By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) expressed full support for the workers of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) who held a work stoppage, Sept. 27 in protest of the impending massive layoff.
More than 300 members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) staged a walkout around 7 a.m. yesterday over the impending implementation of the outsourcing plan on Oct. 1. The plan, which involves the outsourcing of its catering, call center and ground services, will affect 2,600 PAL employees.
The protest compelled PAL to cancel 172 domestic and international flights, stranding some 14,000 passengers.
“The PAL workers’ fight is a fight of the Filipino workers and people…The implementation of the contractualization scheme in PAL signals the further contractualization of the workforce in the country. We should all oppose PAL’s massive layoff and contractualization scheme,” Elmer Labog, KMU chairman, said in a statement. ?
Labog added, “Lucio Tan merely wants to boost his profits by laying off 2,600 regular and unionized workers and contractualizing PAL’s workforce, contrary to his claims that he is incurring losses. He is busting the workers’ union, one of the oldest in the country, so he can freely implement his profiteering schemes.”?
KMU urged PAL workers to carry on with their protests in the coming days. “We support them for finally taking action, for they are correct in repeatedly voicing out their willingness to go on strike. We salute them for carrying on despite their leadership’s efforts to sabotage their collective action,” Labog said.?
The group also called on the public to support PAL workers, saying that the latter are only defending their jobs and fighting retrenchment.
In a report, PAL maintained that the spinoff is legal. The management also threatened workers who participated in the protest with administrative and criminal charges.
The spin-off at PAL is sanctioned by the Office of the President in a resolution dated Aug. 11, affirming its earlier decision in March allowing the flag carrier to layoff some 2,600 of its ground workers and to start its outsourcing plan. The labor union filed Aug. 26 a petition before the Court of Appeals, seeking to put a stop to the outsourcing program.?
KMU condemned the repression against PAL workers. “We hold President Benigno Aquino III personally responsible for such a repression, for he has repeatedly shown his support for Lucio Tan’s anti-worker schemes. PAL workers, as well as the Filipino workers and people, have the right to protest retrenchment and union-busting,” Labog said.?