August 29, 2012
On the eve of its annual meeting, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today called on the stockholders of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to reinstate the regular workers who were retrenched in the controversial outsourcing scheme. “There will be no industrial peace at PAL without justice for workers. PALEA is part of the solution to the problems of the flag carrier,” insisted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.
PALEA vowed to press on with its fight against outsourcing at PAL as it commemorated the other day the 11th month of its picketline with an assembly of several hundred workers at the protest camp outside the PAL In-Flight Center. The union is busy preparing for the anniversary of its protest with a planned global day of action on September 27 which will be marked by rallies and activities in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Sydney and Melbourne in
Australia, Ankara in Turkey, San Francisco in the USA, Lahore in and in several other countries. Pakistan
The PAL stockholders meeting will be held 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel in
. While Lucio Tan and his group retain a majority of the stocks, management control has been ceded to Ramon Ang and the San Miguel group. Rivera said that ”Let us fly the flag proud with regular workers not just with new planes,” in response to news yesterday that PAL is acquiring Airbus jets in addition to earlier announced Boeing aircraft. Manila
Rivera clarified that “Even as PALEA calls on the new management of PAL and its stockholders to end the dispute in order to revive the flag carrier, we remain vigilant in the face of continuing attacks on our members such as the criminal charges against the PALEA 300.” Last July 27 and August 3 respectively PALEA filed at the Municipal Trial Court and the Department of Justice motions to review the finding of “probable cause” against 234 of its members for alleged violation of RA 9497 or the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Law, specifically Section 81 (b) (5) which sanctions “any person who destroys or seriously damages the facilities of an airport or disrupts the services of an airport.”
In a resolution dated June 20, 2012, the city prosecutor recommended the filing of information against respondents to the case which means that warrants of arrest may be issued anytime them. Rivera avers that “PALEA’s protest at the airport last September 27, 2011 was an exercise of the constitutionally guaranteed right of workers to concerted action and thus not illegal nor criminal.”
PALEA asserts that despite PAL’s use of contractual employees to replace its regular workforce, the lack of skilled workers and a boycott campaign has cut the airline’s passenger and cargo load factor. After almost a year of protest, a majority of the 2,400 PALEA members who were retrenched still refuse to accept their retrenchment and are determined to fight for regular jobs. Even among those who availed of separation, many nonetheless rejected working for the service providers.
The call for a global day of action by PALEA and has been endorsed by International Transport Workers Federation aviation section in the Asia Pacific, Qantas unions, the Australia-Asia Workers Links and the Turkish airline union Hava-is among others. “If airline workers take industrial action, on the same day, in a coordinated way, all over the world, we will be stronger and more effective,” declared participants to the global day of action (https://www.facebook.com/events/399444630110706/).