Monday, February 28, 2011

Labor group slam rich barangay ordinance against condom sale

PRESS RELEASE
28 February 2011

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) condemns the issuance of an ordinance by officials of Barangay Ayala Alabang against the sale of condoms. The group meanwhile welcomed the position of the Muntinlupa City council that in its review of the barangay ordinance said that it might be violation of the law and guidelines of the Department of Health.

“The officials of Barangay Ayala Alabang are obviously being dogmatic while the Muntinlupa city councillors are being prudent in their positions. The exclusive subdivisions of Ayala Alabang may put as high a wall to prevent poor people from peering but they cannot setup its own rules in contradiction with the laws of the country,” explained PM Secretary General Judy Ann Chan-Miranda.

She added that, “The need for prescription undermines the right of residents in the barangay to contraceptives. In the first place, the need for prescription to purchase condoms and pills is baseless. Matagal na itong kinategorize na over-the-counter essential medicines ng Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) and even by the World Health Organization. Now, seemingly, these barangay officials have suddenly becomes medical experts.”

Yesterday more than a thousand women and men from PM and different women’s groups marched at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) office in Intramuros. On March 4, PM will hold a big assembly of women workers on the RH bill and other working women issues in preparation for the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8. PM will commemorate Women’s Day with rallies at the Senate and House and Representatives to lobby for the RH bill.

“Prescriptions are used for drugs and medicines that may put people’s lives at risk. Anong health risk mayroon ang condom? And pills? Actually, it is highly prescribed by the WHO in preventing HIV-AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.” said Miranda.

PM further explained that legislating the Catholic Church’s doctrines, even at the barangay level, is coercive. “Women, men, parents and couples have the right to decide which contraceptives to use. It is neither up to the State nor the Church to decide on these matters,” Miranda insisted.

PALEA formally asks PNoy to declare PAL outsourcing illegal

Press Release
February 28, 2011
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) formally asked anew the Office of the President (OP) to declare the planned layoff and outsourcing as illegal as the financial statements of Philippine Airlines (PAL) show that it remains profitable. PALEA made the call last Thursday in its comment to PAL’s financial statements submitted to the OP.

“Will PNoy believe PAL despite the company’s own financial records? Will the President side with big business and sacrifice workers? PALEA, other unions and workers, and the entire country await the President’s verdict,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chair.

In its 55-page comment, PALEA prayed that the OP make a ruling on three issues:

1. Reverse the October 29, 2010 Order of the Secretary of Labor and Employment;
2. Declare PAL’s mass termination of more than 2,600 employees illegal; and
3. Declare PAL guilty of unfair labor practice for the implementation of the mass termination of more than 2,600 regular employees.

PAL’s first quarter profit was $31.6 million, second quarter profit was $28.2 million and third quarter profit of $15.1 million, for a total net income of $74.9 million for the months of April to December 2010. Further PALEA reported that PAL paid a loan in the amount of $46.5 million in June 2010.

“PAL’s position in this dispute will rise and fall with the truth or falsity of its claims of substantial business losses. The Department of Labor and Employment believed the company’s claims that it had to implement the mass termination to avert the collapse of the company. Now, the financial statements for the past year 2010 are out, and it clearly shows the robust business of PAL,” Rivera argued.

He added “Despite this, the company intends to terminate 2,600 employees, most of whom have rendered more than 20 years of loyal service to the company, and have waited for more than a decade during the CBA moratorium that started in 1998.”

Rivera insisted that “The fact that PAL has not been losing and instead has been earning despite being unable to proceed with the contractualization scheme disproves any necessity for the outsourcing.”

The union is pushing for collective bargaining negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year moratorium of the collective bargaining agreement. PALEA renewed mass actions with a prayer rally last February 9 with the theme “Stop mass layoff, Start CBA negotiations.”


