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Sunday, October 31, 2010

DoLE allows mass layoff of 3,000 PAL employees

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has allowed Philippine Airlines’ planned mass layoff of some 3,000 employees when she affirmed the previous order of then acting labor secretary Romeo Lagman denying the motion for reconsideration of the ground crew union at the national flag carrier.

“We find the outsourcing of services and closure of the Inflight Catering, Airport Services, and Call Center Reservation Operations in Philippine Airlines to be a just, reasonable, humane, and lawful exercise of its management prerogative to reorganize the corporate structure for purposes of viability of its operations, subject to entitlement,” according to the order dated 29 October 2010, a copy of its dispositive portion was obtained by INQUIRER.net.

In contrast to Lagman’s 15 June 2010 order, Baldoz’s ruling provides for an additional gratuity of P50,000 per employee and 125 percent separation pay instead of 100 percent. Other entitlements include allowing vacation leave and sick leave balances to be convertible to cash, their absorption to the respective service providers for one year, among others.

Sought for a reaction, PAL said it could not issue one as it has not yet received a copy of the decision.

In a news release, PAL Employees’ Association (Palea) the slammed Baldoz’s decision.

Palea president and concurrent vice chairman of the Partido ng Manggagawa (Workers’ Party) Gerry Rivera said: “The Department of Labor and Employment’s go signal for the retrenchment of half of the workforce means the death of job security at Philippine Airlines.”

Rivera said the union intends to appeal the decision at the Court of Appeals.

At the same time, he said, members of Palea and PM will hold a mass action at the DoLE main office in Intramuros to denounce Baldoz’s order. The protesters plan to bring a mock coffin with the message “RIP PAL Workers” and an effigy of Baldoz as the mythical “Kamatayan.”

Rivera explained that Baldoz’s decision entirely disregarded the union’s arguments and merely reiterated PAL’s position that it must outsource work to service providers in order to be financially viable.

“The order is not a win-win solution that balances the interest of workers for job security and management’s for financial viability. Instead it is simply management’s slightly improved offer disguised as DoLE’s decision,” he said.

Rivera said that Baldoz’s order means allowing the contractualization at PAL via a retrench-rehire scheme. He said PAL will retrench 3,000 regular unionized workers who will be rehired as contractuals by service providers that are partly owned by Lucio Tan.

“The loss of 3,000 regular jobs cannot be compensated by the creation of 3,000 new contractual positions. Baldoz’s decision released on the eve of All Souls’ Day is symbolic for it will conjure up 3,000 zombie positions which will have cheaper wages, fewer benefits, no security of tenure, and no protection by a union,” he said.

Palea also declared that the mass action tomorrow is just the start of a series of protests by PAL employees and their supporters from the labor movement.

An assumption of jurisdiction order from DoLE had prevented Palea from holding mass actions, including a strike since April this year. A similar assumption order was imposed on the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines while a decision remains pending at the office of Secretary Baldoz regarding the separate dispute about retirement age and other issues.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

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