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Thursday, October 6, 2011

PAL case to affirm, worsen contractualization

“The implementation of the Noynoy-backed contractualization via outsourcing scheme in Philippine Airlines signals a more rampant attack on workers’ job security, union rights and wages.”

This was the statement of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno three days after the implementation of the outsourcing scheme in Philippine Airlines, which retrenched from work some 2,600 PAL workers in a drive to re-hire them as contractuals doing the same job at half the wage.

“The government’s handling of the case of PAL, one of the biggest airlines in the world and owned by the second richest Filipino, sets a bad precedent for Filipino workers. Companies will always be using ‘financial losses’ as excuse to lay off workers and contractualize workforces – knowing fully well that the government will support them with nary a doubt on their claims,” said Ustarez.

Widespread in the country

KMU cited research from labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research or Eiler saying the majority of the country’s workers are already contractuals, concentrated in Business Process Outsourcing companies, in the service sector, and in special economic zones across the country.

“The Aquino government’s attitude towards Lucio Tan’s conctractualization via outsourcing scheme is a green light for companies to go ahead in contractualizing their workforces. It is a big YES to lower wages and no job security for workers and for the repression of trade-union rights,” Ustarez said.

NLRC decision

KMU also slammed the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission junking the unfair labor practice case filed by the PAL Employees’ Association against the PAL management for refusing to include outsourcing in what was supposed to be a negotiation for Collective Bargaining Agreement early this year.

“This NLRC ruling shows that the Aquino government brooks no opposition to Lucio Tan’s outsourcing scheme, even that coming from workers fighting for a chance to be heard through negotiations for a CBA. It is a bad precedent, showing that managements can push through with outsourcing even if they should subject it to negotiations with the workers’ union – all because the Aquino government is on their side,” he added.

“PAL workers have every reason to assert that outsourcing be included in negotiations for a Collective Bargaining Agreement. The PAL management should have been compelled to face the workers in negotiations for the CBA, with outsourcing as an agendum,” Ustarez said. Lito Ustarez, KMU Vice Chairperson

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