PALEA holds rally vs strike ban

Published by rudy Date posted on April 6, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) rallied outside the Labor Department’s main office in Intramuros, Manila on Monday to protest the agency’s order banning the union form going on a nationwide strike.

PALEA president Gerry Rivera said the rally was the first in a series they plan to hold until the Labor Day celebration on May 1.

“The strike may have been postponed but protests continue with today’s picket at the DOLE as a start. In the coming days we will be holding a workers caravan together with big labor groups to call for a stop to contractualization,” he said.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz issued an order Friday to stop PALEA’s planned work stoppage, saying there was no deadlock in talks on collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Majority of PALEA members voted in favor of a strike in a recent balloting.

The labor chief said the row between PALEA and PAL is now under the purview of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). She warned the union against holding a strike, pending the resolution of the case by the NLRC.

The strike is aimed at paralyzing the operations of PAL amid a dispute on CBA and outsourcing issues.

PALEA wants to start CBA negotiations, but PAL had said it would do so only after it completes the outsourcing, which would shave off nearly 3,000 jobs at the flag carrier.

PAL submitted a CBA counter-proposal to the National National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) last March 28.

Defy order

Rivera said PALEA is ready to defy the Labor Department’s order.

“Wala pa tayong paglabag dahil hindi pa naman natin sinasagawa pero nabibinbin lang ang pagwelga natin pero ‘di pa natin ito tinitigil (The strike was postponed only, we’re not cancelling it). The only way for us is to test the law, how far ‘yan dahil wala naman tayo nahahawakan na karapatan (we are not given rights). Maybe by testing the law, we have to defy the order. So be it,” he said.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said any employee caught violating the DOLE’s order would be punished.

She also assured that PAL has prepared contingency measures in case the strike pushes through. –

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