President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s continuing assumption of jurisdiction (AJ) over the labor dispute in Philippine Airlines is prolonging the injustice being committed to workers in the country’s flag carrier. The PAL management is using the ongoing AJ as an excuse for not holding negotiations for a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the PAL workers’ union and for illegally extending the unjust and anti-worker CBA moratorium which is already reaching its 13th year.
It is becoming even clearer that Noynoy’s AJ order was issued to prevent a workers’ strike during PAL’s peak season last December, curtail the workers’ right to hold a strike and other forms of collective action, and satisfy PAL owner Lucio Tan’s greed for ever-bigger profits.
If Noynoy is really concerned with the situation of the workers of PAL, he should have simply stopped Lucio Tan’s contractualization via outsourcing scheme, which will affect more than 2,600 workers, last year. Even economist Winnie Monsod says that the scheme’s main objective is to bust the PAL workers’ union. It is on this basis that we criticize Partido ng Manggagawa, of which PAL Employees’ Association president Gerry Rivera is vice-chairperson, for hailing the AJ order, joining the hype that the order has averted mass layoff, and spreading the illusion that Noynoy did something good for the Filipino workers and people with his AJ order.
We are calling on the workers of PAL: Reject the illusion that Noynoy’s AJ is good and continue strengthening and educating among your ranks. It is your collective action that will decide this labor dispute, not the action of some leader who is promising “change.” The Filipino workers and people are behind you in launching militant and defiant forms of collective action.