MAKATI CITY – The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), the union of ground employees at Philippine Airlines (PAL), has filed a notice of strike.
In a statement, Gerry Rivera, PALEA president, cited unfair labor practice as basis for the strike.
“We ask for the understanding of the public but a strike is necessary to defend the working conditions of PAL workers as the company is illegally interfering and coercing employees in the exercise of their constitutional right to self-organization. Also the mass termination of more than 100 PALEA members constitute another element of unfair labor practice,” he said.
There was no immediate statement from the PAL management on the planned strike.
Under the law, PALEA has 15 days before it can actually hold a strike.
On September 2, PAL sent notices of termination to 117 employees, almost all PALEA members. The notice cited an alleged organizational restructuring which had rendered “several positions in the Company redundant.”
“Yet no redundancy will happen since the workers to be retrenched will be replaced by new employees from agencies. The new round of layoffs is another wave of contractualization, changing regular unionized workers with contractual employees using agencies who will be paid less in wages and benefits,” Rivera explained.
He added, “PAL is laying off workers at a time when it is swimming in profits. PAL’s parent company, PAL Holdings, reported a net income of P5.8 billion (US$126.20 million) for the first half of 2015, soaring nearly ten-fold from P560 million ($12.18 million) during the same period last year.”
PALEA sent a letter on September 5 to PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista to ask for the recall of the mass layoff and reiterated its request for the commencement of CBA negotiations, and the resumption of discussions for the implementation of the Settlement Agreement.
“To date, PAL has not replied to any of these letters. In the face of such intransigence, a strike becomes imperative,” added the vice chair of Partido Manggagawa (PM). (PNA)