Philippine Airlines (PAL) today (Nov. 11, 2010) sought dismissal of the second Notice of Strike (NOS) filed by the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) last November 5, saying the issues being raised by union officials have already been decided when the labor department upheld PAL’s planned spin-off as a valid exercise of management prerogative.During today's second conciliation meeting at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), PAL said the union’s claim that the airline management was directly negotiating with union members has no basis.
“It’s simply illogical for PAL to ‘bargain’ or even attempt to negotiate directly with individual rank-and-file workers after it has already secured a favorable decision from DOLE upholding its right to spin off and retire its workers in the process,” said PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna.
In the same manner, she said claims of Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) and union busting due to the planned spin off have already been ruled upon by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
“There is no attempt by the PAL management to ‘restrain, coerce or interfere’ with the workers’ exercise right to self organization – which are basic elements of ULP. Since DOLE already ruled that the spin off is valid and stands on solid legal grounds, the union’s claim of unfair labor practice cannot hold water,” Villaluna stressed.
Meanwhile, she said PALEA's public threat to proceed with a strike – even in the event of a possible assumption of jurisdiction over PALEA’s complaint – is a clear indication of the union's intention to ignore the rule of law. It likewise shows disrespect for the Secretary of Labor and her office which has primary jurisdiction over labor disputes, Villaluna added.
During Wednesday's (Nov. 10) public hearing at the House Committee on Labor, PALEA President Gerry Rivera openly declared the union's plan to proceed with the strike vote and stage a strike notwithstanding a possible assumption of jurisdiction order by DOLE.
"PALEA's threats to stage a strike and ignore legal processes is tantamount to ‘taking the law into one’s hands,’ which does not speak well of the organization that lodged a complaint before DOLE in the first place,” Villaluna added.
She said strike threats only serve to scare away passengers especially during the coming holiday peak season. This could push the airline into further financial difficulty which is the very reason for its planned spin off.