Home » Aviation » PAL union intent on holding strike

THE Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) turned down the Office of the President’s (OP) request to hold off a work stoppage to protest PAL’s outsourcing program.

The OP recently approved the carrier’s spinoff program, which would lead to retrenchment of about 2,600 union members.

PALEA president Gerry Rivera in a statement said the OP decision is not yet executory and is “pending final judicial resolution of the case.”

He said “PALEA will act accordingly to defend the jobs and the future of PAL employees should management make the mistake of hastily laying off workers.”

As a result, PALEA is now embarking on both a legal course – a petition with the Court of Appeals will be filed — and mass actions.

Last Monday, PALEA led a protest motorcade of some 20 cars and 50 motorcycles from the Philippine Export Zone Authority office in Roxas Boulevard to the Ninoy Aquino monument in Ayala Avenue in Makati.

Earlier, PAL said it would invite PALEA leaders to a dialogue to discuss the smooth and orderly implementation of the outsourcing program.

Under the plan, PAL will hold town hall meetings in affected departments to discuss mechanics of the spin-off. Primers will be distributed to guide workers on availment of retirement benefits and gratuity pay.

PAL is allocating P2.5 billion in severance benefits for workers of the three non-core units to be spun off. Affected employees will receive a separation pay equivalent to 1.25 months’ salary for every year of service, P50,000 cash as gratuity pay, and other non-cash benefits.

Contingency measures

Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Manuel Roxas II ordered PAL to ensure there is minimal disruption in case of a PALEA strike.

“With or without a strike, the contingency plan should be in place, ready to be deployed at moment’s notice,” Roxas said.

He urged PAL to look into the possibility of getting augmentation from its sister companies such as Airphil Express, whose employees are not PALEA members.

He also asked other local and domestic airlines to be prepared to assist PAL in case the work stoppage paralyzes the flag carrier’s operations.

“In this situation, it is no longer a matter of one airline competing against another. Disruption will not just put PAL in a bad light, but the entire Philippine air travel as well. Business rivalries end where duty to the public begins,” Roxas said.

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