flag carrier,” Rivera insisted.
He explained that “PAL is determined and desperate in implementing the lockout of employees. Starting last week, even before the effectivity date of the termination on Friday, PAL has been employing scabs and displacing regular employees. PAL has pushed us to the wall. We are left with no choice but to hold this protest action.”