PALEA Paralyses PAL

Terminal 2 in Chaos



September 28, 2011

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) was forced to suspend almost all flights yesterday after the airline employees went on wild-cat strike starting at 7:00 AM to protest the impending termination of 2,600 workers effective Friday, September 30, to implement the outsourcing program design to save the company  $15 million in annual operating costs.

PAL sent termination notices to its in-flight catering, ground airport services and call center reservations last month, providing them with alternate plan to join the outsourcing operation of third party service providers. PALEA said the conditions of the new jobs are far inferior to what the airline offered.

At least 172 departing domestic and international flights were paralyzed on the ground. Earlier arrivals from Guam via PR111 which arrived at 7:15 a.m. yesterday were disgusted after learning that they could not retrieve their luggage at the carousel area due to the absence of baggage retrievers and loaders. Consequently, PAL flights arriving from Seoul (PR 467) and Tokyo (PR 431) were transferred to NAIA Terminal 1 in coordination with the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

“We apologize for the actions of our employees. Those who would like to rebook or refund their tickets can proceed to PAL ticket offices free of charge,” PAL President Jaime Bautista said yesterday.

Bautista said some 14,000 passengers were affected by the sudden cancellation of the flights Tuesday morning. This includes 8,500 passengers on domestic flights and 5,500 on international flights.

“This morning, about 300 PAL ground workers on duty at the airport suddenly refused to perform their official functions in the ramp, check-in counters and catering areas. Our lawyers are preparing the appropriate charges to be filed against these erring workers,” Bautista said.

PAL officials said the employees of the new service providers would take over the posts vacated by the PALEA members and normal operations are expected to resume today at NAIA Terminal 2.

PALEA members were given up to 4:30 p.m. to leave their post by PAL and security officials but the workers continued with the protest action prompting the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-ASG) with the support of NAIA Airport security guards to pull out one by one members of the protesting PALEA union who refused to vacate their post at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the company’s management cancelled the flights after members of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) refused to work.

“Our workers walked out of their jobs and these include the airport services staff in charge of checking in and boarding passengers, as well as those in the catering services,” Villaluna said.

Villaluna said the work stoppage started at 6:50 a.m. when load controllers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 walked out of their posts.

The load controllers are in charge of determining a plane's weight and balance, she said.


At 7:15 a.m., the personnel at the counter area stopped their work, she said.

PAL intended to resume flight beginning at 6 p.m. for PR145 bound for Iloilo but was eventually cancelled due to some technical problems on the ground.

The airline was able to deploy two (2) US-bound flights, three (3) regional and two (2) domestic flights late last night up to early Wednesday morning.

The flights mounted last night were:
Manila-Davao (PR821)
Manila-Kalibo (PR239)
Manila-Hong Kong (PR310)
Manila-Bangkok (PR732)
Manila-Los Angeles (PR102)
Manila-San Francisco (PR104)
Manila-Jakarta (PR535).  

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz immediately sent a team to initiate a conciliation meeting and resolve the labor dispute but the conciliation talks failed to reach any agreement during a DOLE-initiated conciliation meeting .

“It has been determined during the conciliation meeting that the issue between the two parties was the spin off program, which has already been decided upon by DOLE and is now pending before the Court of Appeals,” Baldoz disclosed.

“This means that the case is already beyond DOLE, thus we can no longer assume jurisdiction over the case nor intervene over the dispute,” Baldoz added.

Baldoz said that at this time, the strike is now under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and that new personnel could be deployed to take over the functions of those who went on strike.

Unless the striking employees could secure a restraining order, Baldoz said, PAL management can legally start the implementation of the outsourcing program by Friday.

Gerry Rivera, PALEA president, said they opted to go on strike after getting information that PAL management has started hiring new workers to replace those to be affected by the outsourcing or spin-off program.

“Starting last week, even before the effectivity date of the termination on Friday, PAL has been employing scabs and displacing regular employees. PAL has pushed us to the wall. We are left with no choice but to hold this protest action,” Rivera said.

On Tuesday morning, PAL issued a memo to all employees affected by the outsourcing, stating that they will be considered "official off-duty" with pay until September 30. This means the affected employees no longer need to report to work, but will still get their salary.

"PALEA has decided to act now instead of waiting for the onslaught of the outsourcing typhoon on Friday. This is the mother of all protests against layoff and contractualization.  Nobody will go home and we will not back down until our demand for job security is met," added Rivera.

