Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bonifacio day commemorated with anti-contractualization, anti-globalization calls

Press Release
November 30, 2010

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) commemorated Bonifacio day with nationwide mass actions calling for government action to regulate contractualization and for workers resistance to globalization. “Imperialist globalization is the modern-day colonialism. Thus the fight against globalization is the continuation of Bonifacio’s struggle for sovereignty and justice,” asserted Judy Amm Miranda, PM secretary general.

In Manila members of PM, Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Fortune Tobacco Labor Union and United Cavite Workers Association met at Morayta by 10:00 am and then marched onto Mendiola around 11:00 am for a joint rally with other labor groups.

The group brought black lanterns to symbolize the bleak Christmas awaiting workers of Philippines Airlines (PAL), Fortune Tobacco and other companies due to the onslaught of contractualization and the threat of layoffs.

Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair, said that “The suspension of the ruling of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz is merely temporary pending the results of the mediation efforts sponsored by PNoy at Malacañang. In fact after the first meeting more than a week ago with Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa, we have not had another yet and we have not had face-to-face negotiations with management at Malacañang. Thus we do not know if PAL management is willing to compromise on its hardline position on the controversial outsourcing plan.”

The protests today are nationwide in scope with the same calls of “Fight contractualization, Oppose globalization.” In Cebu City there was a labor unity rally at downtown Colon St. in the morning. In Bacolod City some 500 industrial workers and hacienda laborers held a program at the Bacolod City Plaza-Rotonda. In Davao City, there was another labor unity march in the afternoon from the Freedom Park at Orcullo St. to the Bonifacio monument at the city hall.

“The nationwide rallies today are our way of expressing our position on outsourcing, mergers, layoffs and other forms of corporate restructuring. We hold that management prerogative is not absolute and cannot trample upon workers’ right to job security and the freedom to unionize,” insisted Miranda.

The Bonifacio day protests are part of the series of activities in the campaign for regular jobs and against contractual employment. Yesterday PM and PALEA held a mini-rally at Welcome Rotonda in Manila in which workers tore 5-months employment contracts in a reenactment of the shredding of cedulas by Bonifacio and the Katipuneros.

Monday, November 29, 2010

“Himagsikan laban sa kontraktwalisasyon” declared in buildup rally for Nov. 30

Press Release
November 29, 2010

Some 150 members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) held a pocket protest where they symbolically declared “Pakikibaka kontra Kontraktwalisasyon, Himagsikan laban sa Globalisasyon” as a continuation of Andres Bonifacio’s fight. The highlight of the mini-rally was the tearing of 5-months employment contracts ala shredding of cedulas by Bonifacio and the Katipuneros.

“If Andres Bonifacio were alive today he will no doubt lead a revolution against imperialist globalization which is the root of contractualization,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

PM also sponsored this morning a labor forum entitled “Pilipinas Gaganda Kung Di Bansa ng Kontraktwal” at the Holy Trinity Parish, Calabash Road, Balic-Balic, Manila. The participants then made a short march to Welcome Rotonda for the mini rally.

The pocket protest today was a buildup for the commemoration of Andres Bonifacio day. Tomorrow PM will assemble at Mehan Garden in Manila by 9:00 am then march to Mendiola for a joint rally with other labor groups by 11:00 am.

Gerry Rivera, PM vice chair and president of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association asserted that “Both PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz sing the same tune of rationalizing outsourcing as a ‘global practice.’ They do not however reveal that contractualization as a consequence of outsourcing is also the most despised ‘employment practice’ around the world.”

The November 30 protest will be a nationwide commemoration with the same calls of “Fight contractualization, Oppose globalization.” In Cebu City there will be a labor unity march at downtown Colon St. in the morning. In Bacolod City some 500 industrial workers and hacienda laborers will have a rally at the Bacolod City Plaza-Rotonda. In Davao City, there will be another labor unity rally.

“The Filipino way of life should be a regular job that provides decent wages, substantial benefits, security of tenure, decent working conditions and the freedom to have a voice and representation in the workplace through a union. If jobs are regular and there are no contractuals, it will truly be Pilipinas Kay Ganda,” argued Magtubo.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cavite factory on the verge of a strike

Press Release
November 26, 2010

The Best Chemical and Plastic Inc. / Best Chemicals Inc. (BCPI BCI), a Korean-owned factory at Carmona, Cavite, is on the verge of a strike as workers voted overwhelmingly for it last Tuesday. The management and union are presently meeting at the office of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board in Imus, Cavite for compulsory mediation.

The workers decided to hold a strike with 48 voting yes, 2 voting no out of 69 members of the BCPI BCI Independent Union. The dispute arose out of management’s decision to shutdown the BCI plant which will lead to the layoff of 36 union members and seven union officers. Thus the union filed for a notice of strike on the basis of union busting.

Alex del Rosario, president of the BCPI BCI Independent Union, explained that “We have been forced to the brink of a strike due to management’s union busting moves. The closure of the BCI plant is dripping with bad faith on the part of management. Its not so hidden agenda is to block collective bargaining negotiations and destroy the union. We are poised to strike at any time should mediation efforts produce no results.”

The BCI plant is due to close next Monday, 30 days after the company announced the closure last October 29 amidst talks for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and management’s petition to cancel the union certification. The circumstances lead the union to question the motives of the shutdown.

The union withdrew an earlier notice of strike after management signed a memorandum of agreement agreeing to start CBA negotiations, a promise it did not however keep. The NCMB even claimed success for settling the dispute in a news story published in the Inquirer.net last October 31. “The right to organize a union and bargain collectively has been an uphill battle in the face of management’s intransigence,” del Rosario alleged.

Dennis Sequena, coordinator for the Cavite chapter of Partido ng Manggagawa which is supporting the BCPI/BCI workers, explained that highlights of the protracted dispute: “The union won a certification election last July despite management interference in the exercise of the right to organize, and collusion by local government officials and Labor Department functionaries. Management then filed a protest at the results of the certification elections which was dismissed for lack of merit. All throughout management repeatedly ignored the union’s request to table the CBA proposal it submitted. Thus the union filed a notice of strike last September 27 on grounds of management’s refusal to bargain but on good faith withdrew it once management promised to start CBA talks. The company’s betrayal of the memorandum of agreement and subsequent closure of the BCI plant led to the present stage of the workers struggle.”

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Labor groups unite for Day of Action for Regular Jobs

Press Release
November 25, 2010

The country’s biggest labor groups came together once more in the “National Day of Action for Regular Jobs and Against Contractual Employment.” The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), the anti-contractualization coalition KONTRA, the Labor Alliance for Better Order and Reform (LABOR), the Church-Labor Conference (CLC) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) spearheaded the Day of Action.

“This is now a fight that is beyond PALEA. In factories, shops, offices and malls contractual workers are working side-by-side with regular employees in doing the same job for lesser pay and worse working conditions. We demand that government institute reforms to enhance job security and stop contractualization schemes,” argued Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chairperson.

Some 2,000 members of the various labor groups marched along Ayala Ave. by 3:00 pm. The mood was festive with an ati-atihan joining the labor unity march.

PM brought tarpaulins with the message “Kung Walang Kontraktwal, Pilipinas Kay Ganda” and “Kung Trabaho ay Regular, Pilipinas Kay Ganda.” Renato Magtubo, PM chair, explained that “The ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ brand captures our dream of a country where workers enjoy job security, living wages, substantial benefits, decent working conditions and the freedom to have a voice and representation in the workplace through a union.”

The Day of Action started early with a Lakbayan of Calabarzon workers from the United Cavite Workers Association and delegations from Laguna and Batangas. After assembling by 7:00 am in Zapote, the Lakbayan Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon made a stop at Baclaran Church by 10:00 am then proceeded to the assembly area at Makati Fire Station. TUCP joined PALEA, KONTRA, LABOR, CLC and PM at the fire station while KMU linked up at the corner of Paseo and Ayala Ave.

Ramil Cangayao, PM-Cavite chair, said that “The National Day of Action is our way of expressing our position on outsourcing, mergers, layoffs and other forms of corporate restructuring. We hold that management prerogative is not absolute and cannot trample upon workers’ right to job security and the freedom to unionize.”

Protests were also held in Visayas and Mindanao. In Bacolod, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office was picketed by members of PALEA, TUCP, KMU and PM. In General Santos City, PALEA, TUCP, PM and the union of Yellow Bus Lines led the rally at the DOLE. In Cebu City the mass action was held yesterday with a labor unity forum at the ALU Building in the morning and then an afternoon rally at the DOLE office.

The campaign for regular jobs will also be the theme of the Bonifacio Day commemoration with PM, PALEA and the Fortune Tobacco Labor Union to march on Mendiola on November 29.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Labor groups unite again for anti-contractualization protest

Press Release
November 24, 2010
PALEA

The country’s biggest labor groups come together once more, this time to launch tomorrow’s “National Day of Action for Regular Jobs and Against Contractual Employment.” The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), the anti-contractualization coalition KONTRA, the Labor Alliance for Better Order and Reform (LABOR), the Church-Labor Conference (CLC) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) will spearhead the National Day of Action.

“This is now a fight that is beyond PALEA. In factories, shops, offices and malls contractual workers are working side-by-side with regular employees in doing the same job for lesser pay and worse working conditions. We demand that government institute reforms to enhance job security and stop contractualization schemes. Ang kontraktwalisasyon ay baluktot na landas,” argued Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chairperson.

