Sunday, August 21, 2011

Labor groups reiterate support for PALEA, PM calls for collective bargaining as win-win solution

International Transport Workers Federation Asia Pacific affiliates in the aviation industry express solidarity for PALEA
Press Release
August 21, 2011

A rainbow coalition of labor groups reiterated their support for the embattled Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) in its fight against mass layoffs at Philippine Airlines (PAL). “PALEA is the last line of defense against contractualization and thus labor groups are mobilizing in this battle for regular jobs. Ang laban ng PALEA ay laban ng lahat. Ang laban ng lahat ay kontra kontraktwalisasyon,” stated Renato Magtubo, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) chairperson.

In response to Malacanang’s call for PALEA to refrain from a strike, Magtubo asserted that the Palace should instead exert moral suasion on PAL to begin negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The PAL-PALEA CBA has been suspended for 13 years since 1998. “If he wants to prevent a paralyzing strike, PNoy should mediate between PAL and PALEA for an agreement that any outsourcing plan should be subject to collective bargaining negotiations rather than unilaterally imposed on employees. This is the win-win solution to this protracted labor row,” Magtubo argued.

Meanwhile Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair, dismissed PAL’s spokesperson Cielo Villaluna’s threat of administrative sanctions for employees joining protest actions. “PALEA members have been protesting since last Thursday by wearing black ribbons while at work. We are fighting not just for the regular jobs of PAL employees but for a decent future for all Filipino workers. There is no dignity and future in a contractual job that pays starvation wages, lacks sufficient benefits, is without security of tenure and is unprotected by a union,” he explained.

An initial contingent of labor and church organizations are joining tomorrow’s motorcade against contractualization. Aside from PALEA and PM, the National Union of Building and Construction Workers, Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan, Federation of Free Workers, Church-Labor Conference, Urban Missionaries, Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns and the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines are participating.

Earlier this week, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo scored the Office of the President for its adverse ruling on PALEA while airline unions in the Asia Pacific and the global union International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) declared solidarity with PALEA. The aviation workers announced they will not act as cabs in case of a strike at PAL. The flag carrier has said that other airlines have committed to service PAL’s routes should it be hit by a work stoppage.

The protest motorcade will start by 4:00 p.m. at the office of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority in
Roxas Boulevard
cor. Buendia and then proceed to
Ayala Ave.
in Makati. The groups plan to hold a program at the Ninoy Aquino monument at the corner of
Ayala Ave.
and Paseo de Roxas. Rivera revealed that more mass actions are slated in the coming week.

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