Rivera said the workers decided to stage the protest action earlier than the scheduled start of the outsourcing program on Friday.

PALEA maintained that PAL could not yet implement the spin-off program because the union has a pending motion for reconsideration at the Court of Appeals.

“We don’t understand why the management still insists on implementing the spin-off despite our pending case at the CA. We will continue with this demonstration until the PAL management agrees to withdraw the spin-off,” PALEA said in a statement.

Thousands of departing passengers bound for Beijing, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, General Santos City, Cagayan, Tacloban, Cebu and Davao were stranded after PAL employees at the airline counters were made empty by the striking workers.

PALEA said its members reported for work as early as 6 a.m. but they refused to refuel airplanes or unload cargo and luggage of arriving and departing passengers.

Passengers from PR111 from Guam that arrived at 7:15 a.m. yesterday were disgusted after learning that they could not retrieve their luggage at the carousel area due to the absence of baggage retrievers and loaders.

PAL transferred their 90 Hong Kong bound passengers to Cathay Pacific flight CX900 while another 100 passengers were booked on the next available flight.

PAL also announced yesterday that all passengers of flights going to and coming from Melbourne and Sydney in Australia would temporarily depart and arrive at the NAIA Terminal 1 (old terminal) starting Sept. 28 to Oct. 15, 2011 on board PR209/210 and PR211/212.

Two other PAL flights to the US would also move to terminal 1 but company officials are still looking for possible counters and boarding gates for their Los Angeles and San Francisco flights.

PAL already set up remote city check-in counters for their passengers with connecting domestic flights who arrive at NAIA l.

Passengers checking in at these remote counters shall be issued boarding passes and shuttled to NAIA Terminal 2 in air-conditioned buses. Priority will be given to those with no check-in luggage.


 *   *   *

Flights Schedule for 28 September 2011

PAL will operate selected domestic and international flights listed below. For passengers with cancelled flights, please call PAL reservations at (632) 855-8888 for rebookings, flight changes and refunds.

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

FLIGHT NUMBERESTIMATED TIME OF DEPARTUREROUTE
PR847
PR848
0600H
0805H
MNL CEB
CEB MNL
PR291
PR292
0700H
0845H
MNL DGT
DGT MNL
PR321
PR322
0855H
1025H
MNL KLO
KLO MNL
PR811
PR812
0900H
1150H
MNL DVO
DVO MNL
PR853
PR854
0900H
1110H
MNL CEB
CEB MNL
PR323
PR324
1330H
1500H
MNL KLO
KLO MNL
PR293
PR294
1340H
1530H
MNL DGT
DGT MNL
PR849
PR850
1530H
1740H
MNL CEB
CEB MNL
PR813
PR814
1530H
1820H
MNL DVO
DVO MNL

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

FLIGHT NUMBERESTIMATED TIME OF DEPARTUREROUTE
PR896
PR897
0720H
1100H
MNL TPE
TPE MNL
PR300
PR301
0800H
1100H
MNL HKG
HKG MNL
PR438
PR437
1330H
0930H (+1 day)
MNL NGO
NGO MNL
PR408
PR407
1425H
0955H
MNL KIX
KIX MNL
PR432
PR431
1430H
0930H (+1 day)
MNL NRT
NRT MNL
PR306
PR307
1450H
1800H
MNL HKG
HKG MNL
PR116
PR117
1850H
2340H (+1 day)
MNL YVR
YVR MNL
PR102
PR103
2200H
2235H
MNL LAX
LAX MNL
PR104
PR105
2230H
2230H
MNL SFO
SFO MNL



*   *    *
Flights Schedule for 29 September 2011

TERMINAL 3

Domestic
- PR189 Manila-Roxas ETD 0530H
- PR190 Roxas-Manila ETA 0800H
- PR281 Manila-Cagayan de Oro ETD 0600H
- PR282 Cagayan de Oro-Manila ETA 0920H
- PR175 Manila-Tagbilaran ETD 0850H
- PR176 Tagbilaran-Manila ETA 1200H
- PR141 Manila-Iloilo ETD 1250H
- PR142 Iloilo-Manila ETA 1435H
- PR391 Manila-Tacloban  ETD 1010H
- PR392 Tacloban-Manila  ETA 1315H
- PR197 Manila-Puerto Princesa ETD 1600H
- PR198 Puerto Princesa-Manila ETA 1905H

Passengers are advised to look for PAL-designated counters / PAL signages at Terminal 3. Free shuttle buses are stationed at Terminal 2 to ferry passengers Terminal 3.