Sunday, February 27, 2011

PM and women groups hold symbolic die-in and candle-light at CBCP

PRESS RELEASE
27 February 2011

Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) women members will march today with women groups to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in a peaceful mass action for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

More than a thousand women and men from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and different women’s groups will march at 5:00 pm today from Cory and Ninoy monuments, Bonifacio Drive corner Padre Burgos Street (across Manila Hotel) to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) office along General Luna Street in Intramuros.

The peaceful action will highlight the immediate consequences of the CBCP’s anti-RH position. A letter stating this position will be handed over to an official of the CBCP.

“We want to inform that Catholic hierarchy that its continued opposition to the RH bill has been causing 11 maternal deaths daily. Hopefully, this peaceful protest will open the eyes and hearts of the bishops and priests to the severe damage its stand has been causing Filipino women, especially poor women,” said PM Secretary General Judy Ann Chan-Miranda.

Miranda further explained that, “11 deaths per day are equal to 4,015 per year. And for more than a decade that the RH bill has been consistently opposed by the Church, almost 50,000 women have died. We sincerely hope na may puwang pa rin ang kababaihan sa puso ng mga obispo at pari at mababago ang kanilang tindig sa issue.”

After reading the letter, the die-in and lighting of 11 candles – symbolizing the maternal deaths – the group left the lighted candles and marched to the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) to disperse peacefully.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Workers criticize shortcomings of EDSA 1

Press Release
February 25, 2011

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) criticized the shortcomings of EDSA 1 as the government commemorates the 25th anniversary of the first people power uprising. “The people power uprising of 1986 turns silver today but it shines no more. That is because the social deficit outweighs the political benefits of simple political turnover between factions of the elite, which is the main achievement of the post-EDSA dispensation,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chair.



PM also commemorated the event with mass meetings of workers under the theme “Kapos ang EDSA at peke ang demokrasya hangga’t kapos ang sahod, kontraktwal ang trabaho at api ang kalagayan ng mga manggagawa.” The group is at the forefront of the current campaigns against labor contractualization and high prices.



Magtubo added that “The events in Tunisia, Egypt and that region are again showing that through unity in action people can assert their rights and win their freedoms. Is this not the spirit of EDSA? Unfortunately in the past 25 years it has been squandered because of the betrayal by the elite which hijacked the victory of people power.”



He furthered that “The post-EDSA regimes fell short of the people’s demands for social change. Since 1986 the poverty and destitution of the masses have continued and unemployment and desperation haunts the workers. The epidemic of contractualization and its ravages on the livelihood of workers is an indictment of EDSA 1.”



PM decried the situation workers under the post-EDSA push for economic liberalization and globalization. “The Marcos dictatorship is hardly any different from the post-EDSA regimes as far as sacrificing workers rights in the altar of foreign investor-led growth and the policy of cheap and docile labor,” Magtubo explained.



PM asserted that the most common grievances of workers are violations of security of tenure, such as illegal dismissal and illegal suspension; non-remittance of social security premiums, withholding taxes and employees’ compensation; and the non-payment/underpayment/late payment of 13th month pay, 5 days service incentive leave and overtime pay; lack of transparency in employment contracts; and restriction of the freedom to organize.



Magtubo called on the workers to lead the people’s struggle for system change. “Instead of the elite, the workers should take leadership and via labor power make sure that social demands are in the forefront of the next uprising in our country,” he asserted.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Workers slam shortcomings of EDSA 1

Press Release
February 24, 2011

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and the anti-contractualization coalition KONTRA slammed the shortcomings of EDSA 1 in a symbolic mass action this afternoon. Scores of workers from PM and KONTRA assembled at the Ninoy Aquino monument at the corner of Timog and Quezon Avenues at around 5:30 pm.



“The people power uprising of 1986 turns silver tomorrow but it shines no more. That is because the social deficit outweighs the political benefits of simple political turnover between factions of the elite, which is the main achievement of the post-EDSA dispensation,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chair.



