7-Dec-2010 8:47 AM

PAL questions legality of union's planned 'strike vote'

Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) plans to launch a ballot on strike action on 07-Dec-2010 over accusations Philippine Airlines’ management have been bargaining with individual members of the union over the carrier's plans to outsource 2600 jobs (abs-cbnNEWS.com/GMANews.TV, 07-Dec-2010). PALEA filed a strike notice to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) on 06-Nov-2010. The union claims the strike is legal due to PAL’s unfair labor practices. PALEA President Gerry Rivera stated he expects the majority of the 3700 member union to vote in favour of the strike action plans and again called on Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to intervene in the industrial issue.

Philippine Airlines questioned (06-Dec-2010) the legality and propriety of the planned strike vote, claiming PALEA's strike notice "is without basis" and the conditions that justify the holding of a referendum calling for a work stoppage are not present. PAL said the Philippine Government has yet to decide on the union’s pending appeal for presidential intervention in the PAL-PALEA labor dispute. PAL also argued that conciliation talks have only been suspended following a mutual agreement between PAL and PALEA to allow the President to act on the union's appeal to reverse the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) decision to approve PAL's outsourcing plans. President Aquino ordered all documents related to the case be brought to him over the weekend. PAL also denied the accusations it has been discussing the outsourcing plans with individual employees and that management has already talked to individual’s accused of bargaining with PALEA members. Spokesperson Cielo Villaluna stated the individuals had merely explained the packages staff will receive under the spin off plans. PAL also accused PALEA of pressuring President Aquino. Mr Rivera denied the allegation, stating it is merely warning PAL of its illegal acts and that the strike notice is separate to the appeal, though related. The carrier assured passengers its flights remain normal. While PAL management has received assurances from various PAL employee groups that they will not join any strike, the carrier stated it has contingency measures in place. [more]

Philippine Airlines: “A work stoppage does not happen overnight. PAL will exhaust all legal means to prevent any disruption that could hurt the economy and cause inconvenience to the riding public. PAL has made arrangements with sister airline Airphilexpress and other local carriers to help carry domestic passengers, while PAL’s 134 interline partners are also ready to lend a hand in our international routes. To ensure the steady supply of food and other amenities, PAL also made arrangements with several catering firms to supply meals. Our lawyers will contest PALEA’s call for a strike vote, including their planned work stoppage. We believe PALEA’s objective is to pressure Malacanang to rule in their favor and at the same time hold hostage thousands of Filipinos whose travel plans for the forthcoming holidays are already firmed up,” Cielo Villaluna, Spokesperson. Source: Philippine Airlines, 06-Dec-2010.

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