November 25, 2011
The Washington DC-based group International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) yesterday led the global call for a boycott of Lucio Tan-owned Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Air
(AirPhil) in support of the embattled Philippine Airlines Employees Association. ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. Philippines
ILRF is calling on its network of labor groups, civil society organizations and the general public to boycott PAL and AirPhil until the locked-out PALEA members are reinstated to their regular jobs. “We welcome the boycott call as a form of solidarity for PALEA. It will put pressure on PAL and the government which both remain deaf to the demands and plight of PAL employees. The unity of the 99% both here and abroad will be the key to winning the fight against the outsourcing scheme of Lucio Tan who represents the 1%,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.
The launch of the global call was timed for the start of the peak season for airline travel and PAL’s announced return to normal operations yesterday. PALEA however disputes PAL’s claims and cited recent several hours and days of delays in international flights as indicators. Rivera also asked the media investigate the results of the recently concluded US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) audit of PAL. “The results of the audit will serve to validate PALEA’s assertions that the outsourcing scheme is a failure, and that safety and service has been compromised by the untrained and overworked scabs that are now operating the flights,” he added.
ILRF is running on its website an online petition for the boycott of PAL and AirPhil (http://action.laborrights.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3183). Once the petition is signed, messages of concern about PALEA will be sent to President Benigno Aquino III, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. and PAL CEO Jaime Bautista. ILRF has also sent by email notices about the boycott campaign to thousands in its mailing list.
In its mass mailing, ILRF argues that “We know that the airlines cannot withstand a boycott. PAL and AirPhil rely on end-of-year holidays travel for their profit line. If a large enough group of us join the boycott publicly, we will have an impact.”
In response to the ILRF boycott appeal, the global union International Transport Workers Federation has forwarded a similar call with a link to the ILRF petition so recipients can sign up. The largest trade union portal in the world, Labourstart (http://labourstart.org/), has also posted an article on its site with a link to the boycott petition.