 TERMINAL 2

International - PR466 Manila-Incheon ETD 0300H
- PR467 Incheon-Manila ETA                                                    
- PR358 Manila-Beijing ETD 0720H
- PR359 Beijing-Manila ETA 1740H
- PR896 Manila-Taipei ETD 0720H
- PR899 Taipei-Manila ETA 1930H
- PR334 Manila-Xiamen ETD 0740H
- PR335 Xiamen-Manila ETA 1325H
- PR300 Manila-Hong Kong ETD 0800H
- PR301 Hong Kong-Manila ETA 1315H
- PR426 Manila-Fukuoka ETD 1020H
- PR425 Fukuoka-Manila ETA 1830H
- PR730 Manila-Bangkok ETD 1025H
- PR731 Bangkok-Manila ETA 1820H
- PR336 Manila-Shanghai ETD 1130H
- PR337 Shanghai-Manila ETA 1930H
- PR438 Manila-Nagoya ETD 1330H
- PR437 Nagoya-Manila ETA 1245H (next day)
- PR408 Manila-Osaka ETD 1425H
- PR407 Osaka-Manila ETA 1305H (next day)
- PR432 Manila-Narita ETD 1430H
- PR431 Narita-Manila ETA 1310H (next day)
- PR468 Manila-Incheon ETD 1430H
- PR469 Incheon-Manila ETA 2340H
- PR306 Manila-Hong Kong ETD 1450H
- PR307 Hong Kong-Manila ETA 2005H
- PR100 Manila-Honolulu ETD 1520H
- PR101 Honolulu-Manila ETA 1435H (next day)
- PR106 Manila-Vancouver-Las Vegas ETD 1640H
- PR107 Las Vegas-Vancouver-Manila ETA 0430H (01Oct)
- PR209 Manila-Melbourne-Sydney ETD 2100H
- PR210 Sydney-Manila ETA 1720H (next day)
- PR102 Manila-Los Angeles ETD 2200H
- PR103 Los Angeles-Manila ETA 0605H (01Oct)
- PR104 Manila-San Francisco ETD 2230H
- PR105 San Francisco-Manila ETA 0540H (01 Oct)

Domestic
- PR811 Manila-Davao ETD 0900H
- PR812 Davao-Manila ETA 1340H
- PR853 Manila-Cebu ETD 0900H
- PR854 Cebu-Manila ETA 1230H
- PR226 Manila-Laoag ETD 0950H
- PR227 Laoag-Manila ETA 1230H
- PR861 Manila-Cebu ETD 1245H
- PR849 Manila-Cebu ETD 1530H
- PR850 Cebu-Manila ETA 1900H
- PR813 Manila-Davao ETD 1530H
- PR814 Davao-Manila ETA 2010H

All other PAL flights not included in the list are CANCELLED until further notice.

2 comments:

  1. Update

    More Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights were cancelled Wednesday, due to lack of qualified equipment operators to replace workers that walked out and were forbidden by management to return back.

    The airline’s said that they can't load and unload anything to the plane because the loading equipments were intentionally disabled Tuesday.

    PAL spokesman Cielo Villaluna said 62 domestic at 40 international flights remain cancelled as of 6 P.M.

    She said equipment such as pushback tractors, tow-tugs and deck loaders were all “made inoperable.”

    To the airline’s surprise, many pieces of equipment were found to be damaged or disabled intentionally by PALEA members before leaving the airport’s premises, Villaluna said.

    “That seems to be the assessment of the airport services department. They believe this is the handiwork of the PALEA group,” she said.

    PALEA denied the allegation.

    PALEA president Gerry Rivera said that fault was due to improper operations of the equipment by untrained personnel who replaced striking workers last night.

    The door of an Airbus A340 with aircraft ID 3430 was damaged when a reliever who was an unlicensed PAL staff misused the airstep, PALEA said. “This accident reveals the dangers of inexperienced contractual employees at work. We know that passengers were inconvenienced by the protest but they should understand that airline safety and efficiency is ensured by regular not contractual labor,” Rivera said.

    PAL was forced to bring in the three service providers Sky Kitchen, Sky Logistics and SPi Global Holdings, on Wednesday to replace the PALEA staff, who are now considered on leave with pay until Oct. 1, 2011—the end of their employment contracts.

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