Strike threat at PAL worries Comelec


Posted at Apr 27 2010 10:55 PM | Updated as of Apr 28 2010 06:55 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Jose Melo expressed concern over the threat of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) to go on strike.

Melo said on Tuesday the poll body was concerned about the possible delay a strike could cause on the Comelec's timetable to deliver the ballots and other essential election materials to different parts of the country.

Since Sunday, the Comelec had been using chartered PAL flights to deliver the poll materials in time for the May 10 polls..

Even though PALEA had filed a strike notice over a cost-cutting plan aimed at stabilizing the flag carrier's finances, going on strike was a last option, PALEA president Edgardo C. Oredina earlier told ABS-CBN News.

He said a strike was only for a worst-case scenario. He explained that the strike threat was made to convince the government to step in and help the financially beleaguered airline.

The airline had announced it was closing 3 non-core business units and laying off at least 3,000 employees.

Oredina's statement that the strike was to be used only for a worst-case scenario failed to reassure Melo. He appealed to the airline's employees to postpone their planned strike until after the completion of the polls so that all the election materials can be delivered on time.

Melo also told ABS-CBN that the ballots delivered in Zamboanga City by a chartered PAL flight were protected from getting wet, even if the boxes containing them were transported during a downpour. He said the ballots were vacuum sealed, ensuring that moisture can't damage the ballots. -- report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News