Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PALEA denies agreeing to settlement in labor row

MANILA, Philippines - The ground crew union of Philippine Airlines (PAL) has denied it agreed to consider a partial settlement of its dispute with the airline's management before Malacañang hands down a decision on the year-long labor row.

The PAL Employees' Association (PALEA) issued a statement, saying it was not open to a gradual implementation of PAL's outsourcing plans and higher separation pay as settlement.

"Neither management or the union proposed such ideas in the mediation meeting called by the Office of the President last Friday," said PALEA president Gerry Rivera.

Rivera was reacting to news reports by ANC and abs-cbnNEWS.com that cited a radio interview of deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.

Valte was quoted as saying that the parties were mulling a settlement during Friday's 1.5-hour meeting.

"We certainly made it clear that we do not agree to either gradual outsourcing or higher separation or both,"Rivera said.

"We hope that Malacañang will issue its own clarification since such 'wrong mistakes' will not help the Office of the President in mediating the PAL and PALEA dispute," he added.

Rivera maintained his group was against PAL's plan to outsource non-core units, which would lead to the retrenchment of some 3,000 workers.

He said what they asserted was the commencement of collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations with PAL management.

"PALEA must remain vigilant until the CBA negotiations actually start and our mass actions serve this purpose of alerting PAL and the government that we are not complacent. CBA negotiations will be historic since it will mean the end of the dozen year moratorium," Rivera said.

However, PAL president Jaime Bautista had said that the Lucio Tan-owned airline was firm in its decision to let go of non-core units, and that any new CBA would be negotiated with only those who would be left behind after the spin-off.

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