Thursday, October 6, 2011

‘Occupy Wall St.’ protests embolden Paleans

6 September 2011

While building defenses at the picketline outside the gates of the Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) In-Flight Center (IFC), members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) are also keeping a close eye on the spreading “Occupy Wall St.” protest in the United States as well as the ongoing general strike in Greece.
From time to time, PALEA members were given updates on the ongoing Wall St. protest as well as other protests related to their issue.  Online members through their facebook accounts are also sharing videos and posting stories about these protests.
“Our members are emboldened as they can easily identify themselves with the Wall St. protesters because of the similarities of our issues.  Corporate greed and a failed economic model were moving people across the US into taking different forms of direct action,” said PALEA President Gerry Rivera.
The leaderless Wall St. protest have already spread across the United States and the number of people taking part keeps on growing despite attempts by the police to disperse the crowd. Dozens of trade union groups, including the Transport Workers Union (TWU) have also joined the protest.
“We Filipinos can also make our voices heard by doing similar actions against corporate greed and government neglect,” stated Rivera.
Rivera, who is also the vice president of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), said defenders of the outsourcing/contractualization scheme should see how this economic model failed the Americans, the Greeks, the Spanish, the Irish, and more and more people around the world.  
The United States’ labor force, he explained, is now dominated by temp workers after the massive corporate downsizing were implemented here since the early 90’s, while some 3 million American jobs are expected to be lost to offshore outsourcing until 2015.
PALEA is fighting the outsourcing plan of the management until they have been locked out by PAL owner Lucio Tan on September 27 and October 1.    Paleans are continuing the fight through the protest camp at the IFC building outside the PAL terminal.
Meanwhile, PM chair Renato Magtubo said labor groups under the Koalisyon Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon (Kontra) is having an assembly today to plan for bigger protests and solidarity actions for PALEA.
“There will be no let up in this fight.  This is a class war and we will not allow Lucio Tan and the likes of him win this war,” concludes Magtubo.

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