PM and KONTRA members chanted their main call “Walang demokrasya at tunay na diwa ng EDSA hangga’t kontraktwal ang mga manggagawa.” KONTRA was formed to campaign against the proliferation of contractualization and the advocate for regular decent jobs.



Magtubo added that “The events in Tunisia, Egypt and that region are again showing that through unity in action people can assert their rights and win their freedoms. Is this not the spirit of EDSA? Unfortunately in the past 25 years it has been squandered because of the betrayal by the elite which hijacked the victory of people power.”



He furthered that “The post-EDSA regimes fell short of the people’s demands for social change. Since 1986 the poverty and destitution of the masses have continued and unemployment and desperation haunts the workers. The epidemic of contractualization and its ravages on the livelihood of workers is an indictment of EDSA 1.”



Magtubo called on the workers to lead the people’s struggle for system change. “Instead of the elite, the workers should take leadership and via labor power make sure that social demands are in the forefront of the next uprising in our country,” he asserted.

Monday, February 21, 2011

PALEA calls on PNoy to deny outsourcing as PAL regains profitability

Press Release
February 21, 2011
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) today called on the Office of the President to reverse the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz regarding the outsourcing and layoff plan of Philippine Airlines (PAL) as the flag carrier has regained profitability. “Good governance means good decisions. And in this case, it will be obviously be a bad resolution for PNoy to affirm the Baldoz decision when PAL is securing sustained profits in millions of dollars,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

“We ask on PNoy to heed the call of his bosses—the ordinary workers—and protect regular jobs at PAL in view of its healthy financial situation,” Rivera insisted.

PAL earned $15.1 million in profits for the third quarter of its fiscal year according to news reports last Saturday. PALEA declared further that PAL also posted profits in the first and second quarters, amounting to $31.6 million and $28.2 million respectively. This substantial income was net of a hefty payment of a loan in the amount of $46.5 million in June 2010, PALEA also stated.

He added that “The incomes in just the first and third quarters, or $46.7 million or just above PhP2 billion, is already equivalent to the supposed total separation package for the 2,600 employees to be laid off permanently. Imagine then the great savings and additional profits to be generated by an outsourced and contractual workforce at PAL. So is outsourcing a means for survival or a scheme to increase profits?”

PALEA has been alleging that PAL’s planned outsourcing is a scheme to bust the union and cheapen labor costs. The union is also pushing for collective bargaining negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year moratorium of the collective bargaining agreement.

“What is needed is not a partial settlement that allows gradual outsourcing but full protection for the regular jobs and right to collective bargaining of PAL employees,” Rivera argued in reference to a proposal during the mediation meeting at Malacanang last February 11. As floated in the meeting, a partial settlement will mean either a gradual outsourcing of some departments, or a higher separation pay for workers to be laid off. PALEA rejected outright the partial settlement.

“Outsourcing at PAL will ruin the livelihood of thousands of employees’ similar to how contractualization at Eton—another Lucio Tan company—is resulting to deaths and injuries of scores of workers. In whatever form, contractualization penalizes workers but rewards capitalists,” Rivera concluded.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

PAL profits belie outsourcing need

Press Release
February 20, 2011
PALEA

In reaction to news reports yesterday that Philippine Airlines (PAL) posted a $15.1 million profit for the third quarter of its fiscal year, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) asserted that the turnaround belies the need for the planned outsourcing and layoff. “This report pulls the rug from under the feet of management and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz. Since PAL is not in danger of going bankrupt and instead earning handsomely, then the contractualization scheme is not necessary, if it ever was,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) vice chair.

PALEA is calling on the Office of the President to take cognizance of the continued profitable operations of PAL. “In view of PAL’s robust status, the Office of the President should make the logical decision and do the right thing. That is, overturn the decision of Baldoz, stop the contractualization scheme at PAL and preserve 2,600 regular jobs. In the face of such facts, it would be outrageous for PNoy to affirm the Baldoz ruling. What is needed it not a partial settlement that allows gradual outsourcing but full protection for the security of tenure of PAL employees,” Rivera argued.

