Sunday, December 4, 2011

Solidarity Message to SITIAPES from PALEA

December 4, 2011

We extend the hand of solidarity to our brothers and sisters in the Union of Employees and Allied Workers of the El Salvador Airport (SITIAPES) who are fighting for union recognition, collective bargaining rights, decent pay, better working conditions and protection of job security. The struggles you are waging mirror the same demands that we are currently fighting for at Philippine Airlines, the flag carrier of our country.
PALEA supports the campaign by SITIAPES and its sister unions, SITEAIES and SIGTRASEL, for the immediate reinstatement of the fired workers of AERODESPACHOS. We support your demands in the hope that international support can put pressure on AERODESPACHOS so it will heed workers demands.
PALEA condemns the intransigence of AERODESPACHOS, its anti-union maneuver, refusal to recognize the union, opposition to bargaining negotiations and termination of workers active in union organizing.
The same issues animate the struggles that PALEA is facing at the moment. Some 2,400 PALEA members have been locked out and terminated as part of a plan to outsource the airport services, inflight catering and call center reservations departments of Philippine Airlines. Majority of those affected are in the ramp, baggage, cargo and passenger handling aside from inflight catering. PALEA represents these workers and the remaining 900 ground staff of Philippine Airlines.
In fact as can bee seen from the number that were retrenched and those remaining, the outsourcing plan seeks not just to demolish job security but bust the union itself. In fact the outsourcing plan came on the heels of a 13-year suspension of the collective bargaining negotiations with PALEA which was forced on the union through government intervention.
To resist the imminent implementation of the outsourcing plan, on September 27 PALEA undertook a protest at the Manila International Airport that paralyzed the operations of Philippine Airlines. The swift answer of the government and management was the forcible eviction of protesting PALEA members from the airport and other offices using police forces and security guards. PALEA members have been locked out since and then terminated starting October 1.
At present PALEA protest camps are set up outside the international airports of Manila and Cebu, the two biggest cities in the Philippines.  Every day several hundred PALEA members are alternating in shifts to maintain the protest camps until the workers demands are heeded.
PALEA demands that Philippine Airlines stop the lockout of workers and allow those terminated to go back to their regular jobs. We know that this is a difficult battle but through the solidarity of the workers movement in our country and even abroad, we will prevail.
Further we are inspired by the struggles for labor rights and social justice of fellow aviation workers such as yours in El Salvador and by general strikes around the globe such as that in Greece and Portugal recently.
Gerry Rivera
President, Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA)
Vice Chair, Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party-Philippines)
Vice Chair, Ground Staff Committee of Aviation Section, ITF
International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) solidarity campaign for PALEA:
Online petition in support of PALEA:

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