The Nagkaisa (United), the biggest labor coalition of labor groups and workers organizations from private and public sectors is urging the public to boycott businessman Lucio Tan owned Philippine Airlines (PAL) for embarking on another round of mass layoff, this most recent involve 117 employees working at domestic airports across the country.
It can be recalled that in 2011, more than 2,000 PAL employees lost their regular jobs when Lucio Tan implemented his outsourcing program. PALEA members resisted the outsourcing program until the labor dispute was finally resolved through a Settlement Agreement in 2013. Said Agreement has yet to be fully complied by PAL.
“We are urging our fellow countrymen travelling locally, our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), balikbayans and our friends in all non-government organizations and civil society organizations to boycott Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines (PAL) and temporarily cease patronizing its international and domestic passenger and cargo services until he recognizes the sanctity of PAL’s collective bargaining agreement as well as the settlement agreement with Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and respect for its workers’ rights,” Nagkaisa said in a statement.
The newly retrenched employees were called to a meeting on September 2 and handed on the spot their termination papers and told not to report for work anymore and were immediately replaced by agency-hired workers. This prompted PALEA members to hold mass mobilizations the following week at PAL main office at the PNB Building in Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay City and at its various offices around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in protest of the layoffs.
During its annual stockholders meeting held August 27 last month, management reported that PAL earned a total comprehensive income of US$20.4 million for the year 2014. Its main expenses were the purchase of more aircrafts and cost of jet fuel.
The same report said that in 2014 PAL ferried 9.6 million passengers on 73,685 flights during the year compared to only 5 million in 2013 while cargo also largely contributed to the income by carrying 162 million kilograms compared to 94.3 million kilograms in 2013— with increased domestic international flights from the US, Canada, Asia and the Middle East.
“Mr. Tan wants to improve his margin of profits further immediately upon wresting majority ownership of PAL from San Miguel Corporation in September last year by laying off anew its workers and their livelihood. But the coalition of labor groups within Nagkaisa will not allow Mr. Tan’s cruel disregard of PAL workers’ right to security of tenure and his brazen disrespect to its agreement. The coalition vows its full support to affected PALEA members and to all other PAL workers. We enjoin with the union’s fight for regular jobs and respect for collective bargaining agreement,” Nagkaisa said.
The coalition said the call to boycott PAL services is a peaceful and strong way of the general public’s expression of outrage over the anti-labor practice of Mr. Tan. It is also to remind Mr. Tan that firing company regular workers without due process is grave injustice and backing out from agreement is serious moral and legal misconduct.