The union also clarified that aside from the $15.1 million third quarter profit, PAL’s first quarter profit was $31.6 million and second quarter profit was $28.2 million for a total net income of $74.9 million. Further PALEA reported that PAL paid a loan in the amount of $46.5 million in June 2010.

Rivera added that “The fact that PAL has not been losing and instead has been earning despite being unable to proceed with the contractualization scheme disproves any necessity for the outsourcing. It is almost a year already since PAL sent termination notices to its employees last April 2010 and nearly two years since it announced the planned outsourcing in August 2009.”

In the decision of Baldoz, the Labor Secretary argued that the losses suffered by PAL during the brief period of the global financial crisis were a lawful ground for the outsourcing plan. “With the turnaround in PAL’s finances, there is no more alibi for contractualization at PAL,” Rivera insisted.

The union is pushing for collective bargaining negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year moratorium of the collective bargaining agreement. PALEA renewed mass actions with a prayer rally last February 9 with the theme “Stop mass layoff, Start CBA negotiations.” Some 200 PALEA members and a delegation of supporters from PM marched from the PAL Nichols gate to the Our Lady of the Airways Parish for a mass.

Friday, February 18, 2011

PM joins government agencies and NGOs call for PNoy to prioritize RH bill

Press Release
February 18, 2011

Around a hundred members of the Partido ng Manggagawa joined officials of government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) in a press conference that called on President Benigno C. Aquino III to include the RH bill among government’s priority measures.

The press conference entitled “GO na GO for the RH Bill: Ipasa na!” was held at the Risen Garden of the Quezon City Hall Compound at 10:00 this morning. Government officials present were Undersecretary Florencia Dorotan of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC),1st District of Albay Representative Edcel Lagman and Population Commission Commissioner Benjamin de Leon.

“After listening to the Catholic Church hierarchy, it time for President Aquino to listen to the people, especially the women. We want to remind him of his promise that the people shall be his ‘boss.’ Kapag nagsalita ang boss, pinakikinggan at sinusunod. Bakit parang iba ang boss ni PNoy pagdating sa RH bill? During his campaing, nangako siyang susuportahan niya ang RH bill regardless of the Catholic Church’s threats, then a few days ago he took back his promise,” said PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda.

Miranda explained that eleven (11) poor and working women are dying from pregnancy and birth delivery complications daily. Compared to the Catholic Church, Filipino women have more at stake in the measure. “Sino ba ang nagbubuntis? Sino ba ang mga nangagangak? At higit sa lahat, sino ang nanganganib ang buhay at namamatay sa pagbubuntis at panganganak? Ang mga obispo at mga pari ba?”

“Although the bill is really at the hands of the legislators, so to speak, we cannot deny the fact that what MalacaƱang says it will prioritize will be prioritized. We hope PNoy realizes that the lives and protection of the lives of poor Filipino women are in his hands. Hindi siya pwedeng maghugas kamay sa realidad na ito,” stressed Miranda.

Addressing the Catholic hierarchy, Miranda said “Stop confusing the people and blackmailing government officials. If indeed you want to save lives, support the RH bill.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

PM joins womens’ groups in pushing House to approve RH bill

Press Release
February 16, 2011

Women members of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) joined the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) in a big demonstration at the House of Representatives to push Committee on Appropriations to finally approve the budget provisions of the RH bill. Once approved, plenary deliberations of the bill will commence.

More than a thousand women, including hundreds of women workers, gathered at the South gate of the lower house from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon carrying placards and streamers with slogans calling for immediate passage of the RH bill.

PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda called on the Committee to quit stalling on the bill, “Every day of delay in the RH bill passage, eleven (11) poor working women are dying from pregnancy and birth delivery complications. It is time to put a stop to this continued ‘daily slaughter’ of women? With the passage of the RH bill, we can avoid losing 4,015 precious women’s lives per year! It has been more than a decade, almost 12 years now, with the daily average, 48,180 women’s lives could have been saved!”

