PALEA files strike ballot results; 95% in favor of strike

Published by rudy Date posted on March 25, 2011

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) has filed the official results of its strike ballot at the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Friday morning.

PALEA said majority or 95% of its members voted in favor of a planned work stoppage.

Some 70% of PALEA members turned out for the strike vote and a mere 4% voted no.

“The massive vote for a strike is an expression of protest at the 13-year long suspension of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and the planned contractualization amidst PAL’s $1.6 billion yearly profit. Our demand for new CBA negotiations has remained unheeded for the past 5 months thus we are forced to go on strike,” said Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

“A strike can still be stopped if PAL stops breaking promises and instead opens negotiations without any preconditions,” he added.

PALEA began the balloting on Wednesday and finished tallying the votes from all PAL offices and outlying stations late Thursday night.

Any actual strike is expected after a cooling period of about 7 days.

Lucio Tan-owned PAL earlier warned that a work stoppage would be “dealt with severely” as it has no legal basis.

This is not the first time that PALEA attempted to go on strike.

In December last year, PALEA also held a strike ballot against PAL due to a plan to outsource non-core operations, which would shave off nearly 3,000 jobs at PAL. Eighty-six percent of its members voted yes that time.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz assumed jurisdiction over the labor row, and later issued a ruling, affirming PAL’s outsourcing plan.

PALEA appealed to Malacañang, prompting President Aquino himself to take over the matter in December.

Aside from PALEA, PAL was also in a labor dispute with its flight attendants.

Labor unity meeting

Rivera said a labor unity meeting will be convened in Quezon City on Saturday where moderate to militant labor groups will gather in support of PALEA’s fight.

“The workers movement stands as one in solidarity with PALEA’s strike for regular jobs and labor rights. PAL is insensitive for refusing to share its $1.6 billion profit with its workers through a CBA and for planning to layoff 2,600 employees while tens of thousands of OFW’s are returning from unrest and disaster abroad,” argued Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

“The strike vote is not baseless as PAL claims. Instead it is management’s position that the CBA exclude any provisions on outsourcing that is baseless. The law provides that a CBA can cover any and all issues affecting the terms and conditions of employment,” Rivera argued. –

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