Press Release: PALEA says protest continues, vows fight not over

September 28, 2011

Press Release


The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) declared that the protest against layoff and contractualization continues with some 400 Philippine Airlines (PAL) employees picketing the In-Flight Center along MIA Road near Terminal 2 of the Manila International Airport.

 “The fight is not over. Yesterday PAL employees showed that they are solidly in defiance of the layoff and outsourcing plan. While PAL and the government revealed that they will use overwhelming force to break workers’ legitimate protest,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

PALEA condemned the forcible eviction since yesterday afternoon up to early this morning of hundreds of PAL employees in peaceful protest at the Terminal 2, international cargo terminal and catering department. PAL employees Kathleen Yumol, Rhonan Alonzo, Christian Concepcion were hurt in the dispersal at Terminal 2 led by a combined force of hundreds of Centaur security guards and PNP personnel led by Col. Dionalo Antallan.

PALEA also slammed as scabs the replacement workers brought in by PAL after the eviction. The door of an Airbus A340 with aircraft ID 3430 was damaged when a reliever who was an unlicensed PAL staff misused the airstep. “This accident reveals the dangers of inexperienced contractual employees at work. We know that passengers were inconvenienced by the protest but they should understand that airline safety and efficiency is ensured by regular not contractual labor,” Rivera claimed.

A solidarity forum for PALEA sponsored by the Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns (AMLC) will be held today from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Our Lady of the Airways Parish (OLAP) to be attended by priest and sisters in the Manila archdiocese and representatives of parish pastoral councils, campus ministries, social service coordinators and lay organizations. Last night PALEA and PM members in Cebu staged a rally at the Mactan International Airport in support of the protest vs. layoff and contractualization.

Rivera also criticized Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, who reports said was to coordinate government efforts to resolve the labor dispute. “Ochoa apparently relinquished control to PAL management as it was they ordering PNP personnel and airport police in dispersal operations. Ever since, as author of the Office of the President decision on the outsourcing case, Ochoa has exacerbated rather than resolved the labor row,” he elaborated.

The union blamed PAL for the inconvenience experienced by the public. “PALEA has repeatedly asked PAL to resolve the labor dispute to no avail. Thus PALEA had advised the public of the protest to be held at anytime but PAL foolishly dismissed our warning and kept on assuring passengers that operations will not be disrupted,” Rivera explained.

He added that “We were forced to hold the protest despite typhoon Pedring since PAL had been bringing in scabs and displacing regular employees since last week ahead of the effectivity date of the termination. We hope that PAL’s passengers, especially the overseas workers, appreciate that the typhoon of contractualization is also a national disaster not just to PAL employees but all Filipino laborers.”

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