The union Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) hailed a settlement agreement signed today with the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) that provides for the re-employment of some 600 members as regular workers. In a private ceremony in a downtown hotel in Mandaluyong at noon, officers of PAL and PALEA signed the agreement.
“Resistance saved PALEA’s regular jobs. If we had accepted rather than fought the outsourcing scam implemented in 2011 then we would have become contractual workers trapped in an endless cycle of 6-month endo jobs. Or worse we would have become unemployed in this jobless growth economy. Instead we will be returning to our regular jobs in the next few months.” said Gerry Rivera, PALEA president.
The agreement provides for an improved separation package of 200% per year of service and P150,000 in gratuity pay for PALEA members. Within three months PAL shall process the applications for re-employment of PALEA members who will be given priority for hiring in regular positions.
“We owe this hard-won victory to the steadfast fight of PALEA members and the fervent solidarity of workers, community and Church groups both here and abroad. PALEA’s victory is the victory of all workers,” Rivera explained.
He added that “We thank PAL management led by President Ramon Ang for recognizing that an amicable settlement is preferable to continuing labor strife. We hope to build on this agreement and the protection of job security it provides towards rebuilding labor management relations in the flag carrier.”
At 5 pm today, hundreds of PALEA members will gather in the protest camp outside the PALInflight Center near Terminal 2 to hear a thanksgiving mass to be celebrated by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo. Tomorrow representatives of PAL and PALEA will proceed to the other protest camp near the Mactan International Airport in Cebu to meet the concerned workers there.
Rivera noted that “We pledge to the riding public that as regular workers we can better provide quality service and safe travel. We call on our supporters to lift the boycott PAL campaign as PALEA’s demands have been substantially met.”
PALEA is planning a victory march, program and concert at the protest camp later this week. Last November 8 at the height of super tyhoon Yolanda, some 550 PALEA members out of the 600 affected, assembled and voted to ratify the draft agreement negotiated by its officers.