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PAL’s dirty tricks meant to counter Palea’s strike

12:18 AM November 04, 2015

This refers to the story titled “Employees disown PAL strike notice” (News, 10/23/15) on the six Philippine Airlines (PAL) employees opposing the notice of strike filed by Philippine Airlines Employees Association (Palea). The report said that the Inquirer tried but failed to contact me for a reaction. I am not aware of any attempt by an Inquirer reporter to get my side on the story. In the interest of fairness, let me clarify:

The six employees are mere pawns and puppets, and their master is PAL’s management. PAL is seeking to split the union in a bid to weaken the fight against the latest mass layoff. Moreover, with the prospect of the notice of strike maturing into an actual work stoppage by the end of the month or in November, PAL is concerned with the disruption and paralysis of flights and operations.

We know for a fact that PAL management is talking to the six employees. PAL’s coddling of scabs in the campaign to defend regular jobs is a classic case of divide and conquer. Such is not just immoral but is in fact illegal, constituting management interference in the exercise of the workers’ right to self-organization.

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This same group of scabs also filed two complaints with the Department of Labor and Employment at the behest of PAL. This is not a wild accusation but a solid conclusion drawn from the fact that PAL, through a board resolution, appointed an attorney-in-fact to represent the company in the intraunion disputes well before these cases were filed.

That these six scabs are publicly opposing Palea’s strike while remaining deafeningly silent on PAL’s layoffs shows where they stand in this battle between the union and management over contractualization. They are practically acting as management spokespersons as their statements against Palea follow precisely the line and policy of the company.

The latest retrenchment of 117 PAL personnel at domestic airports across the country is part of an outsourcing spree that started in 1998, which has resulted in the dismissal of 5,500 employees and their replacement by contractual workers. We are determined to stop the epidemic of contractualization in PAL and elsewhere, and to protect job security and decent wages for all Filipino workers.

The six scabs are with the faction that lost in the Palea election early this year; they are utterly without any mandate to speak on behalf of the union. Still, their sowing of intrigue and disinformation against Palea’s legitimated and duly-elected officers redounds to management’s benefit.

Much is at stake in Palea’s fight. No collective bargaining negotiations between PAL and Palea has happened since 1998 when a 10-year CBA (collective bargaining agreement) suspension was imposed. After a two-year fight, Palea and PAL forged a deal to settle the labor dispute, yet some 600 retrenched members have not been reemployed as provided for in the agreement. Thus Palea has asked PAL to open collective bargaining negotiations and fully implement the deal that ended the dispute over the last mass retrenchment in 2011 as part of its legal and moral obligations.

—GERRY RIVERA, president, Philippine Airlines Employees Association

* * *

I thank Gerry Rivera for his clarification. I would like to assure him that I will take note of this in my follow-up story.

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May I as well take this opportunity to ask Rivera for clarification on questions being asked by some PAL insiders about the legitimacy of his actions as Palea’s representative.

—JERRY E. ESPLANADA, reporter, Inquirer

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TAGS: contractualization, Department of Labor and Employment, labor union, PAL strike, palea, Philippine Airlines, Philippine Airlines Employees Association
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