PAL union seeks reversal of CA ruling on layoffs

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MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Airlines (PAL) workers on Tuesday asked the Court of Appeals to reconsider its recent ruling that upheld Malacañang’s decision to back management’s prerogative to lay off 2,600 employees in 2010.

In a 20-page motion for reconsideration, the PAL Employees Association (Palea) cited several grounds for questioning the appellate court’s March 13 ruling.

For one, the union said the management’s reason for outsourcing some services, thereby justifying the mass layoff, was not valid because it “was not done in good faith.”

It argued that the appellate court erred when it ruled that PAL was not violating the law on subcontracting through its outsourcing program.

“As the law stands now, contracting arrangements that result in termination of regular employees are prohibited for being against public policy,” the union said, citing a Department of Labor order (Sec. 7, Department Order No. 18-A, series of 2011).

It said the termination of 2,600 regular employees and members of Palea violated this rule.

The union also held that the outsourcing program of PAL was in the form of illegal labor-only contracting which is prohibited under Section 6 of the same department order.

The union also argued that the grounds that PAL gave for implementing its outsourcing program, such as “serious, irreversible financial losses, recession, FAA delisting and others,” were no longer present to warrant the mass termination of workers.

The union noted that in April last year, San Miguel Corp. signed a $500-million deal to acquire a significant stake of PAL and bought 85 new Airbuses.

The union also decried as an “unfair labor practice” the termination of 70 percent of its membership and 62 percent of the union leadership during the period when collective bargaining negotiations should have been conducted.

In its prayer, Palea sought a reconsideration of the decision and the issuance of a new resolution that would declare the mass layoff illegal and cite PAL management for unfair labor practices.

The layoff was implemented in September 2011 after the Department of Labor, and later Malacañang, upheld PAL management’s prerogative to reorganize its operations.

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