Home » Aviation » PAL employees vote to strike

UNLESS the Office of the President finds a way to settle the row between Philippine Airlines (PAL) management and its union, there may be no stopping next week's planned labor strike at the country's flag carrier.

This after the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) said 86% of its 2,600 members who participated in the December 7 strike vote voted to go on a work stoppage to fight against PAL's supposedly union busting and unfair labor practices.

"The resounding vote for a strike is a democratic expression of PAL employees' resolve to fight for their job security," PALEA president Gerry Rivera said. "The 86% vote is overwhelming given the fact that we had just 24 hours to inform members of the holding of the strike ballot."

All that remains now, Rivera added, is for PALEA to file the results of the strike vote with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), which has jurisdiction over the dispute, then wait for the lapse of the mandated seven-day notification or cooling-off period.

"We understand that a strike at Philippine Airlines may inconvenience the public. But we also believe that the vast majority of the public are workers and their families who will benefit from PALEA's fight for job security and labor rights," Rivera explained.

Meanwhile, PALEA refuted PAL management's claims that the strike vote is illegal.

The issue pending at the Office of the President, Rivera explained, is PAL's outsourcing plan which has been affirmed by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz while the strike vote arose from a separate although related complaint of individual bargaining by PAL management which constitutes unfair labor practice and union busting.

In the event of a work stoppage, PAL has the following contingency measures in place:

  • engage professional service providers, including inflight catering companies, to augment workers not joining the strike;
  • deploy all available manpower, including supervisors and managers who are more than capable of manning critical frontline posts;
  • endorse affected passengers to our sister airline, AirPhilexpress, as well as 134 international airline partners.

At the moment, the PAL-PALEA labor dispute is being reviewed by Malacañang. PAL hopes the union will heed Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa's appeal to exercise restraint by deferring any mass action at this time and allow the Palace to decide on the case.

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