The central activity is a march along Ayala Ave. in the afternoon by some 2,000 members of the various labor groups. The mood will be festive with an ati-atihan joining the labor unity march.

The Day of Action starts early with a Lakbayan of Calabarzon workers led by the United Cavite Workers Association that will assemble at 7:00 am in Zapote. The Lakbayan Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon will make a stop at Baclaran Church by 10:00 am before proceeding to the assembly area at Makati Fire Station. TUCP will join PALEA, KONTRA, LABOR, CLC and PM at the fire station while KMU will link up at the corner of Paseo and Ayala Ave.

Rallies will also be held in Davao City and Bacolod City tomorrow. In Cebu City the mass action will be held today with a labor unity forum at the ALU Building in the morning and then an afternoon rally at the Department of Labor and Employment office.

Rivera added that “The Labor Department plans to hold a nationwide tripartite conference on outsourcing in Davao. The National Day of Action is our way of expressing our position on outsourcing, mergers, layoffs and other forms of restructuring. We hold that management prerogative is not absolute and cannot trample upon workers’ right to job security and the freedom to unionize. The constitutional mandate for living wages, security of tenure and collective bargaining should not be dead letters but must be made real in life.”

The campaign for regular jobs will also be the theme of the Bonifacio Day commemoration with PM, PALEA and the Fortune Tobacco Labor Union to march on Mendiola on November 29.

PM to use “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” brand in campaign for regular jobs

Press Release
November 24, 2010

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) lauded the delicadeza of resigned Tourism undersecretary Enteng Romano even as it plans to use the “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” brand for its anti-contractualization protest. Renato Magtubo, PM chair said that “Enteng Romano deserves credit for taking responsibility for his mistakes. But his inspiration will not go unused since we will make ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ a slogan in the campaign for regular jobs.”

He added that “The ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ brand captures our dream of a country where workers enjoy job security, living wages, substantial benefits, decent working conditions and the freedom to have a voice and representation in the workplace through a union.”

In tomorrow’s mass action at Ayala Ave. in Makati, PM will bring tarpaulins with the message “Kung Walang Kontraktwal, Pilipinas Kay Ganda” and “Kung Trabaho ay Regular, Pilipinas Kay Ganda.” Tomorrow is the National Day of Action for Regular Jobs and Against Contractual Employment spearheaded by the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), the anti-contractualization coalition KONTRA, the Labor Alliance for Better Order and Reform (LABOR), the Church-Labor Conference and PM.

Also joining the Ayala march are workers of Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC) who are opposing management’s plans to retrench layoff some 2,000 workers. The workers will be retrenched before possibly being rehired as new employees of the merged company Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC). In a meeting between FTC management and Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU) last week, the latter was informed that older workers will be offered an early retirement plan while younger employees will be terminated and then hired as new workers in the merged company.

Arnulfo Macabutas, FTLU vice-president, said that “We demand that no worker be retrenched and instead that they be absorbed as regular employees of PMFTC with no loss in seniority, wages or benefits. The union and the collective bargaining agreement must likewise be recognized by PMFTC.”

FTLU is basing its demand on jurisprudence that in cases of corporate mergers, there is a continuation in the employment relations from the original companies to the merger entity. “The Supreme Court has ruled that the successor company absorbs all the obligations of the original company with regards to its employees including any exclusive bargaining agent and collective bargaining agreement,” Macabutas.

FTLU members have been mobilizing in mass actions to press for its demand. Last November 10, some 500 FTLU members held a torch parade from the factory to the Concepcion Church in Marikina City.

Solidarity Message to the NUJP Congress

The Partido ng Manggagawa salutes the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in its two-day Congress. The NUJP is more than capable of meeting the tasks it set itself of promoting press freedom and protecting the rights and welfare of journalists in the Philippines.
In the last year, the NUJP has proven itself in its leadership in the campaign to seek justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre, many of whom were media workers. Also, the NUJP has put itself on the line of fire by supporting the fight of the ABS-CBN IJM workers against illegal dismissals and for the right to form a union.

No doubt the plight of journalists in the country is dire and dismal. The Philippines ranks high in terms of the number of media workers killed. Working conditions of journalists are worsening with the mass media corporations resorting to various contractualization schemes.

The culture of impunity and the model of globalization are twin dragons that NUJP must slay if it is to defend and advance the rights and welfare of media workers. In this endeavor, the NUJP need not stand alone. It must seek alliances with its brothers and sisters in the labor movement and civil society with similar perspectives and platforms.

The Partido ng Manggagawa supports the NUJP in its aim of protecting and promoting the working conditions of journalists. Truly there can be no press freedom where media workers exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear.

The struggle of the workers against oppression and exploitation would be much harder without a free press. Thus there is an objective basis for collaboration. As we support NUJP in its goals, we challenge it to broaden its reach and link up arms with the labor movement.

Today the fight of the Philippine Airlines employees is a trailblazer struggle for the revival of the workers movement that is inspiring an unprecedented unity of labor. Without as much media attention but with the same determination, workers of Fortune Tobacco and export zone workers are fighting also for job security and union rights.

The struggle of the workers in general and journalists in particular would be much stronger if solidarity is forged in the fight for press freedom, labor rights and social change.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fortune Tobacco workers oppose retrench-rehire plan, demand continuation of employment status in merged company

Press Release
November 23, 2010

The workers of Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC) are opposing management’s plans to retrench some 2,000 workers before possible rehiring as new employees of the merged company Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC). In a meeting between FTC management and Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU) last week, the latter was informed that older workers will be offered an early retirement plan while younger employees will be terminated and then hired as new workers in the merged company.

Arnulfo Macabutas, FTLU vice-president, said that “We demand that no worker be retrenched and instead that they be absorbed as regular employees of PMFTC with no loss in seniority, wages or benefits. The union and the collective bargaining agreement must likewise be recognized by PMFTC.”

FTLU members have been mobilizing in mass actions to press for its demand. They will be participating in “National Day of Action for Regular Jobs and Against Contractual Employment” on Thursday. Last November 10, some 500 FTLU members held a torch parade from the factory to the Concepcion Church in Marikina City. Yesterday FTC workers were set to hold prayer rally in front of the factory gates but heavy rains forced cancellation of the protest.

FTLU is basing its demand on jurisprudence that in cases of corporate mergers, there is a continuation in the employment relations from the original companies to the merger entity. “The Supreme Court has ruled that the successor company absorbs all the obligations of the original company with regards to its employees including any exclusive bargaining agent and collective bargaining agreement,” Macabutas.

Last February FTC and Philip Morris Philippines, Inc. announced the formation of the joint venture company PMFTC with a 50-50 stake from the original companies. The merger created a monopoly in the tobacco industry in the country since FTC controls 60% share of the market while PMPI has 30%.

The various labor groups that have denounced the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on the mass layoff at Philippine Airlines will hold the nationwide protest to push for government regulation against contractualization. Aside from FTLU, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) will lead the main activity at Ayala Ave. in Makati. Big labor groups that have confirmed attendance in the march along Ayala Ave. include the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Partido ng Manggagawa, Koalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA), Labor Alliance for Better Order and Reform (LABOR), and the Church-Labor Conference (CLC).

Rallies will also be held in other key cities like Davao, General Santos and Bacolod on November 25. In Cebu City the mass action will be held tomorrow with a labor forum at the ALU Building in the morning and then an afternoon rally at the Department of Labor and Employment office.

Government's weak adherence to human rights reinforces warlords' culture of impunity - labor group

PRESS RELEASE
23 November 2010

Justice won't come easy for the victims of Maguindanao massacre as long as warlordism and violations of human rights remain rampant in this country, according to labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM). The group joined the November 23 Movement in today’s commemoration of the Maguindanao massacre held in Mendiola.

PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda said the culture of impunity attached to warlordism is reinforced further by the government's weak adherence to human rights, or worse by its complicity to the crime as shown in the Maguindanao case.

"The long and protracted prosecution of the main suspects in the massacre is no doubt painful for the victims with the expected delay in the rendering of justice. But the most agonizing part of it as far as the whole nation is concerned is when we see the apparent failure of the government to curb the warlordism common in many places, notwithstanding the fact that human rights are continuously being violated in our country," said Miranda.

The labor group pointed out that as long as private armed groups identified with known warlords and politicians all over the country are not neutralized then the sacrifice of the lives of 58 victims, many of them journalists, was for nothing.

"The best that the Aquino government can do on this case is to ensure the victims that justice would come soon and the country feel the guarantee that human rights are well protected under this administration," added Miranda.

State sanctioned labor rights violation, the group said, is a vivid example of how culture of impunity is reinforced.

"A backhoe was used to bury the victims of the Maguindanao massacre while a Baldozer was utilized in the massacre of regular jobs at PAL. If the government tolerates contractualization as a valid management prerogative, then employers are further emboldened to use the scheme to exploit workers as shown in the case of PAL and many other companies," concluded Miranda.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pahayag ng Pakikiisa ng Partido ng Manggagawa sa ika-25 Anibersaryo ng FIND

Walang duda na Lubhang napakailap ng hustisya sa mga desaparacidos ng ating bansa. Ang 25 na taong pagdiriwang natin ng anibersyaro ng FIND ang mismong nagpapatunay na sa halip na lumapit ay higit pang nalalayo ang hustisyang noon pa natin hinahanap.
Bukod dito, sa halip na mapawi, ang paglabag sa karapatang pantao sa ating bansa ay nagpapatuloy kundi man higit na lumalala sa ibat-ibang anyo ng paglabag. Hindi ba’t ngayon ding araw na ito ang unang taong anibersaryo ng Maguindanao Massacre, ang maituturing na pinakamalagim na kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao sa ilalim ng nakaraang rehimen?

