The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today asserted that the interest of the nation will be best served by the return of some 2,400 retrenched employees of Philippine Airlines to their regular jobs. “The economy, tourism, the welfare of OFW’s, and passenger safety have all been put at risk because of the failed outsourcing plan of PAL which laid off its skilled and experienced manpower. Two weeks after the illegal lockout and termination of PALEA members, PAL’s flights have not normalized despite Jaime Bautista’s promise of a smooth transition starting on October 1,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.
PALEA joined today’s rally by labor groups under the Koalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA) at Mendiola. The groups called on the government to resolve PAL labor dispute by ordering the return of the terminated PALEA members to their regular jobs. Next week PALEA has planned more protests to bring its message against contractualization to the workers and the people. Yesterday PALEA held a big protest at the MIA Road to denounce President Benigno Aquino’s insensitivity to the plight of the workers as revealed by his FOCAP speech.
Rivera disputed President Aquino position that national interest dictates government’s support for PAL’s outsourcing plan. “If PNoy wants to protect the national interest and the welfare of some 10 million OFW’s then he should order the return to work of PALEA members who are the only ones capable of making PAL fly and its operations normal. Without outsourcing, PAL was flying well and making P3 billion in profits. But when outsourcing came and PALEA members were retrenched, PAL’s flights went abnormal, and national interest put at risk,” he said.
“If tomorrow we need to repatriate thousands of OFW’s from abroad, only the skilled workers from PALEA can make PAL fly not the untrained and overworked scabs. National interest means regular jobs for workers not management prerogative to layoff,” Rivera insisted.
He added that “PNoy says that global economic realities dictate that outsourcing be implemented. For some reason he is out of touch with reality. Resistance to outsourcing is a global trend. From Occupy Wall Street protesters to strikers at Qantas in Australia to workers in Greece, all are saying enough of corporate greed and corruption.”
“What is PNoy doing with his economics diploma that he cannot analyze the economic reality of the world? Outsourcing and globalization has led to economic crisis and global recession. Wealth has been monopolized by the 1% per cent while the 99% of the people have been impoverished by layoffs and contractualization among others. Thus workers lack the money to buy the goods and services needed for their daily life and economic recession is the result,” Rivera explained.