Malacañang hands off on PAL layoff

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 02 2010 08:25 PM | Updated as of Nov 03 2010 11:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang will not lift a finger to stop the impending layoff of thousands of workers at flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Instead, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte encouraged the workers, some of whom picketed Malacañang Tuesday morning, to seek legal remedies.

"I understand the sentiments of PALEA employees there are legal ways of redress. They can file a motion for reconsideration and eventually, they can appeal [the] decision of DoLE," she said.

"As far as I have been informed, nabasa ko 'yung decision, it was based on law . You have to balance the interests also... as long as it is based [on] law, okay na po tayo dun."

Valte also took exception to criticisms that the Aquino administration was no different from the Arroyo government in handling labor disputes.

"I think hindi naman po fair ang comparison na ganun," she said.

Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz recently upheld a previous order of former acting Labor chief Romeo Lagman, giving the green light on PAL's plan to outsource 3 non-core operations and lay off some 2,600 workers.

PAL wants to outsource its call center reservations, in-flight catering and airport services units to be financially viable.

The Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA), the ground crew union at PAL, slammed Baldoz's decision, saying it meant "the death of job security."

But Baldoz maintained that the planned outsourcing was a "just, reasonable, humane and lawful exercise of [PAL's] management prerogative."

PAL, meanwhile, said it has yet to compute the financial impact of Baldoz's modifications to the compensation package that each of its separated employee will receive.