The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) today asserted that the latest retrenchment in Philippines Airlines (PAL) affecting 300 employees is a continuation of the massive outsourcing plan of 2009.
“Since 2011 PAL has been laying off regular employees and outsourcing the work to contractors who hire endo workers. PAL is just using the covid-19 travel ban and alleged financial losses as alibi for the latest round of contractualization at the flag carrier,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM chair. PM was the main supporter of the PAL union Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) in the outsourcing dispute from 2009 to 2013.
“In a labor-management consultative council meeting on August, 26, 2009, a controversial outsourcing plan to closed down the departments of information technology, human resources, benefits, legal, medical, revenue accounting, ticket offices, airport services, catering and reservations was unveiled. Despite opposition by PALEA, on September 30, 2011, PAL laid off 2,600 workers in airport services, catering and reservations and then subcontracted the work to three service providers. This means that the recent separation of 300 employees has been in the works for the last 11 years. Management was just waiting for an expedient time to outsource once more,” explained Alnem Pretencio, PALEA vice president and outsourced worker in 2011.
Pretencio added that “In 2015, PAL also fired 117 employees assigned in the provincial airports. A notice of strike is still pending due to that illegal dismissal. And much earlier in 2001, PAL laid off 1,400 union members and outsourced the whole maintenance and engineering department to the Lucio Tan-Lufthansa venture Lufthansa Technik Philippines.”
Magtubo averred that “PAL’s modus operandi of dismissing workers and replacing them with contractual workers in service providers is pretty well established. At the very least, PAL’s allegations of losses as basis for retrenchment should be taken with a grain of salt.”
“In fact, the epidemic of endo is a worse plague on Filipino workers than the threat of the covid-19 virus. PAL’s recent mass layoff exposes that the problem of contractualization is as bad as ever. With President Duterte’s veto of the Security of Tenure bill last year, he definitely reneged on his promise of ending endo. Thus capitalists are emboldened anew to engage in contractualization,” Magtubo insisted.
March 1, 2020