“It is a trap.”
This was how labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s described the Aquino government’s call to Philippine Airlines workers to stick to legal processes in resolving the labor dispute in the country’s flag-carrier, saying the government wants to prevent workers from holding a strike.
Malacanang’s call came after Pres. Benigno Aquino III once again affirmed PAL’s outsourcing scheme, which will layoff more than 2,600 workers whose posts will be replaced with contractuals.
“The Aquino government only wants to sap PAL workers’ energies through legal processes, prevent or delay a strike, and give Lucio Tan more time to try to weaken and demoralize the workers’ union. It also wants to gain greater legal legitimacy for its anti-worker decision with another court decision in its favor,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“Even as it tries to project neutrality by pointing to legal processes, the Aquino government is upholding Lucio Tan’s interests precisely by pushing workers to stick to these processes. It wants PAL workers to stick to legal processes until they find out that it’s already too late to hold a strike, which is their most powerful weapon,” he added.
KMU cited reports from PAL workers saying that the PAL management continues to approach individual workers and offer them early retirement packages and separation packages. It said the PAL management is using the Aquino government’s support to try and demoralize workers.
“While legal processes should continue to be explored, it is wishful thinking, given the Aquino government’s stance, to imagine these resolving the PAL labor dispute in favor of the workers. Using legal processes should not hinder workers from exercising their legitimate right to strike and fight for their rights,” Labog said.
“The Aquino-Tan teamup is calling on workers to pursue their case through legal processes even as it floats around layoff threats against workers who would join a strike. It is clearly trying to intimidate PAL workers into taking an anti-worker legal course in resolving this issue,” he added.
KMU reiterated its support for PAL workers who have repeatedly expressed their willingness to go on strike. : Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson