PAL employees start ‘sit down’ protest
MANILA, Philippines – Employees of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) stopped working at 7 a.m. Tuesday in protest of the company’s plan to outsource 2,600 jobs.
The PAL Employees Association (Palea) said its members reported to work, but would stop refuelling planes, moving cargo or manning check in counters – among other jobs – leaving thousands of passengers stuck at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 2 in Manila, which is exclusive to PAL.
PAL representatives could not be reached for comment.
“Palea has decided to act now instead of waiting for the onslaught of the outsourcing typhoon on Friday. This is the mother of all protests against layoff and contractualization. Nobody will go home and we will not back down until our demand for job security is met,” Palea president Gerry Rivera said.
“Any inconvenience brought about by the protest is temporary. Ultimately the safe and efficient operation of PAL is guaranteed if employees are regular not contractual. It is up to PAL to settle the dispute and prevent further difficulties to passengers and clients of the flag carrier,” he said.
Palea said they would continue their protests until the company’s management abandoned its plan to cut jobs.
Palea’s actions, which the union refuses to call a strike, is in protest of PAL’s plan to close down three departments – its call center reservations, in-flight catering and airport services – by the end of the week.
About 2,600 workers will lose their jobs, but these employees have been offered to be rehired by the third-party service providers that would replace the three closed departments.
These companies are Sky Kitchen and Sky Logistics, which are owned by Cebu-based businessman Manny Osmena, and SPi Global Holdings, owned by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).
Palea claims that less than 15 percent of its members signed their termination papers, while only 7 percent accepted jobs with the third-party companies.
“We call on PAL to begin talks for a settlement to the labor dispute. Palea demands a stop to the outsourcing plan. We call for the opening of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement [CBA]. In the CBA negotiations, we can discuss measures to make PAL viable except outsourcing,” Rivera said.
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