PALEA all set for protests vs outsourcing

by Caroline J. Howard, ANC

Posted at Sep 30 2011 01:39 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2011 03:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) gears up for protests from 3 to 8 p.m. today amid the looming implementation of the flag carrier's outsourcing program tomorrow, October 1.
PALEA and its supporters will march from the Our Lady of the Airways Parish and Chapel Road up to the In-flight Center along MIAA Road.
"The easiest thing to do is not to implement it because we are still questioning it (the implementation of the outsourcing plan).  Igalang nila yung karapatan naming kwestyunin yung desisyon (ng Labor department). Allow us to go back to work and bring back the normalcy of PAL operations," said PALEA Secretary General Bong Palad on ANC's "Headstart."

In a bid to ease the tension, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino said he will meet with PALEA members before their protest action. He, however, added they are prepared for any eventuality and will work to ensure PAL's continued operations.

"They promised us that they will police their own ranks," Tolentino said on "The World Tonight" on Thursday.

"Police officers will be exercising maximum tolerance. We have made certain arrangements with PAL and management to ensure that passengers holding tickets will be able to enter the premises of the airport and take their flights because we can't discount any possible contingency that may arise."

It is the last day on the job for some 2,400 workers although PALEA continues to question the plan's implementation amid their pending protest case before the Court of Appeals. 
"We're after security of tenure.  Hindi lang para sa amin ito, lumalaban kami para sa iba. Pag natalo kami, lahat ng kompanya maga-outsource, magko-contractual na," added PALEA Board Member Gina Licayan.

30% joined outsourcing firms
Out of some 2,400 PAL employees, PAL President Jaime Bautista said 30% have joined service providers, adding they have tapped other service providers to provide the manpower, with management volunteers to help run airport operations.
PALEA Secretary General Bong Palad said PAL had illegally implemented the outsourcing plan as early as September 19 and terminated their services on September 27. But Bautista denied the allegation.
"We were forced to implement it partially because the employees went on strike, and we need to implement it so we can continue serving the public," Bautista said.
"I did not give them a letter terminating all of them. I gave them a memo telling them they will be on leave with pay until September 30 this year," Bautista added.

No decoding of computers
Bautista said there was no truth to claims PAL management had decoded the computers to keep PAL employees from running operations.
"We won't decode computers because we know the need to serve passengers.  Bakit naman namin gagawin yon e gusto naming ipagpatuloy yung serbisyo."
PALEA is facing the threat of criminal charges for holding a work stoppage this week, which caused the cancellation of over a hundred flights and accounted for an estimated $10 million in lost revenue for the flag carrier.

Outsourcing needed to survive

Bautista admits they have no choice but to implement the outsourcing plan for the survival of the company.
"We have contingency plans and know it will result to some inconvenience to pasengers but we need this for the survival of the company," said PAL President Jaime Bautista.
Bautista said only a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) can keep them from implementing the outsourcing plan.
"Dapat kumuha sila ng TRO. Kung meron we will not implement outsourcing," he said.
Palad and Licayan now appeal to government to intervene in the labor dispute and stop the implementation of the outsourcing plan.
Palad said the Department of Labor and Employment contacted them for conciliatory meetings.
He also urged PAL to allow the legal battle to run its course, saying they would be ready to bring their fight all the way up to the Supreme Court.