Philippine Airlines talks welcomed but unions watch developments

June 6, 2013

The 8th ITF Asia-Pacific regional conference passed a resolution to reiterate its support and solidarity with the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA), which has been fighting a Philippine Airlines (PAL) outsourcing plan that saw 2,400 check-in, baggage, catering and technical workers sacked.

The resolution welcomed the airline management’s decision to open talks with PALEA to end the labour dispute and resolved to temporarily halt campaign activities while negotiations continue. However, it also asked the ITF to monitor developments closely and ensure that affiliates would remain on standby, ready to resume the campaign if the talks proved unsuccessful.

The conference noted that "700 PALEA members are still continuing their heroic resistance action after being outsourced, locked out, sacked and faced with the threat of being thrown behind bars as a result of bogus criminal cases filed by PAL management”. It emphasised that the struggle waged by PALEA was a critical frontline in the battle against the global "race to the bottom".

Delegates expressed their strong support for the PALEA members who were told 20 months ago to reapply for their former jobs at half the rate of pay or less, with no job security and no union protection.

ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho said, "We hope that this new round of talks will bring justice to PALEA workers. If not, our affiliates will mobilise to support PALEA and its members in their struggle, using all lawful means available to us, to defend decent working conditions in the aviation industry, to protect the livelihoods of aviation workers and to fight for the future of the union movement in the Philippines."

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