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Philippine Labor party, PAL ground crew to support flight attendants strike

Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) | 02.10.2010 02:30 | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | World

The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (Worker's Party) and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), the ground crew union at the national flag carrier, both expressed support for the planned strike of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP).

Judy Ann Miranda, secretary general of PM, declared that “FASAP’s brothers and sisters in the labor movements stand as one body and speak with one voice in solidarity with the struggle of the flight attendants. We will mobilize our members, especially women workers, to support their fight.”

Meanwhile Gerry Rivera, PALEA president, stated that “PALEA members will respect any picketline that will be setup by FASAP. We will be with them in the picketlines.”

Yesterday FASAP announced the collapse of mediation talks with the Philippine Airlines (PAL) management in the face of the company’s hardline position on the contentious issue of retirement age. The flight attendants union is asking that the retirement age be raised from 40 to 60 years in order to remove the discrimination suffered by the predominantly female flight crew. FASAP declared that it will go on strike anytime by end of October or early November, the start of the peak season.

PALEA also has a pending notice of strike but the dispute over the planned retrenchment of some 3,000 ground personnel has been assumed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. In comments that PALEA submitted to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz last September 14, it called on her to declare the mass layoff as illegal and to find PAL guilty of unfair labor practice.

“The demand of the flight attendants for higher retirement age is a call for gender equality and an issue of job security. They are too young to retire at age 40 but then too old to find a decent job. These are issues of women workers in general. That is why we support the FASAP fight. Women factory workers will link up arms with them in the event of a strike,” insisted Miranda.

Rivera also argued that fight of the PAL ground personnel against contractualization is a struggle for job security. “One common thread that runs through the grievances of PAL employees—whether ground crew, flight crew and even pilots. That is the demand for job security. We all want regular jobs with decent wages, sufficient benefits, good working conditions and the protection of a union that serves as the workers voice in the workplace. Unfortunately secure and protected jobs contradicts Lucio Tan’s new business model of a union-free and non-regular workforce,” he explained.

Anti-contractualization group gathers support to defend trade unionism in PAL


Members of the Koalisyon Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA) joined the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) in celebrating its 64th anniversary in a mass and rally held at the Our Lady of the Airways Parish at the corner of MIA Road and Ninoy Aquino Ave. in Pasay City this morning.

The PALEA assembly has become a gathering of different labor groups and individuals opposed to the policy of labor contractualization and who pledge to defend the 64 year-old trade union organization in PAL. PALEA was formed in September 21, 1946. September 21 is also the anniversary of the imposition of martial law.

KONTRA leaders vowed to mobilize, as widely as possible, local and international support for the PAL workers’ fight against contractualization, saying that what Marcos failed to achieve in annihilating militant trade unions under martial rule, present day capitalists want it done through contractualization.

Partido ng Manggagawa chair Renato Magtubo, said PAL’s plan to fire more than 2,600 regular ground personnel and replace them with contractuals from outsourced third party service providers is a sinister way of busting the 64 year-old strong and assertive tradition of PALEA union.

Another labor leader Pete Pinlac, former president of PLDT union and who now heads the Manggagawa ng Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas (MKP), said that while the trained and highly skilled members of PALEA were assured to be rehired under new spinoff companies and may assume their former jobs, what is achieved instantly under the outsourcing plan is the emasculation of PALEA and loss of job security of its members.

Edwin Bustillos of the Alliance of Progressive Labor, on the other hand, warned of grave consequences the planned outsourcing in PAL would bring to the entire labor front as the policy may serves as template for organized and systematic way of union-busting.

KONTRA also condemns PAL’s policy of forced retirement for female flight attendants upon reaching the age of 40, saying the policy is not only discriminatory on women but also a clear violation of all existing laws and international conventions on core labor standards.

KONTRA is a labor alliance opposed to the policy of labor contractualization. It is composed of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry for Labor Concerns (AMLC), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Manggagawa para sa Inang Bayan (MAKABAYAN), Manggagawa sa Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas (MKP), PALEA, Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Union of Filipino Service Workers (UFSW), and the Urban Missionaries (UM).

Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)
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