Akbayan Youth stands in solidarity with the 2,600 members Philippine Airlines Employee Association (PALEA) whose jobs are now threatened by a reckless outsourcing plan designed by PAL management. PAL’s plan to fire these tenured workers and rehire them on a contractual basis reveals not only the greed of Lucio Tan but also his disregard of worker’s rights and welfare.
We condemn the brazen treatment of PALEA workers, who, on September 27, were illegally locked out of their work stations. As early as September 19, PAL had already replaced regular workers with scabs, directly violating the terms of a conciliation agreement facilitated by no less than the office of the president.
We also condemn the outright deception of PAL management and their allies, who blamed flight cancellations on the September 27 PALEA strike.
As early as September 24, PAL’s website had already announced numerous flight cancellations, which would have occurred even without the strike. More importantly, blame for “economic sabotage” or inconvenience to the public must be directed at PAL management and not aggrieved employees.
Despite announcing massive profits in 2010, PAL insists on implementing cost-cutting measures that prioritize increased profits over worker’s rights. Not only do contractual workers receive less pay and fewer benefits, their lack of job security exposes them to the risk of easy termination.
The fight against the contractualization of work – a trend that is spreading into various industries – is that of young Filipinos. Young people are the most vulnerable to unemployment and contractual work. Even youth who have spent time and hard-earned money to go to college are increasingly working precarious jobs.
The struggle of PALEA further underscores the need to pass the Security of Tenure bill. As we condemn the greed of an individual employer, we recognize the need for a larger framework that will accord proper dignity to the country’s workers.
The Security of Tenure bill is a necessary government intervention to stem the tide of labor contractualization.
PALEA’s struggle is the struggle of all unions and all those who demand decent work. ###