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FFW supports laid off PAL employees; Calls for end to unbridled contractualization
August 22, 2011

 

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) deeply sympathizes with the thousands of employees of Philippine Airlines (PAL) who will be laid off, most likely with finality, following the decision of the Office of the President (OP) to deny the motion for reconsideration of the PAL Employees Association on the planned outsourcing of PAL services that will pave the way for contractualization of workers.  

With the OP decision affirming a ruling by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that allowed PAL management to go on with its retrenchment plan last year, some 2,600 employees of the flag carrier and their families will be deprived of a decent life.  

This is very alarming considering that PAL itself reported billions profits despite the stiff competition in the local and international airline industry. Serious financial losses in many instances, though not in all cases, justify retrenchment of workers. But if profitable enterprises, such as PAL, are allowed to wantonly retrench its workers, what would prevent enterprises who are earning enough to layoff their workers in the name of contractualization?  

Undoubtedly, the series of events is a step in the wrong direction. The Labor and Employment Plan (LEP), 2011-2016, which supplements the PNoy administration’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP), calls for inclusive growth through decent and productive work. This is anchored on the promotion of decent work and the generation of one million employment per year.  

Clearly, the decision of the OP will seriously hurt the target of creating one million decent and productive employment per year, what with the removal 2,600 regularized workers in one of the oldest and most stable companies in the country.  

The LEP and the PDP are supposed to discourage precarious work in favor of work, where there is security of tenure among others. It is the type which is more commonly known as decent work—characterized by equal opportunities for productive work; where there is respect for workers’ rights; social protection that includes safety and health at work; and, social dialogue or mechanisms that provide a venue for workers and management to openly discuss issues at the workplace with mutual respect.  

While the FFW commiserates with the employees of PAL and their families because of the full implementation of the retrenchment scheme that will lead to the outsourcing of services that have been delivered directly by PAL to its clients since time immemorial, and the imminent danger of contractualization of the regular jobs in these services, the FFW is also wary of the impact of this precedent on its own members and the whole working population.  

We are alarmed by these developments as it will open the floodgates for wanton contractualization by irresponsible and wicked enterprises which do not outsource as a legitimate alternative to make the business financially viable, but as a tool to avoid regularizing workers and deprive workers the correct wages and benefits due them for all the hard work they put in.  

Thus, the FFW calls on its members and all Filipino workers who want to protect and fight for their rights to regular employment and decent work to support the motorcade, “Walang Dangal sa Trabahong Kontraktwal” on Aug. 22 that will kick off at 4pm at the corner of Buendia Avenue and Roxas Boulevard and will culminate at the Ninoy Aquino Monument in Makati.  

“Makiisa at ipaglaban natin ang dangal at karapatan ng manggagawa sa regular na trabaho!”


Signed:

Atty. Jose Sonny G. Matula
National President
Federation of Free Workers

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