LABOR Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz upheld the order of former acting labor secretary Romeo Lagman denying the motion for reconsideration of the ground crew union of the Philippine Airlines.
This means that DoLE is allowing PAL to lay off 3,000 of its employees.
“We find the outsourcing of services and closure of the Inflight Catering, Airport Services, and Call Center Reservation Operations in Philippine Airlines to be a just, reasonable, humane, and lawful exercise of its management prerogative to reorganize the corporate structure for purposes of viability of its operations, subject to entitlement,” said the order dated Oct. 29.
Baldoz’s ruling provides an additional gratuity of P50,000 for every employee and 125 percent separation pay. They are also entitled to convert their unused vacation and sick leaves to cash.
The PAL Employees’ Association meanwhile hit Baldoz’s decision.
“The Department of Labor and Employment’s go signal for the retrenchment of half of the workforce means the death of job security at Philippine Airlines,” said PALEA president and vice chairman of the Partido ng Manggagawa Gerry Rivera.
He said they will appeal the decision before the Court of Appeals. He added that they plan to hold a protest rally at the DoLE office in Intramuros to denounce Baldoz’s order.
Rivera said Baldoz disregarded the union’s arguments and reiterated PAL’s contention that it must outsource work to service providers so it can be financially viable.
“The order is not a win-win solution. It is simply management’s slightly improved offer disguised as DoLE’s decision,” he said.
Rivera said the order allows the contractualization at PAL via a retrench-rehire scheme. He said PAL will retrench 3,000 regular workers then rehire them as contractuals by service providers partly owned by Lucio Tan.
“The loss of 3,000 regular jobs cannot be compensated by the creation of 3,000 new contractual positions. Baldoz’s decision released on the eve of All Souls’ Day is symbolic for it will conjure up 3,000 zombie positions which will have cheaper wages, fewer benefits, no security of tenure, and no protection by a union,” he said.