Particularly for workers, Miranda explained that, “It is not true that the RH bill is purely a family planning bill. Those saying so are not being truthful. In addition to Article 134 of the Labor Code wherein employers shall provide reproductive health services to all employees, the RH bill mandates that employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:

‘(a) The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits and the availability of family planning services,
‘(b) The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially pregnant women, and
‘(c) The availability of health facilities for workers."

In addition, Miranda further explained that employers are likewise obliged to monitor pregnant working employees and provide them with paid half-day leaves for each month of the pregnancy period during their employment, reimbursable to either the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

“These pro-worker provisions of the bill support the ‘SAFETY FIRST’ maxim in the workplace. Workers’ lives, especially women’s, are spared from pregnancy complications and work hazards,” according to Miranda. “Again, we call on our legislators to quit delaying the bill and the Catholic Church to quit confusing the people and blackmailing government officials. Kung totoong pro-life kayo, you should support the RH bill – the RH bill will save women’s lives.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

PALEA denies considering gradual outsourcing and higher separation as settlement

Press Release
February 14, 2011
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) issued a clarification and denial that it is considering a gradual implementation of outsourcing and higher separation pay as a form of settlement of the labor dispute. “Neither management or the union proposed such ideas in the mediation meeting called by the Office of the President last Friday. And we certainly will not agree to either gradual outsourcing or higher separation or both,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of the militant Partido ng Manggagawa.

“The only agreement reached at the mediation meeting was for Philippine Airlines (PAL) to submit its unaudited quarterly financial statements for the two quarters from April to September 2010 today. That is the only news that we were expecting to receive today, certainly not the wrong information that is coming out,” Rivera insisted.

PALEA said that they are giving Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte the benefit of the doubt whether she actually announced the alleged partial settlement of the PAL-PALEA labor dispute. A news report today by the ANC channel showed file footage of Valte while quoting her about the so-called partial settlement.

Rivera asserted that “We hope that Malacanang will issue its own clarification since such ‘wrong mistakes’ will not help the Office of the President in mediating PAL and PALEA. We made it clear in the mediation meeting that we will not agree to any outsourcing and layoff. Instead we put forward the position that the outsourcing plan can be the subject of the long-delayed collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.”

PALEA flexed its muscles anew with a prayer rally last Wednesday with the theme “Stop mass layoff, Start CBA negotiations.” Some 200 PALEA members and a delegation of supporters from PM marched from the PAL Nichols gate to the Our Lady of the Airways Parish (OLAP) for a mass. The union is pushing for CBA negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year CBA moratorium.

“PALEA must remain vigilant until the CBA negotiations actually start and our mass actions serve this purpose of alerting PAL and the government that we are not complacent. CBA negotiations will be historic since it will mean the end of the dozen year moratorium,” Rivera clarified.

Last January 27, in a union and management consultative meeting, PAL President Jaime Bautista asked PALEA to submit the names of its negotiating panel so that CBA negotiations may start. PALEA had already submitted its draft CBA proposal in October 8, 2010.

PM holds Valentine’s Day visit to Senate to push for RH bill

Press Release
February 14, 2011

Women members of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) paid the senators a Valentine’s Day visit carrying red pillow hearts to push for the passage of the RH bill. Big hearts were presented to senators who are supporting the bill and smaller ones to those whom working women are yet to convince to fully support RH.

Around fifty (50) PM members gathered at the gates of the Senate of the Philippines from 10:00 in the morning to 12:00 noon. PM is pushing for the passage of the House consolidated version of the RH bill.

“Eleven (11) poor working women are dying every day from pregnancy and birth delivery complications alone. Don’t we want an end to this continued ‘daily slaughter’ of women? With the passage of the RH bill, we can avoid losing 4,015 precious women’s lives per year,” asserted PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda.

