October 14, 2011
The Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) separation benefit and gratuity pay for retrenched workers are out for the taking. But defiant members of Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) said they cannot be lured over by a price tag that holds back their right to live a life of dignity.
“Regular job is our bottom line. We rejected the outsourcing plan because we value our dignity as regular workers. We lose it and we lose everything,” said PALEA president Gerry Rivera.
Rivera, who is also the vice president of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), said, the separation package “was bereft of any good intention since the offer was in exchange for a grand surrender of everything a regular employee have had in his/her 20 or 30 years of service in PAL.”
Inspired by the growing local and international support, PALEA remains optimistic they can win back their regular jobs either through the courts or through the streets. Yesterday, labor groups under the Koalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon (Kontra) trooped to Malacanang to demand the scrapping of Lucio Tan’s outsourcing plan which they believe would create a generation of “endos” or a generation of workers who jump from one contractual job to another.
Joining the protest yesterday was Bishop Broderick Pabillo, head of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines–National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and co-chair of the Church-Labor Conference (CLC). The Church has been very supportive of PALEA’s struggle against contractualization. Last October 8, during the 3rd Anniversary of CLC, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales assured PALEA and all the suffering workers of the Church’s unequivocal support.
Meanwhile, civil society groups led by the Freedom from Debt Coalition, have launched a boycott PAL campaign on-line, while trade union groups from the United States, Europe, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and many more, have already expressed their solidarity to PALEA and are planning to hold protest actions at the Philippine consulate offices in their respective countries.
More protests including simultaneous city and municipal actions nationwide are being lined up for next week as local unions and associations join the fight against contractualization.