Excuse me, Mr. President, there is a “Perfect Solution” to the PAL Labor Row

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

In a news forum with the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of the Philippines, the president was quoted as saying that, “we would like to sympathize with those in PALEA… but the interest of 10 million outweighs the 2,000 or so that is affected by PALEA”.

Mr. President, stop pitting PALEA and the labor movement against the migrant workers!  We are all workers, and we all stand behind PALEA.

In the fist place, the labor dispute was not caused by PALEA but by PAL’s blatant violation of its collective bargaining agreement with its workers.

Your statement finally confirmed what labor has been saying all along –that you are colluding with Lucio Tan in undermining workers’ rights.

PAL should continue to service the needs of our migrant workers. But that should be done without giving license to Lucio Tan or any business for that matter, to violate labor rights and destroy regular jobs!

If there is anyone undermining PAL’s capability to service our migrant workers, it is the PAL management’s and Lucio Tan’s ravenous desire for more profits. After all, PAL was lying through its teeth when it claimed that PAL “needed” to contract out three of its departments to “save” the company from financial ruin. In its financial statement for 2010, PAL clearly earned a net profit of more than 3 billion pesos!

Contrary to what you, Mr. President, said, there is a “perfect solution” to this problem – and that is to respect workers’ rights! You must never allow employers to run roughshod over workers’ rights just so the national flag carrier can adapt to what you referred to as the “changing realities of the economic situation in the entire world”. That would be patently unconstitutional, while shamelessly baring your neo-liberal soul – your class bias.

But since Lucio Tan has proven that he cannot run PAL without the wholesale violation of workers’ rights, and PAL is important for our migrant workers, then government must re-nationalize PAL.

In a re-nationalized PAL, all PALEA workers must be reinstated and collective bargaining resumed. In a re-nationalized PAL, workers’ rights must be respected. With a re-nationalized PAL, government would surely have the capacity to safely service the needs of our migrant workers.

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