Miranda further explained that, “Women workers have been pushing for the RH bill since 1998, almost 12 years have passed – 4,015 times 12 years is 48,180 women’s lives! Wala bang kwenta ang mga nalalagas na buhay na ito ng kababaihan sa gobyerno at sa Simbahang Katoliko!?”

“Although the family planning provisions of the bill are equally important, hindi lang naman ito ang laman ng RH bill. May probisyon para sa dagdag na skilled midwives to attend to pregnant women in rural and urban communities which we extremely lack; upgrading of health facilities to address emergency obstetric care; PhilHealth coverage expansion to include family planning and reproductive health conditions such as breast, cervical, ovarian, prostate and testicular cancers – for both women and men, respectively; paid half-day leaves per year of pregnancy for women workers’ pre-natal consultations, to name a few,” added Miranda.

PM believes that the Catholic Church’s position on the issue of family planning does not only confuse the people from the importance of allowing women to make decisions that concerns their reproductive health without discrimination, coercion and violence, but at the same time with the rest of the important aspects of the bill. “This rigmarole is not helping women at all. We sincerely hope that from this day on, sa araw ng pag-ibig sa kapwa lalong-lalo na, our senators this time will try to listen to the poor and working women na siyang higit na apektado – ang mga kababaihang nagbubuntis, nanganganak, nag-aalaga ng mga anak na kasabay nito ay naghahanapbuhay para mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang susunod na henerasyon ng mga Pilipino,” said Miranda.

Finally, the women also criticized PNoy for easily giving into the Catholic Church’s pressure instead of closely considering the reproductive health needs of whom he referred to in his inaugural address as his “bosses.”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Salute to the victorious people power uprising in Egypt

Press Statement
February 12, 2011
Renato Magtubo
Chair, Partido ng Manggagawa

We salute the victorious people power uprising in Egypt against the Mubarak dictatorship. It is high time that the last pharaoh is buried in the desert. But the Egyptian people must not repeat the original sin of people power in the Philippines. They must not stop at simply changing the facesof the person in power but must continue on to uprooting the system that breeds poverty and unemployment.

The resignation of Murabak is only the first act of the drama that will play out in Egypt. It is game over for the dictator but with the military taking power, nobody knows how the game of the generals will play out. A civilian government ruling over a democratic and secular Egypt is still uncertain. The struggle of the courageous people and workers of Egypt for “tahrir” is unfinished.

Nonetheless we welcome the rebirth of an independent workers movement in Egypt. While evidently it was the youth of Egypt that sparked and led the uprising, the workers and their strikes later sustained and strengthened the uprising. The role of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter have been highlighted but in the background the strike movement of Egyptian workers since 2008 prepared the way and propelled the uprising to its victory.

While the popular uprisings in the Arab countries are directed at corrupt dictatorships, the underlying causes are the pervasive dissatisfaction at the lack of jobs and opportunities primarily among the youth but also among workers and even the middle class. Globalization has ravaged the Arab region as much as the Philippines. Unemployment, contractualization, retrenchment, rising prices and stagnant wages are also the norm in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan and Yemen. Everywhere the masses have become poorer while only the elite have become richer under globalization.

In fact, unrest may break out in the Philippines similar to Arab uprisings due to the rising prices of food and oil combined with worsening unemployment and poverty. Nobody was able to predict the explosion in the Arab region and nobody can discount unrest in the Philippines due to similar conditions of widespread desperation especially among the youth.

The prices of rice, bread, sugar, oil and gas together with transport fares and even toll fees are increasing thus squeezing the stagnant wages and incomes of workers and the poor. Today the unrest is expressed in the resistance of Philippine Airlines (PAL) workers against layoff and outsourcing. Tomorrow who knows if the struggle becomes generalized with high prices and food crisis making the lack of jobs and stagnant incomes unbearable?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

PALEA holds prayer rally for CBA negotiations

Press Release
February 9, 2011
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) flexes its muscles anew with a prayer rally today calling for the start of negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL). On Friday afternoon PALEA and PAL will meet at Malacanang for a mediation meeting called by the Office of the President (OP).