Kung hindi lang maagap na natuklasan ang malagim na krimen, ang 58 na biktima ng masaker na ito ay malamang nadagdag lang sa bilang ng ating mga desaparacidos sapagkat tinangka itong itago sa pamamagitan ng maramihang pagbaon sa lupa gamit ang backhoe. Ang imahe ng ganitong pangyayari ay malamang nagpaala sa inyo ng masamang panaginip sa parehong sinapit ng ating mga mahal sa buhay mula sa kamay ng lupit na namamayani sa bansa mula pa noon hanggang sa ngayon.

At bakit ito nagpapatuloy sa kabila ng katotohanang ilang palit nang hinalinhan si Marcos ng mga pinunong nagdeklarang sila’y tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao? Bakit nagpapatuloy ang pwersahang pagkawala, extrajudicial killings, masaker at ibat-ibang anyo ng krimen? Bakit nagpapatuloy ang paglabag sa karapatang pantao?

Isa lang ang nakikita naming paliwanag. Ito ang mahinang pagtangan ng estado sa karapatang pantao. O baka nga mas malala pa dahil sa maraming kaso, ang estado mismo ang sangkot sa mga paglabag gaya nang nangyari sa Maguindanao kung saan ang warlordismo ng mga Ampatuan ay may basbas at suportado mismo ng pamahalaan sa anyo ng pulitikal na alyansa at suplay ng mga armas.

At kung nakikita ng iba pang mga warlord sa maraming panig ng bansa na ang karapatang pantao ay balewala sa pamahalaan, hindi nakapagtataka na sila’y maghari sa pamamagitan ng dahas laluna’t sila rin ang may kontrol sa kapangyarihang pulitikal sa maraming lugar. Mas lalo na kung nakikita nila na ang gubyerno ay violator din ng human rights.

Ang violation sa labor rights ay isang malinaw na halimbawa kung paanong ang culture of impunity sa bansa ay sinusuhayan ng opisyal na sanksyon ng pamahalaan. Ang kontraktwalisasyon ay labag sa batas. Pero parang batas trapiko lang ito kung labagin ng mga kapitalista. Lagpas pa dito, ang estado mismo ang nagbibigay laya sa mga kapitalista na ito ay labagin gaya ng nangyayari sa PAL at sa marami pang kompanya.

Kung sa Maguindanao ang ginamit ay backhoe, sa mga manggagawa sa PAL ang ginamit ay Baldozer para imasaker ang di bababa sa 2,600 regular na empleyado. Kung makalusot ang plano ng PAL na sinang-ayunan ni Baldoz -- na gawing kontraktwal ang mga regular na empleyado, sinong kapitalista ang di gagawa nito para tumiba ng tubo mula sa sakripisyo ng mga manggagawa? Wala pa nga ang order ni Baldoz ay laganap na ang paglabag sa labor rights.

Ito ay halimbawa lamang kung paanong ang ang kawalan o kahinaan ng estado sa pangangalaga ng karapatang pantao, sa kabuuang aspeto nito, ang nagiging dahilan kung bakit lubhang napakailap ng hustisya sa ating bansa.

Kaya naman napakahalagang elemento ng ating nagpapatuloy na pakikibaka ang pagkamit ng tunay na kalayaan hindi lamang mula sa kamay ng mga dayuhan kundi’y maging sa poder ng mapang-aliping kapangyarihan sa ating bansa. Naririyan pa rin ang warlordismo, landlordismo, at pang-aabuso ng kapital sa hanay ng manggagawa at mamamayan. Kaya walang hustisya dahil sila ang pamahalaan.

Ganunpaman, naniniwala pa rin kami na bukas, ang hustisya ay tuluyan nating makakamtan hindi sa muling paglitaw ng ating mga desaparacidos kundi’y sa pagsilang ng isang malayang lipunan na dapat nating pagtulungang ipundar. Mabuhay ang FIND!

Statement on Anniversary of Maguindanao Massacre

22 November 2010

Government's weak adherence to human rights reinforces warlords' culture of impunity

Justice won't come easy for the victims of Maguindanao massacre as long as warlordism and violations of human rights remain rampant in this country. The culture of impunity attached to warlordism is reinforced further by the government's weak adherence to human rights, or worse by its complicity to the crime as shown in the Maguindanao case.

The protracted prosecution of the main suspects in the massacre is no doubt painful for the victims with the expected delay in the rendering of justice. But the most agonizing part of it as far as the whole nation is concerned is when we see the apparent failure of the government to curb the warlordism common in many places, notwithstanding the fact that human rights are continuously being violated in our country.

As long as private armed groups identified with known warlords and politicians all over the country are not neutralized then the sacrifice of the lives of 58 victims, many of them journalists, was for nothing.

The best that the Aquino government can do on this case is to ensure the victims that justice would come soon and the country feels the guarantee that human rights are well protected under this administration.

State sanctioned labor rights violation is a vivid example of how culture of impunity is reinforced. A backhoe was used to bury the victims of the Maguindanao massacre while a Baldozer was utilized in the massacre of regular jobs at PAL.

If the government tolerates contractualization as a valid management prerogative then employers are further emboldened to use the scheme to exploit workers as in the case of PAL and many other companies.

Militants to revive “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” slogan in anti-contractualization protest

Press Release
November 22, 2010

The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) will tweak the reviled “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” slogan in the workers march on Makati this Thursday. PM will bring tarpaulins with the message “Kung Walang Kontraktwal, Pilipinas Kay Ganda” and “Kung Trabaho ay Regular, Pilipinas Kay Ganda” to the National Day of Action for Regular Jobs and Against Contractual Employment on November 25.

“The ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ brand may not be appealing to many but we believe it describes our dream of a country where workers enjoy job security, living wages, substantial benefits, decent working conditions and the freedom to have a voice and representation in the workplace through a union,” stated Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson. PM will also make streamers with the message “Kontraktwalisasyon, WOW Mali” as a play on the old tourism slogan “WOW Philippines.”

The various labor groups that have come together to denounce the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on the mass layoff at Philippine Airlines (PAL), will hold the nationwide protest to push for government regulation against contractualization. The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) and the union at the Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC), another Lucio Tan company, will lead the main activity at Ayala Ave. in Makati. Aside from PM, big labor groups that have confirmed attendance in the march along Ayala Ave. include the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Koalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA), Labor Alliance for Better Order and Reform (LABOR), and the Church-Labor Conference (CLC).

“This is now a fight that is beyond PAL. In factories, shops, offices and malls contractual workers are working side-by-side with regular employees in doing the same job for lesser pay and worse working conditions. We demand that government institute reforms to enhance job security and stop contractualization schemes,” argued Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chairperson.

Participating in the Ayala march are FTC union members who are restive over another corporate restructuring which threatens the job security of its more than 2,000 workers. At 6:00 p.m. tonight hundreds of Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU) members will hold a prayer rally outside the factory gates in Parang, Marikina City. Last November 12 some 500 FTLU members held a torch parade from Parang to Concepcion.

February this year FTC and Philip Morris Philippines, Inc. announced the formation of the joint venture company Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC). FTC has told the union that it will offer early retirement to some 1,000 workers then forcibly terminate another 2,000 workers before being rehired in the merged PMFTC. The union is demanding that PMFTC absorb the FTC workers without loss of employment status and recognize the union and its existing collective bargaining agreement.

Aside from the Ayala march, rallies will also be held in other key cities like Davao, General Santos and Bacolod on November 25. In Cebu City the mass action will be held a day earlier with a labor forum at the ALU Building in the morning and then an afternoon rally at the local Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

PALEA, Fortune Tobacco union to lead National Day of Action vs. contractualization

Press Release
November 17, 2010

The various labor groups that have come together to denounce the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on the mass layoff at Philippine Airlines (PAL), will hold a nationwide protest on November 25 to push for government regulation against contractualization. The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) and the union at the Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC), another Lucio Tan company, will lead the main activity at Ayala Ave. in Makati.

“This is now a fight that is beyond PAL. In factories, shops, offices and malls contractual workers are working side-by-side with regular employees in doing the same job for lesser pay and worse working conditions. We demand that government institute reforms to enhance job security and stop contractualization schemes. Ang kontraktwalisasyon ay baluktot na landas,” argued Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chairperson.

The implementation of the Baldoz ruling allowing the layoff at PAL has been effectively stayed with the start of Malacanang-mediated talks between PAL and PALEA last Monday. “So now we have time to develop the movement against contractual employment and for regular jobs,” revealed Rivera. Only PALEA was met by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa last Monday since PAL President Jaime Bautista is still abroad.

Also attending the Ayala march are hundreds of FTC union members who are restive over another corporate restructuring which threatens the job security of more than 2,000 workers. Last Friday some 500 FTC workers held a torch parade from Parang to Concepcion in Marikina City. February this year FTC and Philip Morris Philippines, Inc. announced the formation of a joint venture company called Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC). Details of the merger agreement remain unclear especially on the employment status of FTC workers.

Aside from the Ayala march, rallies will also be held in other key cities like Davao, Bacolod and Iloilo on November 25. In Cebu City the mass action will be held a day earlier with a labor forum at the ALU Building in the morning and then an afternoon rally at the local Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office.

