October 15, 2015
The union Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) will demand the recall of the recent mass layoff at Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the reinstatement of the 117 dismissed workers in the conciliation meeting scheduled today. To highlight the demand, PALEA members will hold a picket simultaneous with the mediation talks at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board office at the DOLE Building in Intramuros, Manila.
Today’s mediation is the second after PALEA filed a notice of strike last October 8. PAL announced the separation of 117 employees all working at domestic airports around the country last September 2.
“As we ask for the understanding of the riding public for a strike that may fall on the undas holiday, we also appeal for their solidarity in PALEA’s fight against retrenchment and contractualization. Ang laban ng PALEA ay laban ng lahat,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido Manggagawa (PM) vice chair.
In threatening to strike, PALEA is alleging unfair labor practice by PAL due to the recent retrenchment and management interference in the right to unionize. The law gives PALEA 15 days after filing before it can actually hold a strike.
Rivera averred that “To avert a strike, we call on PAL to set aside their flimsy excuses for not responding to our demands. Such it seems is squid tactics to hide its inability to justify the illegal termination of 117 employees.”
“The mass layoff is not only illegal but immoral. PAL is firing workers though it is wallowing in profits. PAL’s parent company, PAL Holdings, reported a net income of P5.8 billion ($126.20 million) for the first half of 2015, soaring nearly ten-fold from P560 million ($12.18 million) during the same period last year,” Rivera added.
PALEA is hoping that PAL President Jaime Bautista will attend the mediation meeting today to facilitate resolution of the dispute. As part of its weekly protests, PALEA members picketed PAL offices yesterday around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Aside from opposing the latest retrenchment, PALEA is also calling for the opening of collective bargaining negotiation and the full implementation of a settlement agreement that ended the dispute over the last mass retrenchment in 2011.
No collective bargaining negotiation 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.