PALEA to Contest Labor Dept. Ruling

Files reconsideration to decision

June 21, 2010

The Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) is not about to give up the fight against its employer Philippine Airlines and now the government as the labor union of the country's flag carrier intends to alleviate its case to the court seeking a reversal of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ruling that allowed management to outsource some of its present services, resulting to the mass layoff of some 3,000 employees.

Acting Labor Secretary Romeo Lagman upheld the planned PAL spinoff as a valid exercise of management prerogative.

"We are ready to elevate the case up to the Supreme Court. We maintain that contracting out is illegal," Gerry Rivera, PALEA president said Monday.

Rivera said they will first file a motion for reconsideration on or before June 28 as they are required to exhaust all administrative remedies before the court can entertain their case.

"DoLE's decision is not yet final and executory," said Rivera.

PALEA is also planning to file a restraining order in court of the company's decision to retrench should the labor department uphold its ruling.

Philippine Airlines announced the spin-off of its in-flight catering services; airport services, including ground handling, cargo terminal/cargo handling and ramp handling; and call center reservations starting June 1 to implement the next phase of its restructuring program, but the company was prevented by DOLE from implementing its decision pending results of compulsory arbitration.

PAL President Jaime Bautista said restructuring these operations are crucial to the company's survival amid increasing competition particularly from low cost airlines.

Rivera argued that Lagman's June 15 order is faulty on both substantial and procedural grounds.

"It failed to consider the PAL-PALEA collective bargaining agreement's provision, prohibiting the outsourcing of jobs that are being performed by regular employees."

He said that the case has not been submitted for resolution, "and the order came only four working days after PALEA filed a motion for the production of certain documents, such as PAL's latest financial statement and its outsourcing contracts with service providers."

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