Arnulfo Macabutas, Fortune Tobacco Labor Union vice president, said that “The DOLE plans to hold a nationwide tripartite conference on outsourcing in Davao. The National Day off Action against contractualization is our way of expressing our position on outsourcing, mergers, layoffs and other forms of restructuring. We hold that management prerogative is not absolute and cannot trample upon workers’ right to job security and the freedom to unionize. The constitutional mandate for living wages, security of tenure and collective bargaining should not be dead letters but must be made real in life.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

PALEA insists in Malacanang-brokered talks that layoff is a wrong solution

Press Release
November 15, 2010
PALEA

The Philippines Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) attended the meeting called this morning by Malacanang at the office of the Executive Secretary and insisted that the planned mass layoff is not the solution to the financial problems of Philippine Airlines (PAL).

“We also reiterated our call, as stated in our formal appeal to President Benigno Aquino last Friday, for him to suspend the implementation of the decision by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz. He can use the powers vested in Article 263 (g) of the Labor Code which states that the President can intervene at any time and assume jurisdiction over any labor dispute in order to settle it. That power has usually been used to stop workers from holding a strike. We are challenging P-Noy to employ it to stop management’s planned mass layoff,” explained Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chairperson.

PALEA also clarified that they plan to push through with the strike vote this week despite the ongoing talks between and PAL and PALEA. “The strike vote is part of the process provided for the law towards holding a strike. We are merely complying with the legal requirements. We are thus calling on PALEA members to express their sentiments through the strike vote. We will invite the Department of Labor and Employment to observe the holding of the strike vote,” Rivera stated.

Meanwhile in a meeting last Friday the various labor groups that have come together to support PALEA has decided to call for a National Day of Action on November 25. The theme of the nationwide activities is “No to Contractual Employment! Fight for Regular Jobs!” Thousands of workers from the various labor groups are expected to participate in the main rally in Metro Manila and in other key cities. A thousand restive workers of Fortune Tobacco, also owned by PAL boss Lucio Tan, plan to attend since their job security is threatened by the merger with Philip Morris that created the joint venture company Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) last February.

Rivera insisted that “PAL employees should not pay for PAL’s financial crisis since we did not cause it. Moreover the retrenchment will reduce PAL’s losses by an insignificant 7%. The real reason for the mass layoff is not to save PAL but to bust the union and replace regular jobs with contractual workers.”

PALEA likewise raised the demand for Malacanang to initiate efforts towards regulating the widespread practice of contractualization through both executive action and legislative measures. “Despite the denial of Sec. Baldoz that her decision is not a go signal for capitalists to outsource work, the ruling can and will be used by employers by similarly arguing that management prerogative and financial distress allows them to replace regular jobs with contractual employment,” argued Rivera.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Global union pledges aid to PALEA

Media Release
12 November 2010
International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF)

Global union federation the ITF today pledged its support for the PALEA union and renewed its call to Philippines President Benigno Aquino to avoid a huge loss of jobs at Philippine Airlines (PAL).

The ITF – International Transport Workers’ Federation – has been backing PALEA (Philippine Airlines Employees Association) in its defence of jobs and conditions at the airline. The ITF is now redoubling its efforts, following the decision by the country’s Labor Ministry not to block the probable laying off of up to 3,000 workers in Philippine Airlines’ service divisions. The ITF has therefore put its 781 member trade unions on standby to be ready to assist, and has written to President Aquino. Details of the ITF’s Save Our PAL’s Jobs campaign can be found at www.itfglobal.org/campaigns/campaigns-3192.cfm

The Labor Ministry’s decision confirms one made by the previous Philippine government, that the retrenchment of jobs is permissible as ‘a valid exercise of management prerogative’. PALEA and the ITF are seeking to persuade the government of Benigno Aquino that the move, if permitted, would further aggravate strained labour relations within the airline, weaken PAL, and could be construed as asset stripping of PAL and an attempt to weaken the union and neutralise its defence of its members’ jobs.

In the latest appeal to President Aquino the ITF’s General Secretary, David Cockroft stated that:

“Events at the airline will be well known to you, including the widely reported hiving off by owner Lucio Tan of its most profitable service divisions and their subsequent renaming and incorporation into his own companies, the resulting risk to jobs, and the alleged attempt to neuter any dissent from within the airline by breaking its workers’ union of choice, PALEA.”

He continued: “We are not alone in finding Lucio Tan an unlikely candidate to run such a large and important airline. The sources of the wealth in the Marcos era that reportedly enabled him to do so and the apparent influence he was able to exert over former President Estrada are no secret. If these facts were not enough to create disquiet about his qualifications then his often cited aggressive and hamfisted approach to labour relations would be. We are glad that your government has taken an interest in trying to set right some of the failures of the past. We particularly congratulate you on setting up the Truth Commission, with its mandate to expose corporate and political corruption. Nevertheless, we must respectfully state that we believe the decision of 31st October by your Labour and Employment Secretary to allow the ‘retrenchment’ layoff of 3,000 PAL workers is wholly wrong.”

David Cockroft went on to say: “The potential result of such a decision, if it not rescinded, has been concisely described by PALEA President Gerry Rivera as meaning the death of job security at Philippine Airlines. We, like PALEA, believe it will usher in not just the layoff and possible reemployment without protection and on inferior terms of those 3,000 people, but will also accelerate the decline and dissension that is wracking your nation’s national carrier. We therefore ask you and your government to reconsider the decision most urgently. We understand that it was taken in the belief that the jobs ‘sacrifice’ falls under the provisions of a legitimate exercise of management prerogative but we urge you to reconsider the actual legitimacy of Lucio Tan’s management, the seemingly antagonistic way it has been exercised, and the grave damage that management has reportedly caused to operations, to labour relations, and to the formerly good name of Philippines Airlines. Set in that context, we believe, your Government’s decision cannot be allowed to stand.”

Friday, November 12, 2010

PALEA returns to Mendiola, appeals to P-Noy in last-minute bid to stop layoff

Press Release
November 12, 2010
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today returned to Mendiola for a rally to appeal to President Benigno Aquino III to stop the mass layoff of 2,600 employees at Philippine Airlines (PAL). PALEA submitted a formal petition to the Office of the President appealing for presidential intervention to suspend the implementation of the Baldoz decision pending its review.

“We are hopeful that P-Noy will act immediately on our petition. The President has the power based on Article 263(g) of the Labor Code to intervene at any time and assume jurisdiction over any labor dispute in order to settle it. That power has usually been used to stop workers from holding a strike as in the case of PALEA and FASAP recently. But now we are challenging P-Noy to employ it to stop management’s planned mass layoff,” explained Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chairperson.

Some 300 PALEA members and supporters from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and the coalition Kontra launched a motorcade that started at the PNB Building in Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. then went onto to the Department of Labor and Employment and ended at Mendiola by noon. Meanwhile PALEA, PM and Kontra members in the cities of Cebu and Davao picketed the local Department of Labor and Employment offices to lambast the controversial Baldoz decision.

PALEA had initially planned to file a case at the Court of Appeals to question the Baldoz ruling. Rivera asserted that “We are still reserving the option to go to the Court of Appeals if nothing happens with the Office of the President. We believe we have 60 days to file a case at the Court of Appeals.”

PALEA insisted that its notice of strike is based on valid grounds of unfair labor practice by PAL. “Cielo Villaluna of PAL keeps on denying our claim that management is trying to convince union members to accept the termination package. But she signed the minutes of the conciliation meeting last Monday which states that ‘Management, through counsel, will talk to the managers to refrain from discussing the plan/issues with union members.” PAL has practically admitted to our allegation,” argued Rivera.

He also added in response to Baldoz’ justification that outsourcing is a global trend, “It does not mean that if others are doing it then it is right. If that is the logic then Filipino workers should then be enjoying the generous benefits and protection accorded workers abroad. Fact is the worldwide shift to outsourcing and contractualization has lead to the worsening of global poverty. This global inequality is the root of the global crisis two years ago which is a problem of overproduction in goods due to the lack of purchasing power by workers whose wages and benefits have shrank in the last two decades.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

PALEA to ask P-Noy to suspend implementation of Baldoz order

PRESS RELEASE
PALEA
11 November 2010

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) will be asking President Noynoy Aquino to suspend the implementation of Baldoz’s order that allows the outsourcing of PAL non-core functions and the contractualization of its regular employees.

PALEA President Gerry Rivera made the annoucement as they plan to make a formal appeal to the President tomorrow in Malacanang.

Tomorrow, members of PALEA, Partido ng Manggagawa and Koalisyon Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA) will hold a motorcade from the PAL headquarters in Pasay City to the Department of Labor and Employment Building in Intramuros before proceeding to Mendiola to submit PALEA’s appeal to the Office of the President.

“We believe that the President has the powers to suspend the implementation of any executive decision including assailed decisions of his cabinet secretaries,” Rivera said in a statement sent to media.

Rivera said the Baldoz decision is indisputably an unjust decision as manifested in the strong and unified opposition to it by all of the country’s organized labor groups. Organized labor groups, Rivera added, have also called on President Aquino to intervene in the PAL dispute during a joint press conference held on Monday.

Aside from suspension, PALEA is also asking the President to facilitate a fair and equitable resolution of this conflict without trampling upon the rights of labor which are guaranteed by the Constitution and international conventions.

