December 23, 2011
They have been out of jobs during the last three (3) months but for members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) hope springs eternal at their protest camp which they likened to the traditional “belen” that gave temporary shelter to the infant Jesus.
“Without the protest camp, PALEA members could have been wandering anywhere after being hit by the man-made tsunami of outsourcing. Had we not fought the outsourcing plan, we would have ended having separate Christmas parties at Skylogistics, Skykitchen and SPI Global,” stated PALEA President Gerry Rivera.
PALEA and their supporters in the labor movement and the Church are celebrating Christmas at their protest camp located at PAL’s In-Flight Center near Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Blessed with support
Fortunately PALEA’s protest camp is blessed with continuing local and international support. Aside from the Church-Labor Coneferece (CLC), the vibrant civil society organizations and migrant groups have joined the boycott campaign against PAL.
Today, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, director of CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action is celebrating an anticipated Misang Gabi at the camp. Pabillo, who is also the co-chair of the CLC has been very supportive of PALEA’s struggle against mass layoff and contractualization.
After the mass, the CLC, which includes different labor groups and church institutions, will share a Christmas party with PALEA members. On the 24th and 25th PALEA members and their families will greet Christmas at the protest camp, their first noche buena celebration done outside their homes.
Trade unions and international labor advocacy groups across the world, have also come in full support for PALEA. Just recently, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) has included PAL in its list of ‘scrooge corporations’. PAL joined Dole, Hershey’s and Wal-Mart in ILRF’s 2011 Working for Scrooge report (see link at http://www.laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/Working_For_Scrooge_2011.pdf).
ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. It promotes enforcement of labor rights internationally through public education and mobilization, research, litigation, legislation, and collaboration with labor, government and business groups.
PAL executives admitted recently that the company incurred heavy losses at the height of the labor row and that its operations cannot get back to full normal even until next year. Its reputation was also badly hurt.
Rivera, who is also the vice-chair of Partido ng Manggagagawa (PM), is confident PALEA has a good chance of winning its fight against PAL’s outsourcing/contractualization plan.
“Of course nobody wants to celebrate Christmas the second time around here at the protest camp,” quipped Rivera.