Philippine aviation union files strike action notice

March 10, 2011

No To Outsourcing *
PALEA members protest against

PAL’s plans to outsource 2,600 jobs


The Philippine aviation union has announced plans to take strike action in a battle for collective bargaining rights. The dispute takes place amid the company’s ongoing intransigence regarding plans to outsource some 2,600 jobs.

Workers represented by the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) filed a notice of strike action on 7 March, claiming that their employer, Philippine Airlines (PAL) was engaging in unfair labour practices as a result of the company’s refusal to enter into bargaining talks with the union.

On 8 October 2010, PALEA submitted its collective bargaining agreement (CBA) proposal to management. The company has since reneged on a promise to engage in talks with the union, stating that it would only start negotiations on a new CBA once it had implemented its outsourcing plan; that plan was suspended after the office of President Aquino took over jurisdiction of the matter.

A moratorium was placed on the PAL-PALEA CBA in 1998 as a condition for the reestablishment of the flag carrier, which went into receivership in 1998. The airline exited receivership in 2007.

“It has been six months since PALEA submitted its CBA proposal to PAL. Moreover it has been 12 years since the CBA moratorium, which should have lasted only 10 years. PAL’s workers have suffered all through that time as we have not been able to improve our wages, benefits and working conditions. Management is engaging in unfair labour practices for refusing to bargain with PALEA as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president.

PAL had a duty to bargain as outlined in the labour code, the Philippine’s constitution and International Labour Organization convention 98, he said. Its refusal to bargain and to compromise on outsourcing was “immoral and greedy” given the company’s profitability; it had a total net income of $74.9 million in 2010.

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