Wednesday, December 21, 2011

PAL is a Scrooge—international labor rights group

Press Release
December 21, 2011

A Washington DC-based international labor rights watchdog has included Philippine Airlines (PAL) in its list of worst companies for the year. PAL joins giant companies Dole, Wal-Mart and Hershey in the “Scrooge list” of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) for the “use of intimidation and sometimes violence, in the U.S. and abroad, to violate workers’ internationally recognized right to organize.”

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) welcomed PAL’s description as a Scrooge “since Lucio Tan stole Christmas from some 2,400 employees and their families.” Renato Magtubo, PM chair, said that “PAL has been naughty not nice to its workers so Santa did not grant its wish of a profitable year.” PAL has announced that it will end the year with losses to due its failed outsourcing plan and high fuel prices.

In its report, ILRF explained that “Some of this year’s Scrooges, such as Dole and Wal-Mart, are repeat offenders—giant corporations that refuse to uphold their responsibility to their direct employees and to workers in their supply chains. Hershey receives Scrooge status for the first time—an accolade long overdue—as the chapter exposes an ongoing pattern of the company’s neglect of workers’ rights and refusal to be more accountable to workers in its supply chain. The case of Philippine Airlines illustrates an increasingly common trend among corporations, the flexibilization of work, and how when workers protest against outsourcing, they are locked-out and fired.”

“This holiday season corporate greed at PAL is shining through,” the ILRF report asserted. The group is supporting PALEA by calling on the public to boycott PAL and its sister low-cost carrier Air Philippines until the workers are reinstated to their regular jobs.

“The right to freedom of association is typically violated through the use of bullying tactics and the spread of anti-union propaganda but this year’s Scrooges have taken violating workers’ rights to new lows. As we celebrate the holiday season, consumers and labor advocates can support workers by telling these Scrooge companies that they need to respect workers rights,” said Judy Gearhart, ILRF Executive Director.

Magtubo declared that “The Philippines is not on the right track but off course as far as labor rights is concerned.” The ILRF Scrooge list follows on the heels of a critical report issued last month by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) regarding the observance of core labor standards in the Philippines which also mentions the case of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) as substantiation. The global union body said that “In view of restrictions on the trade union rights of workers, discrimination, child labour, and forced labour, determined measures are needed to comply with the commitments” of the Philippines to international treaties.

The ILRF report Working for Scrooge is can be viewed online at The ITUC report is posted at is posted at

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