September 27, 2012
Nationwide rallies denounced contractualization as labor groups in the Philippines marked the “Global Day of Action against Outsourcing.” Meanwhile airline unions and other workers abroad held protests spanning four continents in an expression of global resistance to outsourcing. “Actions by workers, on the same day, in a coordinated way, all over the world, gives the struggle against outsourcing strength and effectivity,” declared Gerry Rivera, president of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
Some 1,000 members of PALEA and the labor coalition Nagkaisa staged a rally at Mendiola this morning. This was followed by a motorcade to the PALEA protest camp for an afternoon mass meeting. Mobilizations were also in Cebu at the PALEA picketline near the Mactan International Airport this morning and in Davao at the Buhangin underpass this afternoon.
Aside from commemorating the anniversary of PALEA’s protest against outsourcing last year, the protests also pushed for the passage of the security of tenure bill pending at Congress. “Aside from the reproductive health and freedom of information bills, the security of tenure measure is also jammed at the legislative mill. This social reform proposal seeks to restrict the epidemic of contractual work and the proliferation of 6 months endo jobs,” explained Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.
A picket the House of Representatives is planned for October 8 to call for the plenary discussion of the security of tenure bill. The House Labor Committee has reported out a consolidated version of the bill but the Committee on Rules has not scheduled it for sponsorship and interpellation at the plenary level.
The “Global Day of Action” was spearheaded by PALEA, the Turkish civil aviation union Hava-Is, Qantas unions, the Lufthansa flight attendants union UFO, Canadian airline workers union CAW-TCA, Air India unions, UNITE-HERE in the USA and the Australia Asia Worker Links. Rallies, leafleteering, mass meetings and other protest actions at airports were held in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, Istanbul in Turkey, Frankfurt in Germany, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Saint John in Canada, Mumbai in India and Honolulu in Hawaii. Solidarity messages have also been extended by labor centers and unions in Hong Kong, Seoul, Hanoi and San Francisco. The day of action was several months in the making with the International Transport Workers Federation starting the ball rolling by endorsing it in a meeting of the Asia-Pacific civil aviation section meeting in Kuala Lumpur last July.
Similar to PALEA, the groups participating in the day of action are embroiled in labor rows over job security and working conditions. Hava-Is is demanding the reinstatement of 305 members dismissed over protests against a controversial government ban on strikes in the aviation industry. Qantas management grounded its entire fleet last year in response to rolling strikes by its pilots and ground crew.
UFO recently won substantial concessions including limits to outsourcing after a strike that disrupted Lufthansa’s flights. CAW-TCA and other Air Canada unions were involved in disputes over pay and outsourcing, just like Air India workers. The hotel workers union UNITE-HERE is campaigning for a boycott of the global hotel chain Hyatt over a host of issues including use of contract labor.
For updates on the Global Day of Action: https://www.facebook.com/events/399444630110706/