Hundreds of PALEA members and a delegation of supporters from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) marched from the PAL Nichols gate 2 at 2:30 pm to the Our Lady of the Airways Parish (OLAP) for a 4:00 pm mass. The union is pushing for CBA negotiations to begin immediately and an end to the 12-year CBA moratorium.

“Since 1998, the PALEA CBA has been suspended for 10 years and the moratorium was extended again for another two years under the old union leadership. It is time to negotiate better terms and conditions of employment for PAL ground employees,” insisted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair.

Last January 27, in a union and management consultative meeting, PAL President Jaime Bautista asked PALEA to submit the names of its negotiating panel so that CBA negotiations may start. PALEA had already submitted its draft CBA proposal in October 8, 2010. In the same meeting, PAL said that it will study PALEA’s proposal for manual of operations to protect frontline service workers from indignities and harassment in the wake of the complaint by ground attendant Sarah Bonnin-Ocampo against Rep. Eulogio Magsaysay.

“PALEA must remain vigilant until the CBA negotiations actually start and our mass actions serve this purpose of alerting PAL and the government that we are not complacent,” Rivera clarified.

The OP letter signed by Ronaldo Geron, Assistant Executive Secretary, reads “Towards an amicable settlement of the labor dispute, and/or to elicit facts of information through clarificatory questions for the fair resolution thereof, you are hereby called to a conference on Friday, February 11, 2011 at 2:00p.m. Venue will be at the Conference Room, 4th floor, Mabini Hall, Malacanang compound.”

The theme of PALEA’s march and prayer rally today is “Stop mass layoff, Start CBA negotiations.” Rivera added that “CBA negotiations will be historic since it will mean the end of the dozen year moratorium.”

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Solidarity Message to the New Anti Capitalist Party of France

Greetings of working class solidarity!

We salute the New Anti Capitalist Party in its second congress. The NPA congress will be held amidst the fierce winds of change blowing in North Africa that hopefully will cross the Mediterranean and reach the shores of France.

The working class of France is in a crucial conjuncture. The offensive of the capitalist class that became even more severe and brutal as the global crisis unfolded a few years ago is nonetheless engendering an escalation in the resistance of the workers and the peoples of the world.

The class conscious workers in Philippines have been following with interest the huge mobilizations among the French proletariat against the Sarkozy government’s plan to reform the pension system and shift the burden of its costs on the backs of the workers. Such historic and gigantic movements inspire the workers of the whole world.

France is obviously a crucial link the chain of imperialist countries and any breakthrough in the class struggles in your country will have momentous significance for the international working class movement and the socialist struggle in the advanced countries. We will be paying attention to critical assessments of the fight against pension reform and the struggle against the capitalist offensive in France.

The tasks of the workers of France grow heavier as the fate of the Arab revolution hangs in the balance. As former colonizer of many of the Arab countries, the imperialist interference and intervention of the French ruling class can play a major role in subverting the uprisings in North Africa and the protests in the Middle East.

With the solidarity of the international proletariat, a resurgent working class movement in the Arab countries should swing the balance of forces for the people’s uprisings.

So even as the workers of the world look at France for the lessons of its class struggle, we are also focused on the popular uprisings and stirrings in North Africa and the Middle East. With nearly a million Filipino migrant workers in the Middle East sending some USD 3 billion in remittances to our country, the events in the Middle East will have great repercussions not just on the Philippine economy but in the consciousness of our people.

In a world of contradictions and revolutions, the role of international solidarity becomes even more crucial. We look forward to increasing cooperation between the workers of our countries.

