30 September 2011
Organized labor would declare the Aquino-Roxas tandem an “Enemy of the Working Class” if the two leaders continue to side with tycoon Lucio Tan in the escalating labor dispute between the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and its union, the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).
According to the labor group, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), this is in response to President Aquino and DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas’ threat of filing a case of economic sabotage against PALEA members who participated in Tuesday’s peaceful protest action that led to the cancellation of PAL flights.
“PNoy and Mar, who were both out of the country at the height of the labor dispute and the devastations of typhoon Pedring, came back looking only at the culpabilities of PALEA for that few hour of peaceful action, but not of Lucio Tan who had been battering the rights of PAL workers for more than a decade now,” stated PM chair and co-chair of Church Labor Conference (CLC) Renato Magtubo.
Magtubo said that instead of throwing their weight against the “capitalist wang-wangs”, PNoy and Roxas did not even dare to ask Lucio Tan why PAL significantly reduced its flights even prior to the Tuesday protest and the implementation of outsourcing plan in October 1, and why it shut down the system which effectively locked out the PAL workers beginning 1:30 PM of September 27, 2011.
“Pnoy did not even ask his labor officials who have prior knowledge of what aggravating factors transpired at PAL’s work stations few days before PALEA took defensive actions against the management on Tuesday,” added Magtubo.
The veteran labor leader said the crime of economic sabotage, he understands, pertains to illegal recruitment, syndicated estafa, and operation of black market, among others, and not for actions related to labor disputes. And if flight cancellations is a form of sabotage, then PAL is guilty of this crime
“We can only think of one explanation why President Aquino and Mar Roxas maintain a hostile attitude towards the workers despite the ligitimacy of their demands. They both came from the country’s landed and elite capitalist class and who, in their lifetime, have never suffered the harsh conditions of life that confront ordinary laborers,” said Magtubo.
The Partido ng Manggagawa and the Church Labor Conference led today’s solidarity action for PALEA. Some 300 members of PM-Cavite held a Lakbayan from Zapote Road in Bacoor to the
near the gates of Centennial Terminal 2 where PALEA members are camping out. Contigents from other labor and human rights groups have also joined the solidarity action. Inflight Center
Magtubo explained that the whole labor movement, the Church and human rights groups have all expressed their unequivocal support for PALEA’s struggle against mass layoff and contractualization. He said the planned outsourcing defied the spirit of the Constitution, violates the Labor Code and ILO Convention’s guarantee on security of tenure, and undermines the PAL-PALEA CBA povision on prohibition of outsourcing.
The outsourcing plan will demote regular workers into contractuals, will cut their wage and benefits into half, and their security of tenure replaced by ‘fire-at-will” policy.
The labor group said Pnoy ang Mar simply ignored these facts in dealing with the PAL labor dispute.