For more than two years, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), the ground crew union of Philippines Airlines (PAL), has been fighting an outsourcing plan that will lay off 2,600 employees and downgrade them from regular to contractual workers.
|[Picture: Comrades on the picket line fly a signed a MUA flag]|
The dispute has now escalated with the forcible eviction and lock out of some 2,600 workers and dismissals which is now in it’s seventeenth month.
The October 29th 2010 decision by the Philippine Labor Ministry to permit the laying off – prior to possible rehiring on probably inferior terms – of Philippine Airlines (PAL) workers is a setback in the struggle by the PALEA union to prevent the stripping for profit of the airline and a steady degradation of working conditions there.
This government decision will allow Lucio Tan, a wealthy businessman and owner of PAL – the national flag carrier – to outsource its airport services, in-flight catering and call centre reservations, and lay off more than half of its workforce.
ITF Asia Pacific women’s representative Mich-Elle Myers said: “The true strength of these workers to hold the line after seventeen months is inspirational. The unity and the hope that their struggle will reap rewards is something to admire.”
MUA National Secretary and ITF President Paddy Crumlin stated that the international solidarity among transport workers was alive and well.
"One of the most pleasurable things about being ITF President is watching the workers of the world unite," Paddy Crumlin said.
"All working men and women know that you need to come together at times like this,
“The ITF and MUA stand fully behind the PALEA workers’ in their fight against blatant union busting,” added President Crumlin
The ITF is calling on its affiliates to be on standby, ready to mobilise and support PALEA in the fight for the livelihoods of nearly 3,000 workers and for the future of the union movement in Philippines.
Members passing through Manila are all welcome to go along and show some support to the workers. The picket is located 100 metres from the airport terminal.
At their monthly Stop Work Meeting on the 29th January, the Victorian Branch passed the following resolution:
“That this meeting of the Victorian Branch of the Maritime Union of Australia supports the strong stand taken by PALEA workers, in fighting for justice at work. Your principled stand has been an inspiration to us for over sixteen months. We pledge our continuing support until your reinstatement.”
Message to MUA from PALEA:
Thank you so much. Just claimed your mail to us. 12 MUA T-shirt and a streamer. It's our 17th month-sarry of struggle today. We will 'display the 'streamer' right in the entrance of our camp. In behalf of all PALEAns, accept our deepest gratitude on your UNSTINTING support to PALEA.
Rest assured that we will continue our SOLIDARITY WITH MUA, OZ's, ITF and all workers of the world.