Workers group oppose LRT/MRT hike, call for cheap, green mass transport

Press Release
February 5, 2011

In the public hearing called today by the Department of Transport and Communications, the labor party Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) declared its opposition to the planned fare hike and called for a cheap and green mass transport system. “The government of PNoy must extend and expand the subsidy to the riding public instead of passing the burden to the people of high transport costs,” stated Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

PM received an invitation from the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) to attend today’s second of three public consultation hearings. A representative of PM came to the hearing to put forward the labor party’s position.

Magtubo clarified that “The MRT and LRT is a great counterbalance to the profit orientation of the private transport. Yesterday the Land Transportation and Franchising Board suspended another four bus companies for participating in the transport holiday last November. Without a public mass transport, the government and the people can always be held hostage by private transport firms out to guard their selfish interests.”

“The light rail should be maintained as the cheapest, most efficient and greenest mass transport in the country. Every peso spent by the government on subsidizing the LRT and MRT is money well spent. It not only benefits the workers, students and the poor but protects the environment as well,” insisted Magtubo.

The group is arguing that the cost-benefit accounting of the LRT/MRT operation should include “a consideration of its social good that cannot be quantified in money terms.”

“The prices of rice, sugar, oil, gas and fare among others are rising thus squeezing the stagnant wages and incomes of workers and the poor. If the government will not institute price control then it must subsidize the costs of basic goods and services together with increasing wages and providing jobs,” Magtubo said.

PM warned of unrest in the country similar to the uprisings in the Arab countries due to the rising fares and prices of food and oil combined with worsening unemployment and poverty.  Magtubo claimed that “PNoy must act boldly to address the food crisis, escalating inflation and deepening hardship of Filipinos. Nobody was able to predict the explosion in the Arab region and nobody can discount unrest in the Philippines due to similar conditions of widespread desperation among workers, youth and the poor.”
He added that “Aside from short-term solutions such as price control, government subsidies, public employment and regulation of contractualization, government must institute a shift in industrial, agricultural, economic and social policies.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

PALEA calls on House ethics committee to act on complaint vs. Rep. Magsaysay

PRESS RELEASE
1 February 2011
PALEA

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and PAL Customer Agent 3 and PALEA member Sarah Bonnin-Ocampo today called on the House of Representative Ethics Committee to find sufficiency in form and substance in the complaint against Alliance of Volunteer Educators (AVE) Party-List Representative Eulogio Magsaysay.

The Ethics Committee convenes 2:00 p.m. and among its agenda is the complaint filed by PALEA and Ocampo. If the House ethics committee finds the complaint sufficient in form and substance then hearings will be called on the merits of the case.

“We are determined in pushing through with our complaints. For the longest time, PAL employees and other frontline service workers, are victimized by abusive politicians and government officials. They need to learn their lesson—that workers, especially women, are human beings, too, who have rights and dignity to should be respected,” explained PALEA Women Committee Head Ginalyn Licayan.

PALEA also filed today a complaint on the same case at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). PALEA members including Ocampo met CHR head Etta Rosales just after 1:00 p.m.

Rosales promised to act on the complaint. After the meeting at CHR, the group proceeded to the Batasang Pambansa and visited the offices of the members of the committees on ethics and gender to help expedite the complaint.

Meanwhile in a labor-management meeting last January 27, PAL stated that it will look into proposals to protect its frontline service workers from indignities and harassment. PAL management also clarified in the meeting that the regrets letter sent to Magsaysay was pro forma. PALEA will submit to PAL its proposed manual to ensure protection of PAL employees from rude customers, including politicians and government officials.

Last January 17 PALEA and Ocampo filed a case against Magsaysay for serious misconduct, abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming of a high-ranking public official at the House Committees on Ethics and Privileges, and Women and Gender Equality.

On 17 December last year, while on duty, Magsaysay shouted “menopausal bitch” and “bitch” several times to Ocampo after being told that she does not have to the power to change seating arrangements in the business class as per request.