PALEA joins Global Day of Action for Qantas workers

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) picketed the Qantas office and Australian embassy in a show of solidarity for the embattled workers of the Australian flag carrier. “We extend the hand of solidarity to our brothers and sisters at Qantas who are for fighting for job security, decent pay and better working conditions. The struggles they are waging mirror the same demands that we are currently fighting for at PAL,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

Members of PALEA picketed the Qantas office at a building in Paseo de Roxas in Legaspi Village, Makati by 11:00 a.m. After holding a short program and chanting slogans in support of Qantas workers, the group then proceeded to the Australian embassy in the RCBC Plaza along
Ayala Ave.

The picket is in response to the Global Day of Action for Qantas employees who are facing an intransigent management bent on outsourcing and union busting. The International Transport Workers Federation, a global union federation of some 5 million workers in 155 countries, called the day of action.

Earlier today, PALEA joined Fr. Robert Reyes and other groups in a prayer rally at the Supreme Court in protest at the temporary restraining order issued against the hold order against former President Gloria Arroyo and her husband Mike Arroyo. “The Arroyos are not getting any sympathy from workers in their attempt to escape the cases of plunder and electoral fraud. It is not the Arroyos but the workers, the 99%, who are victims of injustice by the government,” Rivera explained.

In Makati, the PALEA protesters shouted “Ang laban ng Qantas ay laban ng PALEA. We are all Qantas workers.” Rivera explained that “PALEA condemns the drive by Qantas to slash labor costs, undercut labor standards and weaken job security, all in the name of competitiveness. This is a mere myth as Qantas top management has taken salary hikes while forcing sacrifices on workers.”

The Australian labor court lifted the unprecedented Qantas lockout last October 29 and gave the three Qantas unions and management 21 days to negotiate an agreement before the issue is submitted for arbitration. “The global day of action will give the Qantas unions leverage in its bargaining with management. We are saying to Qantas that the workers of the world are supporting their employees in their demands for pay and job security guarantees,” Rivera argued.

The Qantas union Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) had expressed solidarity for PALEA after some 2,400 its members were retrenched as part of a controversial outsourcing scheme that has been slammed as “a bid to demolish job security and also bust the union.”