[Statement] Statement of support to PALEA – Church Labor Conference


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Government has the responsibility to pass laws to protect the rights of workers.
The public administration (government) must provide for the welfare and the comfort of working classes.
Among the many and grave duties of rulers who would do their best for the people, the first and chief,
is to act  with strict justice – towards each and every class alike.  Justice, therefore, demands that the interest of the working classes should be carefully watched over by the administration, so that workers, who contribute so largely to the advantage of the community, may themselves share in the benefits which they create – that being housed, clothed, and bodily fit, they may find their life less hard and more endurable.

Rerum Novarum, #27 (1891)

We, members of Church-Labor Conference or CLC, declare our full support to the struggle of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) against the mass retrenchment, contractualization, and their plan to launch their strike to protect their job security.

PAL ground crews face twin blows from PAL management and Malacañang. The PAL management earlier planned to outsource its three major departments that would result in massive retrenchment and contractualization of more than 2,600 regular employees.  On Saturday, 26 March 2011, Malacanang, through Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. favored the outsourcing and retrenchment backing the earlier decision of the Department of Labor and Employment, with the increased separation pay from P50,000.00 to P100,000 per affected worker

The impact of Malacanang’s decision is detrimental to the entire labor force for this will legitimize the outsourcing or contractualization of jobs necessary and desirable to the operations of any business.  It becomes an unscrupulous precedence for any management or company to arbitrarily outsource their workforce.  With this trend, favored by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Office of the President, the workers’ human and labor rights to security and tenure and to self-organization, instituted in the Philippine Constitution and Labor Code, are vehemently violated.  Worse, the act of increasing the separation pay is tantamount to buying off the rights of the workers.  TO HAVE A DECENT LIFE, what the workers need is Job Security.

PAL workers have long sacrificed their right for a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  When the management declared losses in 1998, they adhered to a suspended in a goodwill to understand the plight of the company.  However in PAL’s own financial documents, the flag carrier’s April to December 2011 profit was $74.9 million and the union expects $1.6 billion profit for the fiscal year ending in March 2011. Therefore, PAL is now gaining profits and there is no basis for the planned outsourcing and retrenchment.  PAL management refused to bargain with PALEA members but would only do so after the retrenchment takes place which means another clear violation of workers’ right to collectively bargain.

Malacañang favored the Philippine’s 2nd richest man and set aside the rights of more than 2,600 workers.  These workers, together with their families and support groups, placed high hopes in voting for a new President.  The new President branded these people as “Kayo ang Boss ko” in his inaugural speech. “Ang Daang Matuwid means job security…a real job means stable jobs for all Filipinos.”   If the government is sincere in its promises to the people, it has to have a sound job employment program and policy for the Filipinos promoting decent and sustainable jobs instead of promoting contractualization.  The Government should GIVE PRIORITY TO LABOR OVER CAPITAL.

PALEA is now pushed to the wall and forced to launch their strike. This is their last resort in order to protect and preserve their job security and to echo to the new generation that they are not only fighting for their rights and dignity but for the rights and dignity of the younger generation.

We in the Church Labor Conference also support this planned strike.  We will take necessary actions in unison with PALEA until the planned outsourcing of three “non-core” departments of PAL that will result to retrenchment of more than 2,600 regular employees be declared illegal and inhuman.

We call the attention of President Benigno Aquino, Jr. to review and reverse his decision and prove that his government is pro-poor, pro-people and sincere in its battle cry for Daang Matuwid. Give the favor to the working people and stop contractualization!

We also call the attention of our fellow workers, the young workers, fellow labor rights’ advocates and churchpeople to spread the message of support to struggling workers of Philippine Airlines.  PALEA’s struggle for job security is our struggle against contractualization.

We call the attention of our fellow Filipinos to stand hand in hand with us in fighting CONTRACTUALIZATION.
Solidarity among workers and with workers to protect and promote their fundamental rights and discharge their responsibilities properly is necessary.  Likewise necessary is just legislation to ensure the entire range of workers’ rights.  Without such assistance, a just development in the world of work will not take place.

Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Acts and Decrees #320


Church Labor Conference is an alliance of various labor groups and
Catholic Church people. This alliance promotes labor protection and the
well-being of the working people.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, D.D. is the Chairman of CLC.

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