Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Airline unions demand reinstatement for PALEA in Global Day of Action

Press Release
December 12, 2012

Airline and other unions worldwide are demanding the reinstatement of members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) in a Global Day of Action today. The supporters of PALEA leafleted Philippine Airlines flights out of the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong in a show of international solidarity.

“A win for PALEA’s fight against outsourcing and contractualization will be a win for all airline workers,” asserted the unions abroad that joined in the Global Day of Action. Meanwhile PALEA members staged a mass action near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport today in participation at the day of action.

The management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) under the new president Ramon Ang opened talks with PALEA last October after a year of protests in the country and abroad. But talks have stalled over the demand for reinstatement. Thus in the last few weeks, PALEA and the labor unity coalition Nagkaisa have launched four rallies at the San Miguel Corp. headquarters in the Ortigas central business district.

The bitter labor row between PAL and PALEA and the continuing protests in the Philippines and around the world threatens to upset the ambitious refleeting and expansion plans of the flag carrier.

Aside from reinstatement, PALEA and its global supporters are calling for the dropping of criminal and civil charges against workers. Two PALEA members, including a single mother, have been arrested and detained while warrants remain outstanding for 37 other workers.

Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) declared that “We frequently hear the alibi that outsourcing is an international trend that workers have no choice but to bear. But the reality is that resistance to outsourcing is a global phenomenon.”

Participating in the Global Day of Action are the unions IAM Local 1781 in the San Francisco airport; CAW-TCA Local 2002, IAM Local 2323, CUPE Local 4092 in Toronto’s Pearson airport; the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Maritime Union of Australia, the Victorian Trades Hall Council and the Australia Asia Workers Link in Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport; and the Hong Kong Congress of Trade Unions and the Alliance of Progressive Labor at the Hong Kong international airport. Unite-HERE Local 5 in Honolulu staged the leafleting earlier last Saturday.

The unions have vowed to continue leafleting PAL flights until the demand for reinstatement is met. PALEA and Nagkaisa have planned weekly protests to bring the long running labor dispute over outsourcing and contractualization to a conclusion favorable to the workers.

“We have endured 14 months at the picketlines, two attempts to disperse the campout and several typhoons because this is a fight for the future of the present and future generation of workers. PALEA will never give up until its members are back to their regular jobs,” Rivera insisted.

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