Philippine national flag carrier planning to stike

Philippine Airlines workers protest, 2010.
Philippine Airlines workers protest, 2010.

Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) union is planning to strike (again!) for the nth time. This same union was asking last year for the Philippine state to intervene in the management-union conflict. Then, this same union again felt "disappointed" with the state decision!

Submitted by internasyonalista on March 26, 2011

The Philippine Airlines’ employees union expressed disappointment over Malacañang’s decision upholding PAL’s right to restructure its operations by spinning-off its Airport Services, In-flight Catering and Call Center Reservations units.

Maintaining that the spin-off could lay off 2,600 workers, the PAL Employees’ Association (PALEA) also accused Malacañang of “conspiring" with the airlines’ management for not informing the union of the decision.

“Sinubukan naming dumaan sa sinasabing tuwid na landas ni P-Noy, yun pala ang Malacañang ay ikalawa na rin palang tahanan ni Lucio Tan," said Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

Rivera said the conspiracy was "evident when PAL broke the news to the media even before an official announcement was made, meaning the management has prior knowledge of the decision long before it was announced last Friday."

He said PALEA has yet to receive a copy of the ruling. “We are very frustrated with President Benigno Aquino III," Rivera added.

To recall, President Aquino formally assumed jurisdiction over the labor-management dispute last December 15, averting a potential strike by PALEA, which filed a notice of strike on November 5, 2010.

PALEA also filed a petition for presidential intervention before the Office of the President after Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz ruled in October last year that management’s decision to spin-off its three non-score units is “a valid exercise of management prerogative."

Last Thursday, PALEA voted an "overwhelming" yes to stage a strike to compel the flag carrier's management to enter negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement.

But PAL management had maintained it will only negotiate an agreement with PALEA after Malacañang, which has taken jurisdiction of the row, rules on its plan to outsource its non-core operations.

Moreover, PAL said a strike vote has no basis. “How can the spin-off issue be discussed… when the case is still within the purview of the Palace?" the company said in a statement last Wednesday, citing its president, Jaime Bautista.

For his part, PM chairman Renato Magtubo said Malacañang’s decision sends a chilling message to the labor front: that outsourcing and contractualization is not only legal but a desired labor and economic policy of the Aquino administration.

PALEA is already preparing for the requirements for the strike before the Palace’s decision came out last Friday.

“PALEA asks for the support of our fellow Filipinos and from our brothers and sisters in the labor movement," Rivera said.

A labor unity meeting convened in Quezon City Saturday afternoon gathered militant and moderate labor groups in support of PALEA’s fight.

PAL to reach out to affected workers

In a news release posted on PAL's website, its president Jaime Bautista said the management will reach out to the workers who would affected by the spin-off program.

He said PAL will abide by the Palace order, including a calling for an additional P50,000 gratuity pay for each affected worker.

Bautista said PAL management will meet affected workers to discuss the smooth and orderly implementation of the ruling.

Also, he urged PALEA members to respect and abide by the decision for the sake of industrial peace and the welfare of the flying public.

Bautista expressed gratitude to President Aquino and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. for “recognizing the difficulties experienced by PAL which necessitated the spin-off its three units."

The more than 4,000 PAL employees that will remain with the airline are equally grateful because they know that the spin-off is necessary for the airline’s continued survival, he added.

Bautista assured affected workers of the following benefits:

* Separation pay equivalent to 1.25 month’s salary for every year of service;
* Gratuity of P100,000 per affected employee (a P50,000 increase per the latest Malacanang order);
* One-hundred percent (100%) commutation to cash of unused vacation leave and sick leave balances;
* One-year extension of the medical and hospitalization benefits; and
* Trip pass benefits depending on the number of years of service.



12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by vic on March 30, 2011

Good Day!

I hope that leadership of PM will not abandon as what had happened in "Keppel Cebu Shipyard", common workers go on strike/struggle but the president surrender to the management without any consultation to the common worker, "NEVER HAPPENED AGAIN"
... workers of the world unite....


12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by internasyonalista on March 31, 2011

It's more than that...PM like other leftist factions (like the maoist KMU) in the Philippines is a reformist organization with radical language.

Not only the Keppel Cebu Shipyard but also the other companies in Cebu that struck like Giardini...

