September 12, 2014
Amidst the buyout deal at Philippine Airlines (PAL), the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), the ground crew union of the flag carrier, today called on management to respect the agreement settling the long-running outsourcing dispute. The union expressed hope that a conclusion to the corporate battle over PAL will lead to the full execution of the settlement agreement as the prolonged buyout talks have delayed its implementation.
Last Monday, media reported that San Miguel Corp. and the Lucio Tan group had signed a deal for the latter to buy back the 49% share of the former for US$1 billion to be paid within one week.
“We expect that PAL management would faithfully and fully implement the terms of the agreement resolving the outsourcing dispute. Anything less would mean the resurgence of labor troubles at the flag carrier that could threaten PAL’s return to profitability,” averred Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chair.
In November of last year, PAL and PALEA signed an accord to settle the labor dispute arising from the implementation of an outsourcing program that led to the retrenchment of more than 2,000 employees in September 2011. Meanwhile PAL reported a US$1.49 billion profit in the second quarter of this year, reversing a trend of losses for the past several years.
“PALEA has reliably complied with its part of the settlement agreement such as dismantling the picketline and terminating labor cases. Whoever is in control of PAL, we demand that management do the same,” Rivera added.
The settlement provides for the rehiring as regular workers of some 600 PALEA members who were retrenched in 2011 but refused to accept the outsourcing scheme. The agreement also grants an improved separation package.
Rivera asserts that the resolution of the outsourcing dispute is one of the factors that led to PAL’s profitability this year. In the two-year long pendency of the outsourcing issue, PALEA’s supporters have called for a boycott of PAL.
PALEA’s struggle against contractualization has been a trailblazer campaign that has influenced industrial relations in the country. The Labor Department issued new guidelines on subcontracting called DO 18-A in the wake of the PALEA protest and the fractious labor movement united in support of the embattled PAL union.