Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Union walkout leaves 14,000 PAL passengers stranded

Members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) paralyzed operations of Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Tuesday after they staged a walkout to protest an outsourcing plan that would put about 2,600 union members out of work by October 1.

The walkout forced PAL to cancel all local and international flights up to 6:00 pm yesterday (Sept 28). As a result, 8,500 passengers on domestic flights and 5,500 on international flights were stranded.

“PALEA has decided to act now instead of waiting for the onslaught of the outsourcing typhoon on Friday (Oct 1). This is the mother of all protests against layoff and contractualization.  Nobody will go home and we will not back down until our demand for job security is met,” said PALEA president Gerry Rivera.

PAL employees in the departments to be outsourced — airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations — led the protest action while other PALEA members remained inside their workplaces; off-duty employees picketed PAL offices at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2

The union members also called on PAL management to begin talks to settle the labor dispute and stop the outsourcing plan.

PAL president Jaime Bautista called the walkout an “illegal strike. We consider it a slowdown, which is tantamount to a strike because they caused the paralyzation of our operations.”

He said, “Our lawyers are studying all legal options, including the filing of administrative, civil and criminal charges against the illegal strikers. They are risking their retirement pay and other benefits because of their illegal actions.”

PALEA supporters have also started to assemble in solidarity with the protest action. Church and labor groups plan to march up to the PAL In-Flight Center along MIA Road and set up a protest camp at the Our Lady of the Airways Parish at the corner of Sucat and MIA roads.


Photo by kamerakamote

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