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October 26, 2015
The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) accused the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) of splitting the union in a bid to weaken its fight against the latest mass layoff at the national flag carrier. PALEA issued this reaction to a story in some news outlets three days ago about six PAL employees opposing the notice of strike filed by PALEA.
To resolve the notice of strike over the recent mass layoff of 117 employees, the Department of Labor and Employment is calling PAL and PALEA to another conciliation meeting today at the Quezon City central office of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.
With PALEA’s strike deadline nearing, the conciliation meeting is the fourth attempt to settle the labor dispute. In the conciliation today, PALEA will push for the recall of the mass layoff and the reinstatement of the 117 dismissed workers.
“We know for a fact that PAL management is talking to the six employees who are publicly opposing the notice of strike. PAL’s coddling of scabs in the campaign to defend regular jobs is a classic case of divide and conquer,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido Manggagawa (PM).
Rivera insisted that the latest retrenchment of PAL personnel at domestic airport across the country is part of an “outsourcing spree” since 1998 that had resulted to the dismissal of a total of 5,500 employees and their replacement by contractual workers. “We are determined to stop the epidemic of contractualization in PAL and elsewhere, and to protect job security and decent wages for all Filipino workers,” he explained.
No collective bargaining negotiations between PAL and PALEA has happened since 1998 when a 10-year CBA suspension was imposed. After a two-year fight, PALEA and PAL forged a deal to settle the labor dispute of 2011 yet some 600 retrenched members have not been re-employed as provided for in the agreement. Thus PALEA has asked PAL to open collective bargaining negotiations and fully implement the deal that ended the dispute over the last mass retrenchment in 2011.
Rivera added that “The fact that these six scabs are publicly opposing PALEA’s strike while deafeningly silent on PAL’s layoffs exposes where they stand on the battle between the union and management over contractualization. They are acting as management spokespersons as their statements against PALEA is precisely the line and policy of the company.”
“The six scabs are part of a faction that lost in the PALEA election early this year and are utterly without any mandate to speak on behalf of the union. Still it is to the benefit of management for these scabs to sow intrigue and dish disinformation against PALEA’s legitimate and duly elected officers,” Rivera argued.