Rivera also announced that PALEA members would conduct a strike vote next week to prepare their ranks against any move by the management to recklessly implement the retrenchment order.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rival labor groups unite to call on P-Noy to reverse Baldoz ruling

Press Release
November 10, 2010
PALEA

For the first time in a long time, rival labor groups came together in a common cause to support the fight of the embattled Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) and call upon President Benigno Aquino III to reverse the controversial ruling by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz allowing the planned mass layoff at Philippine Airlines (PAL).

In a gathering last Monday in Quezon City, leaders of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) among others agreed on a statement of solidarity with PALEA. The unity statement also condemned the Baldoz ruling as a “clear and present danger to labor rights and may be the last nail on the coffin of job security.”

Other labor groups that signed the unity statement include Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP), ABS-CBN IJM Union, Associated Labor Unions (ALU-TUCP), Archdiocese of Manila Labor Concerns (AMLC), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Church Labor Conference (CLC), Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU), Liga Manggagawa, Likha-TUCP, Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (Makabayan), National Federation of Labor (NFL), Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT), Public Services Labor Independent Federation (PSLINK), TUCP-Congress, Union Network Philippines (UNP), United Filipino Service Workers (UFSW), United Transport Workers Union (UTWU), Urban Missionaries (UM) and United Transport Workers Union (UTWU).

The meeting ended with a public announcement of the unity statement. Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chairperson, said that “We call on the government to take notice of this historic solidarity of the full spectrum of the labor movement to defend regular jobs and to fight labor contractualization. It is not too late for Malacanang to intervene in the PAL labor row in interests of safeguarding Constitutionally-mandated workers rights in the face of corporate restructuring.”

Former Sen. Nene Pimentel also graced the event and aside from expressing support for PALEA also offered to assist in the legal aspect of the fight including the planned filing of a case at the Court of Appeals.

“This labor solidarity is an expression that PALEA’s fight for regular jobs goes beyond the interests of PAL employees but involves as well the welfare of all workers. This will not be a country fit for our children if no one enjoys the dignity of a regular job. A regular job that provides decent wages, substantial benefits, security of tenure and the protection of a union should be the Filipino way of life,” Rivera elaborated.

Mass layoff, contractualization threatens 2,380 workers of another Lucio Tan company

PRESS RELEASE
10 November 2010

Aside from the Philippine Airlines (PAL), workers of another flagship company of business tycoon Lucio Tan, the Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC), are getting restive as the company embarks on major reorganization which threatens the job security of its more than 2,000 workers, according to the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

Partido ng Manggagawa Chair and former Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU) president Renato Magtubo added that FTLU members see the threat real and forthcoming but not without resistance from one of the country’ strongest unions. A torch parade around the FTC plants and a march to Concepcion Church in Marikina City will be held at 6:00 p.m. today as a show of resistance to the threat of mass layoff and contractualization.

Magtubo said the threat on job security of FTC workers took shape February this year when FTC and Philip Morris Philippines, Inc. (PMPI) announced the formation of a joint venture company called Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC). Details of the merger agreement, however, remain unclear especially on the employment status of FTC workers as the management feeds the union merger information by piecemeal.

The merger, according to industry reports, created a virtual monopoly of the tobacco industry in the country. FTC controls 60% share of the market while PMPI has 30%.

But corporate mergers, acquisitions and other forms of restructuring around the world as a result of globalization were always accompanied by job losses and regression in labor standards on the part of the workers. Magtubo said bank mergers in recent past and now the outsourcing in PAL are fresh examples of how labor is forcibly made flexible to the whims of capital.

“By closely watching the recent developments in PAL, FTLU members are getting restless over the ‘general pattern’ created with PAL’s journey into the world of contractualization,” said Magtubo referring to the planned outsourcing and contractualization of the flag carrier’s non-core function recently upheld by the Labor Department.

Magtubo said the management should make a full disclosure of joint venture agreement and warns it not to resort to any kind of action that would undermine workers’ right to security of tenure, their collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and the defense of their union.

Anti-contractualization group urges Congress to enact tough measures against contractualization

PRESS RELEASE
KOALISYON LABAN SA KONTRAKTWALISASYON
10 November 2010

Some 500 Members of the Koalisyon Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA) trooped to the gates of Batasan Complex this afternoon asking Congress to enact stringent measures against contractualization to prevent companies from employing different schemes that undermine labor standards.

The picket was held in time for the public hearing scheduled by the House Labor Committee on the intensifying labor dispute in PAL.

“Without these tough measures, companies are emboldened to employ labor flexibilization schemes under the guise of management prerogatives as in the case of PAL,” said Partido ng Manggagawa Chair Renato Magtubo in a statement.

The former labor partylist representative explained that “Unless criminalized, contractualization, though prohibited by law, will be abused to the max by greedy capitalists especially when they find comfort from no less than the Labor Department itself.”

Pete Pinlac, chairperson of Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (Makabayan), pointed out that schemes such as outsourcing and other kinds of labor flexibilization, are mere faces of the same coin.

“All these are meant to cut on labor cost by different means, either through outright retrenchment or by depressing the price of labor by resorting to contractual work arrangements,” said Pinlac.

Edwin Bustillos of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) on the other hand said, the scourge of contractualization has effectively weakened the bargaining power of labor in terms of defending their job security and securing decent income.

“In most cases, contractual workers are denied decent wages, have no job security, and receive no benefits compared to their regular counterparts,” explained Bustillos.

Bustillos said the entire labor movement in the country is against contractualization and is asking Congress to reverse this trend before the Philippines completely becomes a country of contractuals.

KONTRA is a labor alliance opposed to the policy of labor contractualization. It is composed of Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry for Labor Concerns (AMLC), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Manggagawa para sa Inang Bayan (MAKABAYAN), Manggagawa sa Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas (MKP), PALEA, Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Unified Filipino Service Workers (UFSW), and Urban Missionaries (UM).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PALEA asks Congress to probe ownership of PAL’s service providers

Press Release
November 9, 2010
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) is calling on the House Labor Committee to investigate the ownership of the so-called third party service providers contracted by Philippine Airlines (PAL) to takeover the airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations.

“Congress must attempt to pierce the corporate veil surrounding these service providers. A probe may reveal that Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen are not third-party companies but simply fronts with Lucio Tan as the real owner,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) vice chairperson. Sky Logistics is set to takeover the airport services to be shutdown by PAL while Sky Kitchen will capture PAL’s in-flight catering operations. Meanwhile PAL’s call center reservations will e contracted out to ePLDT Ventus.

Tomorrow the House Labor Committee to will hold a hearing on the PAL labor row. PALEA and PM will attend the House hearing to push Congress to regulate the rampant contractualization schemes of employers. Some 500 members of PALEA, PM and the coalition Kontra will also hold a picket the Batasang Pambansa at 11:30 a.m.

PALEA believes that Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen are in fact owned by Lucio Tan and the alleged proprietor, a certain Manny Osmena, is just fronting for the PAL boss. “Manny Osmena is a Chinese immigrant who acquired Filipino citizenship by naturalization and in the process changed his name to Manny Osmena. He is not related to the Osmenas of Cebu instead he is a cousin of Lucio Tan,” Rivera revealed.

He said that the information they have gathered is that PAL President Jaime Bautista is a stockholder of Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen. He is also a partner of Manny Pangilinan in ePLDT Ventus. Rivera announced that “We are asking the House Labor Committee to validate these data by asking PAL management to make a full disclosure of the interlocking directorates between PAL and the service providers.”

PALEA is also asking Congress to probe the bonuses received by PAL executives and board members during the years that the national flag carrier was claiming losses. “Why does PAL reward the failure of its executives and officers with indecent benefits? And why is it that workers have to pay for the financial crisis of PAL?” Rivera insisted.

Rivera quoted from documents in PALEA’s possession that reveal bonuses received and estimated to be received by the top senior executive officers in the three years from 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 at around USD 60,000 (PHP 2.76 M at exchange rate of PHP46 to USD1) per year. This is aside from salaries of around USD 360,000 and other annual compensation of up to USD 90,000.

“For the same years, all the other PAL officers and Board of Directors received no less than USD 25,000 in bonuses on top of salaries of more than USD 150,000 and other annual compensation of up to USD 265,000. These bonuses and other compensation were given out during the years that Labor Secretary Baldoz in her decision cites PAL’s claimed of losses of USD 297.8 M in 2009 and USD 14.3 M in 2010 as basis for retrenchment,” Rivera added.

Anti-contractualization group holds local noise barrage in support of PALEA

PRESS RELEASE
KOALISYON LABAN SA KONTRAKTWALISASYON
09 November 2010

Members of the Koalisyon Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA) staged localized mass actions in the form of noise barrage this morning in several crowded areas in Metro Manila in support of Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) members’ struggle against mass layoff and contractualization.

The first noise barrage between was held between 8:00am – 9:00 am at Pasay Rotonda. Members of PALEA distributed thousands of flyers to commuters and passersby calling on the public to support their struggle against the contractualization policy in PAL as well as in other industry.

In Bicutan Interchange, members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (Makabayan) led the second noise barrage calling for the resignation of Labor Sec. Baldoz and the intervention of P-Noy in the PAL-PALEA dispute.

The noise barrages started a week-long series of protests that will culminate in PALEA’s filing of appeal at the Court of Appeals on Friday to reverse the Baldoz decision. KONTRA is also joining Friday’s synchronized picket by PALEA of DOLE’s Regional offices in Bacolod, Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Dipolog, General Santos City, and Zamboanga.

