February 14, 2013
Contact Alnem Pretencio @ 09209543634
Workers hold Valentine’s Day protest for reinstatement of PAL workers
Members of the labor coalition Nagkaisa and the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) held a Valentine’s Day rally at the headquarters of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and called for the reinstatement of Philippine Airlines (PAL) workers back to their regular jobs. The rallyists dubbed their action as “Harana para sa mga puso” as it appealed to the new PAL management from the SMC group for a resolution to the long-running labor dispute.
“On this day of hearts, we knock on the hearts of the new PAL management to heed the demand for reinstatement. This is already the second Valentine’s Day of PALEA members on the picketlines and we are no less determined to continue fighting until we are able to return to our regular jobs,” said Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
Hundreds of Nagkaisa and PALEA members assembled at the Podium around 9:30 am before proceeding to the nearby SMC headquarters at the Ortigas CBD. The Valentine’s Day protest followed a series of mass actions since October last year at the SMC headquarters. The protests led to the renewal of negotiations between PALEA and the new PAL management which is still ongoing.
Meanwhile the PALEA and PM contingent in the Valentine’s Day rally also bannered the demand “Manggagawa Naman!” as a challenge to senatorial candidates to put the concerns of labor on their platform. The protection of job security and promotion of regular jobs is a major concern of the workers in this election, Today’s rally is a continuation of labor’s campaign around issues for the duration of the electoral season.
“We challenge the senator wannabes to make workers issues part of their agenda. If our so-called democracy is not just all form but has some substance, then the demands of the majority of the voters—which is the working class—must be heeded by the candidates,” asserted Rivera.
The “Mangggawa Naman” movement is pushing for a set of demands which they call “Apat na Dapat”:
1. Regular jobs
2. Affordable housing
3. Health and education for all
4. Cheap food, electricity and water.
The "Manggagawa Naman" movement had kickoff activity in the early evening of February 8 when some 300 workers marched with torches ablaze around the airport area while carrying streamers and banners of their "Apat na Dapat" demands.