Sunday, June 20, 2010

PAL union slams DOLE’s “midnight decision” on labor dispute

Press Release
June 20, 2010

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) slammed as a “midnight decision” the order signed by Acting Labor Secretary Romeo Lagman that found the planned PAL spinoff as a valid exercise of management prerogative.

“Lagman’s decision was released with suspicious haste and preempted the ongoing mediation proceedings at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). We wonder what reasons prompted him to make a decision just 15 days before a new administration assumes power and a new Labor Secretary is appointed,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) vice-chairperson.

PALEA announced that they will file a motion for reconsideration and exhaust all the means provided by law to protect the job security and labor rights of some 3,000 employees to be laid off as a result of the planned spinoff of airport services, inflight catering and call center operations. The PAL union is also planning mass actions to protest the decision as Rivera explained that the DOLE’s decision is not yet final and executory.

The militant PM expressed its support for the fight of the PAL union. Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, stated that “The DOLE’s decision, together with the measly P22 wage hike, exposes the real legacy of the Gloria Arroyo regime which is anti-labor to its last remaining days. The working class will remember the GMA government for legalizing mass contractualization and its cheap labor policy.”

Rivera argued that “Lagman’s June 15 order is faulty on both substantial and procedural grounds. It failed to consider the PAL-PALEA collective bargaining agreement’s provision prohibiting the outsourcing of jobs that are being performed by regular employees. Further the case has not been submitted for resolution and the order came only four working days after PALEA filed a motion for the production of certain documents such as PAL’s latest financial statement and its outsourcing contracts with service providers.”

Both Rivera and Magtubo criticized the decision for opening the floodgates for mass contractualization. Rivera added that “In truth PAL will not be outsourcing non-core functions but merely engaging in illegal termination. It will layoff thousands of regular employees who will be absorbed by so-called service providers which are owned by Lucio Tan’s Kamag-anak Inc. PAL’s regular employees will overnight become contractual workers and lose wages, benefits and job security even as they perform the same job as before.”

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