Workers welcome solidarity from Catholic Church on PAL labor row

Press Statement
November 9, 2010
Gerry Rivera
PALEA President

Last October 29 Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz released a decision that allows Philippine Airlines (PAL) to outsource its airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations and layoff more than half of its workforce. The Halloween order will lead to the massacre of some 3,000 regular jobs and the death of the oldest union in the country.

The decision sets a dangerous precedent for it will open the floodgates to massive contractualization. Regular employees of PAL will be retrenched and then rehired as contractual workers in so-called third-party service providers. The work done at the service providers will be exactly the same but for cheaper wages, fewer benefits, no security of tenure and no protection of a union.

All the employees to be retrenched by PAL will indeed be absorbed by the service providers but only as contractuals. As contractuals, ex-PAL workers would enjoy no security of tenure and thus can be legally fired at the whim of the service providers. Without a union, ex-PAL workers will have no protection and no voice as employees in the service providers.

The euphemistically termed “transition benefits” enumerated in the Baldoz ruling are mere artificial sweeteners to the bitter pill of contractualization. They may well be above the separation pay mandated by law and the CBA but it nonetheless cannot provide for a decent life to those facing the prospect of long-term unemployment.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo captured our sentiments when he said that the Baldoz decision reflects the policy of the Aquino administration to continue rather than cure the virus of contractualization. The Philippines will be a much poorer country if we become a nation of contractuals.

This will not be a country fit for our children if no one will enjoy the dignity of a regular job. A regular job that provides decent wages, substantial benefits, security of tenure and the protection of a union should be the Filipino way of life. This is not an impossible dream for employers need only be guided by Christian teachings on sharing the fruits of production.

PAL workers warmly welcome the support of the Catholic Church for PALEA’s demand for social justice and the protection of regular jobs. A church-labor solidarity is just as important as the labor unity forged yesterday with the full spectrum of the trade union movement from the moderate to the militant championing PALEA’s fight for regular jobs.

PALEA calls for the resignation of Labor Sec. Baldoz and the intervention of President Benigno Aquino in suspending the implementation of the mass layoff. On Friday PALEA will also file a case at the Court of Appeals against the Baldoz decision.

Monday, November 8, 2010

FASAP supports PALEA strike

PRESS STATEMENT
November 08, 2010

FASAP is one with PALEA in its struggle to protect the job security of all PAL employees and we will stand by them in their intended strike.

PAL's spin-off will affect almost 3,000 employees. This is a most cruel Christmas gift to the PAL employees, their children and their families.

FASAP, which also has a pending labor case with the Department of Labor, is deeply alarmed with the recent decision of the DOLE regarding PAL's “outsourcing” program.

Our brothers and sisters in PALEA are loyal and dedicated PAL ground workers, who have worked very hard and sacrificed immensely to serve PAL and the general riding public.

Through the years, they are the ones who have toiled to keep PAL's 24-hour operations concerning important functions such as In-flight Catering, Ground-Handling and Airport servicing.

Without their sacrifice, competence and dedication, PAL would have closed-down a long time ago. Back in the year 1998 they even agreed to suspend their CBA for 10 years to save PAL from bankruptcy. Now, more than 10 years after, with PAL now profitable, the workers are being dismissed.

We lament that PAL management decided to push through with the drastic spin-off measure, unmindful of how it will affect the lives of 3,000 workers and their families. Surely there are less painful and more humane ways to ensure the viability of PAL?

A more caring Company would think twice before terminating thousands of loyal employees.

The Aquino government should not allow PAL to simply get rid of thousands of Filipino workers in the national flag carrier for the sake of profit.

To contact FASAP for clarifications and interviews at tel nos. 854-51-59, 851-53-93 , FASAP Hotline 0918-8532727.







DOLE protesters call on Baldoz to resign and PNoy to intervene

Press Release
November 8, 2010

More than 200 protesters from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and groups affiliated with the coalition KONTRA picketed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) this afternoon while a conciliation meeting was being held between Philippine Airlines (PAL) management and the ground crew union. The protesters called for Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’ resignation and for President Benigno Aquino III’s intervention in the PAL-PALEA labor row.

Last Friday PALEA filed another notice of strike on the ground of unfair labor practice due to PAL’s effort at individual bargaining with union members and also union busting. The DOLE rally today is the kickoff of a week-long series of protests that will culminate in the filing of a case at the Court of Appeals on Friday to question the decision of Labor Sec. Baldoz.

This morning a press conference was held in Quezon City by rival labor groups in support of PALEA’s cause. Aside from PALEA, the following groups attended the presscon: Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP), Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Archdiocese of Manila Labor Concerns (AMLC), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Church Labor Conference (CLC), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN), National Federation of Labor (NFL), PM, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Union Network Philippines (UNP), United Filipino Service Workers (UFSW), United transport Workers Union (UTWU), Urban Missionaries (UM).

Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, stated that “We call upon P-Noy to reverse the decision of controversial Baldoz decision. Di pa huli ang lahat para ituwid ang baluktot. It is not too late for the government to follow the straight path instead of the crooked road of promoting contractualization.”

The protesters brought placards that read “Baldozer ng labor rights, Resign!,” “Baldoz: Tuta ni Lucio Tan, Resign!,” “DOLE: Libingan ng karapatan ng manggagawa,” “Ayaw namin sa trabahong kontraktwal, trabahong regular ipaglaban,” “End ENDO,” and “Basta Regular kahit di Special, Wag lang Kontraktwal.”

Tomorrow KONTRA will hold a noise barrage at Baclaran and Bicutan while on Wednesday a rally of some 500 workers will be held at the Batasang Pambansa to coincide with the House Labor Committee hearing on the PAL labor dispute. Another noise barrage will be sponsored by KONTRA on Thursday at EDSA cor. GMA-7, Ali Mall in Cubao and at McDonald’s along Quezon Ave.

On Friday a motorcade will be held that will start from the PALEA office, proceed to the Court of Appeals then on to DOLE Intramuros and finally end in the airport area. On the same day, synchronized pickets at local DOLE offices will be held in Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Dipolog, General Santos City and Zamboanga.

Gerry Rivera, PALEA president insisted that “What will make the coming holidays happy for PAL employees is not receiving separation pay but keeping our regular jobs and securing the future for our families. The offer of separation pay is a pittance compared to the multi-million annual bonuses doled out by PAL to its executives and directors despite its alleged huge losses for the years 2009 and 2010.”

PALEA welcomes labor unity for regular jobs

Statement
November 8, 2010

PAL workers warmly welcome the unity of different even rival labor groups in support of PALEA’s fight for job security. Above all we enthusiastically embrace the labor solidarity for regular jobs that has been inspired by the struggle of PAL employees against contractualization.

This labor unity for regular jobs is proof of the clear and present danger posed by the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz that gives the green light for PAL to layoff some 3,000 employees.

Moreover this labor solidarity is an expression that PALEA’s fight for regular jobs goes beyond the interests of PAL employees but involves as well the welfare of all workers.

Contractualization is an epidemic that is ravaging the wages and working conditions of Filipino workers. The Philippines will be a much poorer country if we become a nation of contractuals.

This will not be a country fit for our children if no one will enjoy the dignity of a regular job. A regular job that provides decent wages, substantial benefits, security of tenure and the protection of a union should be the Filipino way of life.

Mga kapwa naming manggagawa: Oras na para manindigan. Panahon na para kumilos. Ito na ang sandali para magkaisa.

We call on the government to take notice of this historic solidarity of the full spectrum of the labor movement to defend regular jobs and to fight labor contractualization.

There is enough time for Congress to legislate measures to address the demand for job security and plug the loopholes of the law used and abused by employers.

Finally it is not too late for Malacanang to reverse the controversial Baldoz ruling and make good on its promise of change.

The labor movement at this moment stands as one body and speaks with one voice in support of PALEA’s demand for job security. Today the workers movement unites to defend the oldest union in the country. Tomorrow the labor movement will once again come together to fight for the rights and welfare of all workers.

An injury to one is an injury to all. All for one. One for all.

Pahayag ng Pakikiisa sa Laban ng PALEA para sa Regular na Trabaho

Nagmula man kami sa magkakaibang grupo subalit sa pagkakataong ito ay nagkakaisa kaming manindigan sa pagsuporta sa laban ng PALEA para sa seguridad sa trabaho.

Nagpapahayag din kami ng pagkundena sa desisyon ni Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz na nagbibigay-laya sa PAL sa malawakang tanggalan ng humigit-kumulang 3,000 empleyado. Mapanganib ang desisyong ito sapagkat isinantabi nito ang PAL-PALEA collective bargaining agreement na malinaw na nagsasaad na ipinagbabawal ang contracting-out ng trabaho ng mga regular na empleyado. Binabalewala nito maging ang jurisprudence ng batas na naglalatag ng mga kondisyon sa tanggalan ng mga manggagawa kahit sa mga kompanyang nagsasabing nalulugi.

Ang desisyon ni Baldoz ay magbubukas ng pintuan para sa malawakang kontraktwalisasyon. Maaring ito ang huling pako sa kabaong ng seguridad sa trabaho sa ating bayan.

Kaya naman ito ay di lang isyu ng mga empleyado ng PAL kundi usapin ng mga manggagawang Pilipino. Hindi lang ito pakikibaka ng mga empleyado ng PAL kundi laban ito ng mga manggagawang Pilipino.

