IT IS the State’s duty to accord “full protection to labor, and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all.” It is also its duty to entitle workers with “security of tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage.”

But with the course of happenings between the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (Palea) and its management, it seems like provisions of the Constitution have been set aside.

Following a nod from no other than the Office of the President and the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), Philippine Airlines (PAL) continued with its plan to contract out its in-flight catering operations, airport services, and call center reservation operations.

Effective October 1, the spin-off terminated some 2, 600 employees and deprived them their rights to a regular and decent job.

It appears to me that the supposed defenders of disputed and unfair practices of labor are taking the cudgels of the flag carrier’s owner, Lucio Tan, ignoring the workers’ call for justice, or at the very least, reconsideration of rulings.

PAL’s outsourcing scheme is not parallel to the company’s current financial status, its income for the previous year being over P3 billion, an amount that can cover their agreement with Palea until 2013. Clearly, this does not justify the mass termination and only entails grave abuse of management’s discretion and prerogative.

This only provides clear illustration of a capitalist and tactic to ignore or violate labor rights. Management in fact decided to “lock out” workers from their respective work stations last Sept. 28, way ahead the scheduled termination.

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In a recently published report, Palea pointed out that their CBA “prohibits PAL from contracting out the functions and positions performed and held by regular employees.”

Moreover, according to a certification released by Dolelast Sept. 7, the tapped third-party service providers namely, Sky Kitchen, Sky Logistics, and SPi Global Holdings, “are not registered as ‘contractor or subcontractor’ under Department Order No. 18.”

PAL must realize that this strategy only proved to be futile and premature as it puts the quality of service and security of passengers at stake, given that those who will be filling the posts left by the appealing employees lack proper training and experience.

***

The exhaustion brought by flying for almost 18 hours is very exorbitant that finding havoc in the airport before departure or upon arrival is too much to take in. Fortunately, no PAL aircraft flies to Europe that I won’t need to suffer the discomfort in the Terminal 2.

The stress-free ambience of my airline’s terminal and the aircraft itself greatly contributed to my productivity in covering a UST Quadricentennial event at the Unesco House. (See story on page one)

Having been sent to another country to cover a special occasion for the University is, so far, the biggest ‘break’ and opportunity handed to me as a campus journalist, that I think it is proper to give thanks to whom gratitude is due.

I am deeply thankful to our publications adviser Joselito Zulueta and Office for Public Affairs Director Giovanna Fontanilla, who entrusted to me the media coverage of the three-day exhibition for the Varsitarian and the University. Also to National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose, for the most appreciated favor he granted, and Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., Rector of UST, for the support given to the Varsitarian’s endeavors.

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