October 30, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) decried the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) for its continuing harassment of the protest camp outside the In-Flight Center (IFC) along
. “Two weeks before yesterday’s daybreak attack on the PALEA campout, PAL management started engaging in dirty tricks to harass the hundreds of members staying at the camp. It began with putting containers of rotting food along the gates and walls adjacent to the campout. Then early this week, loud music was blasted from speakers inside the IFC towards the protest camp,” Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa revealed.
Rivera also slammed PAL for refusing to fly PALEA members who have already been issued tickets as part of their employee benefits before they were retrenched. “We have a member who flew to the US a week ago on a trip pass benefit but we have received a report that PAL is refusing to honor her return trip unless she signs up for the service provider. We are now consulting with our lawyers since PAL is possibly in violation of its commercial obligations under the law.” he explained.
“This petty persecution also reveals PAL’s desperate need for the skilled work of PALEA members even as it puts up a brave front that flights are normalizing under the untrained and overworked scabs now running its operations. Woe to PAL that there are now more ghosts than people riding its planes during the Halloween peak season,” Rivera exclaimed.
Rivera also argued that “Its renewed attempt to disperse PALEA’s campout is exposing PAL’s lies. PAL claims that the 2,400 PALEA members cannot be accepted back to work since the airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations departments have been closed and outsourced. So how come PAL insists that the IFC which houses the catering department is essential to its operations? This bolsters our contention that Sky Kitchen is an illegal labor-only contractor and thus PAL needs to allow it access to the facilities of the IFC so it can provide catering service.”
PALEA has already complained to the concerned barangay officials. “PAL’s dirty trick against the protest camp is not just endangering the safety and health of PALEA members but also the residents of the nearby community of Baltao. The odious odor, swarm of flies and loud noise are a health hazard to everyone within hundreds of meters. In fact it even imperils PAL’s own security guards who are forced to cover their noses and possibly wear ear plugs as they have no choice but to follow management orders,” Rivera asserted.
PALEA has already rebuilt the tents destroyed in yesterday’s attack by “hired goons” as confirmed by one the attackers who was caught. “Despite it being the eve of the day the dead, the forces of good overcame the forces of darkness, workers unity defeated corporate greed. As we earlier vowed, PALEA will defend its ‘occupy protest’ camp,” Rivera insisted.