Lalakas ang loob ng mga employer, malaki man o maliit, na gayahin ang PAL. Sisibakin ang mga regular na empleyado at papalitan ng mga kontraktwal na manggagawa na mas barat ang sweldo, kapos sa benepisyo, walang seguridad sa trabaho at walang proteksyon ng unyon.

Ang landas ng pag-unlad ng ating bansa ay wala sa baluktot na daan ng kontraktwalisasyon. Magdurusa ang ating bayan kung tayo ay maging isang bansa ng mga kontraktwal.

Nananawagan kami kay Pangulong Benigno Aquino III na baliktarin ang desisyon ni Sec. Baldoz. Hindi pa huli ang lahat para ituwid ng gobyerno ang baluktot.

Ang laban ng PALEA ay laban ng lahat. Ang laban ng lahat ay kontra kontraktwalisasyon.

PALEA- Philippine Airlines Employees Association, FASAP- Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines, ALU- Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, AMLC– Archdiocese of Manila Labor Concerns, APL- Alliance of Progressive Labor, BMP-Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, CLC- Church Labor Conference, KMU- Kilusang Mayo Uno, MAKABAYAN- Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan, NFL- National Federation of Labor, PM- Partido ng Manggagawa, PMT- Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon, PSLINK- Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, TUCP- Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, TUCP-Congress, Likha-TUCP, UNP- Union Network Philippines, UFSW– Unified Filipino Service Workers, UTWU- United transport Workers Union, UM- Urban Missionaries

8 November 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

PALEA ready for a strike but will respect conciliation process

Press Release
November 7, 2010
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) declared that it is ready for a strike while it will respect the conciliation process mandated by law and will attend the hearing set for tomorrow at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“We are prepared to go on strike to defend the union from management’s unfair labor practice. We are forced to this recourse because of management’s intransigence in persuading PALEA members into accepting the separation package. The strike can be as early as after 15 days since this is an unfair labor practice issue,” explained Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) vice chairperson.

Last Friday PALEA filed anew a notice of strike on the ground of unfair labor practice due to PAL’s effort at individual bargaining with union members and also union busting. Tomorrow a conciliation hearing has been set at 2:00 p.m. at the DOLE office in Intramuros.

“The filing of a notice of strike is not a delaying tactic by the union but an urgent response to management’s belligerent moves. Tomorrow we will present evidence of PAL’s determined and pervasive attempts at cajoling PALEA members into swallowing the bitter pill of termination,” insisted Rivera.

To coincide with the conciliation meeting, a rally of some 200 PALEA members, PM supporters and a delegation from the coalition KONTRA will he held at the DOLE Intramuros. The DOLE rally will be the kickoff of a week-long series of protests that will culminate in the filing of a case at the Court of Appeals on Friday to question the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, stated that “We call upon P-Noy to reverse the decision of controversial Baldoz decision. Di pa huli ang lahat para ituwid ang baluktot. It is not too late for the government to follow the straight path instead of the crooked road of promoting contractualization.”

Rivera also laughed off PAL’s announcement that PALEA members and even officers are secretly asking management for the computation of their separation pay. “This work of fiction is the output of the newly-hired PR firm of PAL. What will make the coming holidays happy for PAL employees is not receiving separation pay but keeping our regular jobs and securing the future for our families. The offer of separation pay is a pittance compared to the multi-million annual bonuses doled out by PAL to its executives and directors despite its alleged huge losses for the years 2009 and 2010,” he elaborated.

On Tuesday KONTRA will hold a noise barrage at Baclaran and Bicutan while on Wednesday a rally of some 500 workers will be held at the Batasang Pambansa to coincide with the House Labor Committee hearing on the PAL labor row. Another noise barrage will be sponsored by KONTRA on Thursday at EDSA cor. GMA-7, Ali Mall in Cubao and at McDonald’s along Quezon Ave. On Friday a motorcade will be held that will start from the PALEA office, proceed to the Court of Appeals then on to DOLE Intramuros and finally end in the airport area. On the same day, synchronized pickets at local DOLE offices will be held in Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Dipolog, General Santaos City and Zamboanga.

Labor group sees Laguesma’s hand in Baldoz’s order

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa

Former Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, known in the labor sector as the architect of the 10-year moratorium on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the Philippine Airlines and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association in 1998, may have been instrumental in the crafting of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’s recent order allowing the contractualization of PAL employees, according to the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

According to PM Chair Renato Magtubo, it is the law firm of Laguesma that represents PAL in its labor cases and he was Baldoz’s big boss when he presided over the union-busting and CBA moratorium of PAL way back in 1998. In addition, Laguesma’s wife works as a manager in the interline accounting division of PAL, according to PALEA.

“Baldoz can be the contractualization queen in the labor department but behind her is the king of all contractualization schemes in the country in the person of Laguesma,” said Magtubo.

During his stint as partylist representative in Congress, Magtubo had been very vocal in opposing the 1998 CBA moratorium as it violates the Constitution and he was even brought before the ethics committee for accusing his colleagues in the House of being in the pockets of Lucio Tan for their deafening silence on the issue.

“In both 1998 and 2010 DOLE decisions, labor laws were twisted in favor of Lucio Tan. And the motive was clear: It was a ruthless 12 year campaign to annihilate the PAL unions through the legalization and institutionalization of contractualization schemes,” explained Magtubo.

Magtubo also disclosed that aside from PAL, Laguesma’s law firm is notorious in defending big companies employing contractualization schemes. This includes the ABS-CBN’s Internal Job Market (IJM) scheme that prevented the regularization of hundreds of its employees. Meanwhile the same Laguesma law firm is representing the giant electronics firm Yazaki EMI in Cavite in a pending case at the office of the Labor Secretary to defeat the unionization effort among supervisory employees.

Poor families and small entrepreneurs face eviction

Press Release
November 7, 2010

The urban poor have no where to go as their basic right to shelter was overruled by special proceedings of the courts. Scores of poor families in Paranaque held a noise barrage this morning against the planned demolition of their shanties.

Last October 30, some 150 poor families living at Lorenzana Compound located at 1340 Quirino Avenue, San Dionisio, Paranaque City were surprised by the Court Sheriff and private guards when they were asked to leave their homes. The urban poor however claim they never received any notice both either the court or Chinabank that had acquired the said property.

Enrico Saporna, the president of the Samahan ng Makakapitbahay sa Lorenzana Compound, said, “We are poor and lowly families but we know our rights. We know that Chinabank cannot just evict us. Even though we do not question their ownership of the property, we nonetheless criticize the proceedings that transpired in the court, as we were never called to represent ourselves in court and asked for remedies which the state guarantees, which is our basic right to shelter.”

He added, “We appeal to the China Banking Corporation to provide decent relocation to the affected families. Chinabank should exercise corporate social responsibility as we remind them of their mission statement, which states ‘We will maintain the highest ethical standards, sense of responsibility, and fairness with respect to our customers, employees, shareholders, and the communities we serve.’”

Alfredo Valera, auditor of the Samahan ng Magkakapitbahay and also a small entrepreneur in the area said, “We pay our taxes religiously and even the fees that the government charges so we can operate. But then our right to operate was overruled by mere special proceedings of the court which violated our rights as dwellers in this property.”

The Partido ng Manggagawa is assisting the urban poor community. Eduardo Casoy, the president of PM in Paranaque City said, “The situation of the poor families in Lorenzana Compound is one of the many cases of violations of informal settlers’ basic rights. This is hidden through the use of court procedures to prevent the poor from asserting their right through legal action. Thus we appeal to the national government, if this new administration is really walking on the ‘tuwid na daan,’ to implement and approve the recommendation from people’s organizations to release an executive order which provides moratorium on eviction and demolition for three years while the government reviews its housing and shelter policy and provide decent shelter as well.”

The Samahan ng Magkakapitbahay together with the Partido ng Manggagawa’ will try to seek assistance from various government offices while the whole community holds their ground until relocation is provided.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

PALEA files new notice of strike

Press Release
November 6, 2010

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) yesterday filed a new notice of strike for alleged unfair labor practices by Philippine Airlines (PAL) stemming from managers’ efforts to convince individual employees to accept the planned mass layoff.

“We decided to file the notice of strike because of widespread and persistent attempts by management to convince union members which by law is individual bargaining and constitute interference in the right to self-organization. These are issues separate although related to the question of the mass layoff recently decided by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz,” explained Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chairperson.

In the notice of strike filed by PALEA, they cited unfair labor practice as ground. The specifics of the unfair labor practice are (1) individual bargaining with union members which is tantamount to interference with, restraint, and coercion of employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization; and (2) mass termination of union officers amounting to union busting.

The mass layoff will lead to the dismissal of 62% of the present union leadership and 70% of its leadership. “The 1,000 union members who will remain then will be the subject of the next round of outsourcing which is already in management’s drawing boards and will be perfectly legal using the Baldoz decision as a precedent. The mass layoff is a teleserye that started with PAL’s maintenance and engineering department and in the end none will be left standing except the kontrabidas,” Rivera warned.

The notice of strike was filed yesterday around 5 p.m. at the Intramuros office of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB). By 5:30 p.m. PALEA had already received a notice of conference sent by fax from the office of NCMB Executive Director Reynaldo Ubaldo.

PALEA announced that they will attend the conciliation hearing on Monday. The Partido ng Manggagawa together with KONTRA, a labor coalition against contractualization, are planning however to stage a picket at the Department of Labor and Employment to coincide with the conciliation meeting.