On PAL, PM's tactics did not change (as expected): instead of building class unity, it is trying to get the "support" of one bourgeois faction against the other and for lobbying in Congress...

PM and PALEA were the one insisting that the government should mediate.


12 years 2 months ago

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Submitted by internasyonalista on April 3, 2011

PALEA: Labor strike will push through despite DOLE's postponement order

Article posted April 02, 2011 - 02:13 PM
Restive employees of the flag carrier Philippine Airlines will push through with their strike to paralyze the airlines’ operations despite a Labor Department order to postpone protest actions and resolve the matter through labor dispute settlement.

“We are ready to defy Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’s order any time we deem it necessary to go on strike to prevent layoff and contractualization at PAL. The latest order is a bad April fool’s prank. But the order… merely postponed the strike to a date that PAL and the government cannot now know in advance," PAL Employees Association (PALEA) president Gerry Rivera said in statement Saturday.

Members of the PALEA and their supporter from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) started the picket Friday night at the airport area in Pasay City, causing a traffic jam.

The picket rally prompted Secretary Baldoz to issue a certificate order recommending the dispute to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) spokesman Nicon Fameronag said the certificate order is not aimed at preventing the PALEA members to stage a strike.

“The intervention of the secretary of labor is based on the ground of national interest by endorsing the case to the NLRC (that in effect) enjoins or prevents PALEA from staging a strike," said Fameronag in a text message to media.

Rivera, also the vice president of the PM (a national union of workers), said that the certification order issued by secretary Baldoz “is the last nail on the coffin of labor rights in the country."

President Benigno Aquino III’s administration is violating internationally recognized labor rights by favoring the plan of PAL owner Lucio Tan to spin off the company’s none-core businesses, a move that will render 2,600 regular workers jobless, said Rivera.

He said PAL employees will continue to fight the Aquino administration’s anti labor policy.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued Friday, PAL president and COO Jaime J. Bautista said PAL continues to appeal to its workers to respect and remain within the legal conciliation process.

“But make no mistake, PAL is also ready to exercise its legal options in case any work stoppage is declared illegal by proper authorities," he warned. [See story: PAL ready for worst-case scenario]

Bautista assured passengers that contingency measures are in place to minimize flight disruptions and avoid passenger inconvenience.

“Many PAL administrative employees, and even union members themselves, believe that a strike will not do the company any good. As such, they are ready to man posts to be vacated by protesting workers," Bautista said.

PALEA members are protesting the impending dismissal of 2,600 workers as a result of PAL management’s move to outsource some of its businesses to third-party service providers.

Rivera said the certificate order of Secretary Baldoz will boost their case to be filed before the International Labor Organization (ILO).

PALEA is planning to protest what it considered as the Philippine government’s suppression of the ILO conventions on the right to self-organization and collective bargaining.

Rivera called on the 3,700 members of PALEA to remain vigilant and ready to go on strike any time.

Also, PALEA plans to hold protests next week against the DOLE order, in coordination with a labor unity coalition of moderate to militant workers groups.

Moreover, the PAL union members and their supporters will hold a picket rally at the DOLE’s main office in Intramuros, Manila, wherein they will tear a copy of Baldoz’ order.

Meanwhile, PAL's Bautista said the planned strike has no legal basis. “First, it’s not true that management refuses to convene negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement as claimed by the PALEA. Second, the union’s claim that there is no justifiable reasons for the spin-off of three units – Airport Services, In-flight Catering and Call Center Reservations – likewise have no leg to stand on," he stressed.

But PM chairman Renato Magtubo said the right to strike is a constitutionally protected freedom by workers to defend themselves against the self serving interests of business owners.

He lamented that President Aquino “has taken the crooked path instead of the straight road by siding with PAL owner, Lucio Tan, who is also known as the richest man in the country. — with a report by Carmela Lapeña/LBG, GMA News
All Rights Reserved. 2006 © GMA Network Inc.


12 years 2 months ago

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Submitted by internasyonalista on April 3, 2011

Under a capitalist system and government all effective strikes are "illegal". The only powerful weapon of the workers against capitalist attacks and exploitation is an "illegal" strike. SPREAD THE STRUGGLE TO AS MANY COMPANIES AS POSSIBLE! DEFY THE ANTI-WORKER LAWS OF THE GOVERNMENT!