Philippines President Benigno Aquino III designated (07-Dec-2010) Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa to broker talks between Philippine Airlines and its ground workers’ union. PAL welcomed the decision. PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the flag carrier wants to finally resolve the issue of whether or not the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) has legal grounds to conduct a strike vote, much less engage in a work stoppage. The carrier again questioned the legality of the strike action. PAL also assured passengers operations are continuing as normal and it is exerting all efforts to ensure that there will be no flight disruptions during the Christmas holidays. [more]
PALEA Vice President Alnem Pretencio stated the union is “hopeful” its members will vote in favour of its proposed strike action, as it is receiving strong support from the 3700 members (GMANews.TV/Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08-Dec-2010). An initial report showed 80% of members have voted in favour of the strike so far. PALEA plans to announce the official results of the ballot this morning (08-Dec-2010). Mr Pretencio noted that if PAL staff do vote in favour of the strike, the union will honour the seven-day cooling off period before launching the industrial action. He added that PALEA will comply should its members vote against the strike. The union also commented that it hopes things change within the next few days as Mr Ochoa mediates talks.
Philippine Airlines: “PAL appreciates President Aquino’s concern and desire to put closure to the PAL-Palea dispute. Like the President, PAL believes that the public deserves a quick resolution to this issue so as not to further cause anxiety to thousands of passengers who have already firmed up their holiday travel plans. It’s not a question of how many ‘yes’ or ‘no’ votes were cast by PALEA members; the issue is whether or not there is a legal justification for such referendum. PAL believes there is none. Please be assured that PAL is exhausting all legal avenues to avert a work stoppage. There are no winners in a strike: the economy, the airline, its workers and most importantly, the riding public, are all losers in a labor strike,” Cielo Villaluna, Spokesperson. Source: Philippine Airlines, 07-Dec-2010.