Akbayan Party declared on Thursday its solidarity with the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) as the union continues to protest against Philippine Airlines management’s lock out and termination of the workers way ahead of the scheduled implementation of their outsourcing plan.

PAL’s decision to outsource over 2000 jobs was supported by the Office of the President, and is supposed to take effect on October 1, 2011. However management began firing employees at least a week before the scheduled termination and replaced them with unqualified workers. On September 28, PALEA  workers were locked out of the operating system that oversees overall airline operations and were forcibly evicted from their work stations.

 

“This is the height of injustice,” Akbayan Representative Walden Bello said. “Tandaan natin, hindi lang dalawang libong tao ang pinaguusapan natin dito. Higit sa dalawang libong pamilyang Pilipinong nakaasa sa higit sa dalawang libong mga manggagawa ang maghihirap dahil sa ginagawa ng PAL.”

Bello also explained that the standoff between PALEA and management has deeper economic ramifications especially as the contractualization and outsourcing trends from the world economy wreak havoc on employment.

“If PAL wins, then I can assure you that Lucio Tan’s management style of contractualization and bankruptcy will plague the economy. It will become the end of regular jobs, and it will stifle the emergence of a robust middle class that will fuel the development of our economy,” Bello explained. “It is not the workers but Lucio Tan that the President should make accountable for economic sabotage.”

In conclusion, Bello expressed Akbayan’s commitment to stand with PALEA for as long as they will protest.

“Wala nang iniwan si Lucio Tan sa mga manggagawa ng PALEA maliban sa pinagsama-samang lakas ng kanilang mga tinig,”  Bello ended. “Nakikiisa ang Akbayan sa PALEA, at lalo nating pagiigtingin ang panawagan ng bawat manggagawang Pilipino para sa regular na trabaho.”###