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Philippine Airlines workers vote to strike

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The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) held a torch parade tonight as initial results in the strike poll reveal a tremendous vote for yes. Only the ballots of PALEA members in the Metro Manila offices of Philippines Airlines have been counted and show 96% votes of for a strike and a mere 3% voted against. In the last strike vote conducted last December, some 86% voted yes. In yesterday’s voting, 1996 PALEA members in Metro Manila participated out of some 2987 total members.

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“The Metro Manila votes of PALEA members are a clear trend that we believe will be repeated in the outlying stations once the ballots have been counted. This is a herald of the determination of PAL workers to fight for their regular jobs and right to bargain. We hope that PAL management heeds this call instead of dismissing it as baseless,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

The strike vote results were mirrored in the demands aired in the torch parade by several hundred PAL employees. They assembled at the PAL Nichols gate 2 at 5:30 p.m. and then marched to the Our Lady of the Airways Parish for short program and prayer rally. “PAL workers are also voting by their feet for a strike and against the 13-year long suspension of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA),” insisted Rivera.

“The strike vote is not baseless as PAL claims. Instead it is management’s position that the CBA exclude any provisions on outsourcing that is baseless. The law provides that a CBA can cover any and all issues affecting the terms and conditions of employment,” Rivera argued.

PALEA expects to finish counting the rest of the ballots from the outlying stations all over the country tonight. The strike vote results will be submitted tomorrow at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in time for the conciliation meeting set at the Intramuros DOLE office. Meanwhile on Saturday afternoon a labor unity meeting will be convened at a restaurant in Quezon City where the whole spectrum of the workers movement will gather in support of PALEA’s fight.

Rivera furthered that “Promises are unfortunately easy to make and break especially for PAL. Instead of promising to begin negotiations within two weeks, we suggest that PAL actually do so by submitting its counter-proposal to our CBA proposal that management has sat on for five months already. PAL must start negotiations without any preconditions. How can PAL negotiate in good faith when it already wants to remove provisions in the coverage of the CBA even before it has opened the bargaining process?”

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All systems go for nationwide strike, Big labor unity rally today is dress rehearsal

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today announced that it is all systems go for its first nationwide strike since 1998 even as the Department of Labor and Employment makes a last ditch mediation effort. Big labor groups together with PALEA will hold a big rally at the airport this afternoon as a dress rehearsal for the work stoppage which can happen any day after the lapse of the strike ban today.

“PALEA is 100% ready for a strike that will paralyze the operations of PAL that in cahoots with the Aquino government wants to deny workers the right to regular jobs and a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The only thing that can prevent a strike is for PAL to heed the demand to stop outsourcing and open CBA negotiations without preconditions,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

At 5:00 p.m. today, more than a thousand PAL employees and members of big labor groups such as PM, TUCP, APL, Makabayan, NCL, BMP, PSLINK, the unions of PLDT, PNR and Fortune Tobacco will hold a big rally and torch parade at the Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. “This mass action is an expression of the unity of the labor movement in the common fight for regular jobs and against the government’s policy of contractualization. This is also a dress rehearsal for the nationwide strike,” explained Rivera.

Synchronized mass actions will also be staged in the key international airports of Cebu and Davao. The labor unity rally will be at 11:00 a.m. in Davao and then later at 4:00 pm in Cebu. Meanwhile in Bacolod, a coalition of labor groups called All Workers Alliance for Regular Employment and Against Contractualization (AWARE AKO) led by PALEA, PM, TUCP and APL will hold a presscon at 10:00 a.m. today.

Rivera insisted that “PAL will earn $1.6 billion in profit this year. Yet it refuses to share the fruits of production with its employees via a CBA. PAL’s workers have already sacrificed with a 12-year CBA suspension that has resulted in the stagnation of wages, benefits and working conditions. In contrast Lucio Tan has become even richer as a result of CBA moratorium and outsourcing.”

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LIST OF LABOR ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING PALEA

1. FASAP- Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines

2. Partido ng Manggagawa - Labor Party http://www.partidongmanggagawa2001.blogspot.com/

3. ABS-CBN IJM Union

4. ADFW – Association of Displaced Filipino Workers

5. AMLC – Archdiocese of Manila Ministry for Labor Concerns

6. APL- Alliance of Progressive Labor, http://www.apl.org.ph/

7. BMP-Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino http://bukluranngmanggagawangpilipino.blogspot.com/

8. CLC- Church Labor Conference

9. FTLU-Fortune Tobacco Labor Union

10. KASAMA Federation

11. KATIPUNAN- NLM Katipunan ng Nakakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa

12. MAKABAYAN- Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan

13. MKP- Manggagawa sa Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas

14. Maynilad Water Supervisors Association

15. MELF- Metro East Labor Federation

16. NFL- National Federation of Labor

17. PAMAVA – Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa ng Valenzuela

18. PMT- Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon

19. PSLINK- Public Services Labor Independent Confederation

20. SMP- Samahang Manggagawa ng Paranaque

21. SUPER – Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms

22. TUCP- Trade Union Congress of the Philippines

23. UNP- Union Network Philippines

24. UFSW – Unified Filipino Service Workers

25. UCWA - United Cavite Workers Association

26. UM- Urban Missionaries

27. UTWU- United Transport Workers Organization

28. Philippine Government Employees Association (PAGEA)

29. National Confederation of Labor Organizations (NCL)

30. National Mining and Allied Workers Union-ICEM

31. Bagong Kapisanang ng mga Manggagawa sa Philippine National Railways (BKM-PNR)