Church groups led by the Manila Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns (AMLC) is sponsoring a forum on the labor dispute at Philippine Airlines (PAL) in order to garner solidarity for the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) as the effectivity date of the termination of 2,600 workers loom large.
Meanwhile PALEA claimed that the defiance of PAL employees to the outsourcing plan is the real reason behind the flight cancellations announced by the flag carrier last Saturday. PAL said that it is cutting domestic flights by 30% and international flights by 12%. “PAL cannot operate on a 100% basis since they were not able to cajole and coerce enough employees to sign up for the service providers. No more than 15% of the affected workers have accepted the separation offer and even less than 7% have applied for work in the providers. PAL’s outsourcing plan cannot fly,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
He added that “This fact also exposes the myth that the departments to be outsourced are non-core operations. If they are not essential to the business of flying, then how come PAL has to cut down flights due to the difficulties faced by the outsourcing plan?”
“We find that the action of PAL to contract-out the services of 2,600 workers is against the Catholic social teachings which promote dignity of work because of the principle of ‘Man over material things, Labor over Capital,’” declared Fr. Erik Adoviso, head of the AMLC which is an office under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila.
The solidarity forum for PALEA will be held on Wednesday afternoon at the Paco Catholic School. Aside from Rivera and Adoviso, the main speakers at the forum will be Fr. Marlon Lacal of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines and Renato Magtubo of PM. Representatives of parish pastoral councils, campus ministries, social service coordinators and lay organizations are expected to attend aside from priest and sisters in the Manila archdiocese. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, head of the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action and staunch PALEA supporter, will not be able to attend as he is abroad as of the moment.
PALEA legal counsels on the other hand are preparing complaints to be filed as incidents of scabs performing work of PAL employees continues to pile up. PALEA has reported that personnel of MacroAsia, a service provider owned by Lucio Tan, have tried servicing the catering requirements of Japan-bound flights. Also that PAL managers and non-PAL staff attempted to check-in passengers of flights to Cebu and Davao.
“We think serious violations not just of the labor code but of airport security and civil aviation regulations are occurring due to the entry of non-licensed personnel from other PAL departments and outside companies such as MacroAsia. We appeal to PAL to resolve the present labor dispute in order to prevent any inconvenience to its passengers and clients. But should PAL refuse to hear its employees’ legitimate grievances, then PALEA has no recourse but to fight back and defend our regular jobs,” Rivera insisted. ###