October 8, 2011
As the two-day Tourism Congress opens in Saranggani province today, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) called on the delegates to probe issues of passenger safety at Philippine Airlines (PAL). “We ask the Tourism Congress to take up the cudgels for the riding public by inquiring about safety and service concerns at PAL given that overworked and untrained replacement workers are now servicing passengers. If the Tourism Congress is anxious about the impact of the labor dispute on the influx of tourists, then it should also be worried about any possible accidents due to unsafe work practices by contractual workers,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.
Meanwhile PALEA welcomed the call by members of the Labor Group of the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) for government to push for a settlement of the labor row. “A reasonable compromise to the dispute is for both parties, PAL and PALEA, to extend judicial courtesy and wait for the final decision of the courts on the legality of the outsourcing plan. In the meantime, the lockout employees must be allowed to return to their regular jobs in order to normalize flights and operations,” Rivera expounded.
PALEA’s call on the Tourism Congress came in the wake of news reports that yesterday two Danish tourists, Rasmus Georgsen Jakobsen and Kristine Jonassen, backed out of proceeding with a PAL flight to
Cebu over safety concerns. According to reports, the tourists questioned PAL’s replacement workers at the check-in counter including a supervisor about safety issues but were left unsatisfied with the answers.
Today is a busy day at the PALEA campout as the protesting PAL employees enter their second week of official joblessness. In celebration of the start of rosary month, PALEA members will recite the rosary while making a formation in the shape of the rosary at the protest camp by 1:30 pm. At 3:00 pm, students and youth will sponsor a solidarity day with speeches and activities to support the PALEA protest. A solidarity concert dubbed “Anti ContROCK: PALEA Rocks for Job Security” will last from 7:00 pm until the early morning. The “pamorningan sa PALEA picketline” will feature bands Toyo, Sendero, Ermitanyo, Bubblegoo, Wika, Venus Return and Technomads.
The Church-Labor Conference will also have a general assembly today to firm up its campaign plans in support of PALEA, Hanjin workers and Dusit Hotel employees. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo will lead the assembly together with labor groups, church organizations and NGO networks under the theme “Pahigpitin ang Pagkakaisa ng mga MANGGAGAWA at TAONG SIMBAHAN Tungo sa Pagsusulong ng Dangal at Pagkakamit ng Panlipunang Hustisya.”