Monday, October 3, 2011

Union busting is the real aim of outsourcing

Press Release
October 3, 2011

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today asserted that Philippine Airlines (PAL) President Jaime Bautista’s announcement that they no longer acknowledge Gerry Rivera and Bong Palad as union officers exposes union busting as the real aim of outsourcing. “Truly a fish is caught by its mouth. Actually PAL is not just refusing to recognize me and Palad as union officers but 62% of PALEA’s leadership and 70% of its membership who have been illegally lockout and terminated. Outsourcing thus is tantamount to union busting,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

Meanwhile Renato Magtubo, PM chair and co-chair of the Church-Labor Conference, an alliance of labor and church groups supporting PALEA, condemned threats from the Philippine National Police to disperse the campout at the PAL Inflight Center where thousands of employees continue their protest. “We warn government against using force to break the protest camp of PALEA. Labor and church groups will be one in strongly denouncing such a move,” he said.

The dispersal threat came as hundreds of PALEA members left the campout to attend the session of the House of Representatives this afternoon as Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello delivered a privilege speech defending the rights of PAL workers and assailing the outsourcing/contractualization scheme as a bankrupt model. What may be considered good for a corporation may be harmful not only to the workers but to the economic health of a country in general, PM said in a statement.

“Corporate downsizing, implemented through different forms including outsourcing or contractualization schemes, came from the most advanced capitalist economy of the world, the United States.  But look at the US now?  Corporate America and the US domestic market is practically dead, with temp workers receiving less wages than what workers were receiving in 1979, dominating the labor market,” said Magtubo.

In fact, Magtubo added, the main thrust of President Obama’s bailout package today to save and stimulate the US economy is to provide jobs and restore the purchasing power of the American people. The former partylist representative revealed that the main employer now in the United States is the Manpower, Inc., a service contractor employing more than 700,000 temp workers deployed to any kind of work on a daily, monthly, or semestral basis – similar to the proposed transfer of PAL workers to service providers on contractual arrangements.

The scheme, Magtubo said, is being opposed by the American people prompting the Democratic Party to adopt a platform of prohibiting offshore outsourcing, while American trade unions step up their campaign against coporate downsizing, the present expression of it is the ongoing campaign for the occupation of Wall St.

Rivera said they won’t mind if “Terminator JJB” doesn’t recognize them as a matter of personal grudge against the union, “But the law recognizes us as the sole representative of PAL workers pending the resolution of the case filed before the courts on the legality of the outsourcing scheme. We remain PALEA officers and we will officially represent our members in whatever forum, including with that of the management.”

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