The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) expressed guarded optimism on the possibility that a change in ownership and leadership at the Philippine Airlines (PAL) may create an opportunity to end the flag carrier’s lingering labor dispute.
San Miguel Corporation has confirmed news that the conglomerate is in advance talks with PAL owner Lucio Tan for a possible buyout of the ailing flag carrier.
The ground crew union, nonetheless, maintains its assertion that whoever gets control of PAL the fact remains that the airline can only takeoff and prevent further losses by getting the 2,600 locked out regular workers back.
“Bring back PAL's regular employees and it can fly anew with pride,” declared PALEA President Gerry Rivera, as he assured the public that within days upon their reinstatement, PAL operations would be back to normal.
“As a legacy airline, PAL is about quality service – quality service that only comes from a quality workforce. The new owner/s must therefore consider this crucial human resource factor in their ongoing acquisition talks,” added Rivera.
PAL suffered heavy losses in the third and fourth quarter of this year after PALEA members opposed the company’s outsourcing/contractualization plan by refusing to transfer into assigned service providers. PALEA’s protest in September 27 has forced the airline to scale down its operations for lack of skilled manpower to operate its passenger and cargo handling operations as well as its catering services.
PALEA stressed that it is the failed outsourcing plan that pulled the flag carrier’s finances as well as its reputation down as consumer confidence is greatly affected by labor issues, low quality service and safety concerns.
Moreover, PALEA supporters from the local and international trade unions, the Church, the academe, migrants and civil society groups, have launched a successful boycott campaign -- all contributing to a significant reduction in PAL’s load factor.
On December 31, the protest camp located at PAL’s In-Flight Center and Catering Services Building along MIA Road will be a noisy camp as PALEA members make noise to assertively and confidently greet the New Year with a call to end the labor row at PAL.
A media-noche will also be prepared at the camp similar to what PALEANs have shared during their noche-buena on Christmas Eve.
“2011 was really a turbulent year for PALEA and the entire labor movement. Yet despite the storms, our fighting spirits remain intact. We remain hopeful and we thank everyone who stood with us for keeping us strong and united,” concluded Rivera.