1 August 2010
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s call to President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III after the chief executive “scolded” both the Philippine Airlines pilots who refused to report for duty last Saturday and the PAL management for the “disruptions” in the national flag carrier’s operations.
President Aquino also hinted at filing charges against both the pilots and the PAL management. This comes on the heels of the PAL management’s return-to-work directive to the pilots and its announcement that it will file charges against the latter.
“President Noynoy should push the PAL management to address the causes that lie in the company’s labor issues. He should not confine himself with the alleged disruptive effects on the country’s tourism and economy of what happened. Obviously, it’s the livelihood of PAL employees that is on the line here,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“President Noynoy should also desist from all these talk about filing charges. He is following the lead of the PAL management in doing so. We know it’s the pilots, not the PAL management, who will be hardest hit when government takes legal action,” he added.
Dual job functions
It was reported that PAL pilots were forced to work for Air Philippines, which like PAL is owned by business tycoon Lucio Tan, for lower wages and on contractual status.
“Who would want to work for a company that treats you like a property? That forces you to do things against your will, thinking that you owe it big time? We understand the pilots; we sympathize with their plight. The disruption in PAL’s flights is a direct result of the PAL management’s actions,” said Labog.
KMU said the actions taken by the pilots constitute an “SOS” for government intervention not just for the sake of the pilots, but of other PAL employees as well. Last June, the Department of Labor and Employment ruled, in relation to labor issues in PAL, that undertaking outsourcing and spin-off is a management prerogative. It thus gave a green light to schemes that threaten to lay off 3,000 employees.
“President Noynoy should intercede not just for the pilots but for other PAL employees as well. The plight of the pilots mirrors the situation of other PAL employees. Because of management plans to outsource and spin off operations, they fear for their jobs. The PAL management wants them replaced with contractuals and casuals who will receive low pay and will have no security of tenure,” Labog said.