Rivera revealed that a series of protests are slated for next week. He asked on the different labor groups to set aside their differences and unite in the fight for job security. “We call on our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement to join the picket on Monday and actions on the succeeding days. The struggle of PAL workers against contractualization is the struggle of all Filipino workers. All Filipinos will be poorer if we become a nation of contractuals,” Rivera insisted.

After filing the notice of strike, the next step in the process leading towards a full-blown strike is for PALEA to conduct a strike vote among its members.

Friday, November 5, 2010

PALEA asks House Labor Committee to probe millions in PAL corporate bonuses

Press Release
November 5, 2010

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) called on the House Labor Committee to investigate the bonuses received by Philippine Airlines (PAL) executives and board members during the years that the national flag carrier was claiming losses. “PAL’s alleged losses are questionable when it doles out millions in corporate bonuses. Or if indeed PAL is losing then how come it rewards the failure of its executives and officers with indecent benefits? And why is it that workers have to pay for the financial crisis of PAL?” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chairperson.

Rivera quoted from documents in PALEA’s possession that reveal bonuses received and estimated to be received by the top senior executive officers in the three years from 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 at around USD 60,000 (PHP 2.76 M at exchange rate of PHP46 to USD1) per year. This is aside from salaries of around USD 360,000 and other annual compensation of up to USD 90,000.

“For the same years, all the other PAL officers and Board of Directors received no less than USD 25,000 in bonuses on top of salaries of more than USD 150,000 and other annual compensation of up to USD 265,000. These bonuses and other compensation were given out during the years that Labor Secretary Baldoz in her decision cites PAL’s claimed of losses of USD 297.8 M in 2009 and USD 14.3 M in 2010 as basis for retrenchment,” Rivera added.

The House Labor Committee is due to hold a hearing on November 10 on the labor dispute at PAL. PALEA along with other labor groups will attend to push proposals to regulate the “epidemic of contractualization at PAL and other companies.”

Rivera is optimistic that the Labor Committee can oblige PAL management to make a full disclosure of corporate bonuses. “PAL should not hide behind confidentially arguments since it is a public utility that enjoys a government franchise. Corporate bonuses becomes a public issue when PAL plans to layoff thousands on claims that it may go bankrupt if not allowed to contract out work,” Rivera insisted.

PALEA hopes that the Labor Committee will express concern at the mass layoff. “We will welcome support from legislators who will add their voice to the chorus of solidarity with the PAL employees. PALEA thanks Bishop Broderick Pabillo for his condemnation of the Labor Department’s approval of the mass layoff,” Rivera said.

Bishop Pabillo, chair of the National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (Nassa), the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), yesterday conveyed disappointment at the policy of the government to favor capitalists rather than ordinary workers.

“President Aquino can still redeem the anti-labor image of his administration by reversing the controversial decision of Labor Secretary Baldoz. If not then P-Noy’s promise of change will be exposed as just a campaign gimmick,” Rivera averred.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

PALEA: Job security cannot be bought for P1M

Press Release
November 4, 2010

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) asserted that they are fighting for job security and are not bargaining for higher separation pay. Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chairperson, stated that “Job security is priceless and cannot be bought by P1 million worth of separation. Such entitlements may well be above the separation pay mandated by law and our collective bargaining agreement but it nonetheless cannot provide for a decent life to those facing the prospect of long-term unemployment.”

He added that “A regular job that provides decent wages, substantial benefits, security of tenure and the protection of a union should not be an impossible dream. It is simply the best way for PAL to share the fruits of its employees’ labor. It is the kind of best practice a national flag carrier must adopt.”

PALEA countered claims by DOLE and PAL that none of the affected employees will be jobless. “All the employees to be retrenched by PAL may be absorbed by the service providers but only as contractuals. We are not assured of being regular workers in the service providers. In fact since the service providers can lay us off after only a few months, Baldoz ruling provides that PAL guarantee the wages of those affected for one year. As contractuals, we would enjoy no security of tenure and thus can be legally fired at the whim of the service providers. Without a union, we would have no protection and no voice as employees in the service providers,” Rivera explained.

He insisted that “We will be doing exactly the same work at the service providers but for cheaper wages, fewer benefits, no security of tenure and no protection of a union. Where is the justice in that? If this is not contractualization, then what is it?”

PALEA also slammed PAL President Jaime Bautista for “engaging in doublespeak.” “It is PAL workers not management who are being forced to swallow the bitter bill. PAL is faking it when it laments the heavy burden of the additional P500 million in separation pay ordered by Labor Sec. Baldoz. These artificial sweeteners to the poison are simply PAL’s slightly improved offer disguised as Baldoz’ order,” Rivera argued.

PALEA called on its “brothers and sisters in the labor movement and allies in civil society” for solidarity. “The fight for job security at PAL is the fight of all workers. The decision sets a dangerous precedent for it will open the floodgates to massive contractualization in all companies big and small. All Filipinos will be poorer when we become a nation of contractuals,” Rivera averred.

Updated Briefing Paper on PAL-PALEA Dispute

Last October 29 Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz released a decision that allows Philippine Airlines (PAL) to outsource its airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations and layoff more than half of its workforce. The Halloween order will lead to the massacre of some 3,000 regular jobs and the death of the oldest union in the country.

The decision sets a dangerous precedent for it will open the floodgates to massive contractualization. Regular employees of PAL will be retrenched and then rehired as contractual workers in so-called third-party service providers. The work done at the service providers will be exactly the same but for cheaper wages, fewer benefits, no security of tenure and no protection of a union.

Moreover the decision disregards the specific provision of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that prohibits management from contracting out regular jobs and that restricts management prerogative. Also the decision accepted management’s blackmail that it will go bankrupt if not allowed to outsource work. However the financial statements and disclosures of PAL reveal that its business condition is improving and not deteriorating, thereby negating the necessity for retrenchment.

Baldoz engages in doublespeak when she claims that none of the PAL employees affected will be jobless. All the employees to be retrenched by PAL will indeed be absorbed by the service providers but only as contractuals. Not even Baldoz can assure that the employees hired by the service providers will become regular workers. In fact since the service providers can lay off the ex-PAL workers after only a few months, Baldoz ruling provides that PAL guarantee the wages of those affected for one year. As contractuals, ex-PAL workers would enjoy no security of tenure and thus can be legally fired at the whim of the service providers. Without a union, ex-PAL workers will have no protection and no voice as employees in the service providers.

The euphemistically termed “transition benefits” enumerated in the Baldoz ruling are mere artificial sweeteners to the bitter pill of contractualization. They may well be above the separation pay mandated by law and the CBA but it nonetheless cannot provide for a decent life to those facing the prospect of long-term unemployment.

A regular job that provides decent wages, substantial benefits, security of tenure and the protection of a union should not be an impossible dream. It is simply the best way for PAL to share the fruits of its employees’ labor. It is the kind of best practice a national flag carrier must adopt.

Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) calls on the President uphold his promise of change by reversing the Baldoz decision even as it plans to file a case at the Court of Appeals.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

PALEA to Malacanang: Can’t do a Pontius Pilate on PAL labor row

Press Release
November 3, 2010

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today disputed Malacanang’s pronouncement that it must keep its hands off Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’ ruling allowing the mass layoff of some 3,000 employees.

Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chairperson, said that “Malacanang cannot do a Pontius Pilate on the mass layoff. Government put its hands deep into the labor row when former Labor Secretary Marianito Roque assumed jurisdiction (AJ). Sec. Baldoz kept government’s hands in the dispute since she did not lift the AJ and later affirmed the previous ruling permitting the mass layoff. In fact Baldoz used the same power to intervene by imposing another AJ order on the impending flight attendants’ strike.”

Nonetheless Rivera welcomed news reports that President Benigno Aquino III intends to review Baldoz’ ruling. “If indeed PNoy sent a text message to that effect then it is a welcome development. We challenge PNoy to uphold his promise of change by reversing the ruling. Also he better reprimand Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte for speaking from the hip for it is worse than tweeting undiplomatic messages. Valte may have read Baldoz’ decision as she alleges but she apparently did not understand it,” he explained.

Rivera added that Valte cannot recommend that PALEA file a motion for reconsideration (MR) since Baldoz’ ruling is in fact a denial of their MR. He stated that Valte moreover cannot use the argument that Malacanang must keep its hands off because the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is part of the executive and not a co-equal body like the judiciary.

PALEA also slammed DOLE for alleging that the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) recognizes management’s prerogative to exercise the mass layoff. “While the PAL-PALEA CBA upholds management prerogative in general, this exercise is restricted by a separate provision explicitly banning the company from contracting out existing positions, jobs, divisions and departments presently occupied by present or future regular employees within the collective bargaining unit. DOLE prefers to turn a blind eye to this specific provision protecting job security,” Rivera elaborated.

Further, Rivera dismisses as lies PAL’s claims that it is losing money and will go bankrupt if not allowed to outsource work. He asserted that “Jurisprudence allows retrenchment as a measure of last resort which should only be undertaken in case of serious and imminent losses. The financial statements and disclosures of PAL reveal that its business condition is improving and not deteriorating, thereby negating the necessity for retrenchment.”

PALEA also announced that their lawyers are already preparing the case to be filed at the Court of Appeals. The union believes that while the Baldoz’ ruling is under appeal then PAL is prohibited from undertaking the mass layoff.