PAL union wants to talk to new owner

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05:23 AM April 22nd, 2012

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By: Philip C. Tubeza, April 22nd, 2012 05:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines—The ground crew union of Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Saturday urged the flag carrier’s new management to reinstate some 2,600 workers that were laid off last year.

In a manifestation filed in the Court of Appeals, the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (Palea) said it was willing to participate in new mediation talks to settle the long-running and bitter labor dispute.

San Miguel Corp., the country’s biggest food and beverage conglomerate, last week took over management of the beleaguered flag carrier from the Lucio Tan group after a $500 million buy-in that gave SMC 49 percent of PAL Holdings.

“The new management of PAL should recognize that the solution to the flag carrier’s woes involves not only the refleeting of its aging aircraft but more so the reinstatement of its skilled regular workers,” said Gerry Rivera, Palea president.

In a resolution on March 27, the appellate court’s 10th Division asked the parties in the labor dispute if they were willing to have the case referred to the Philippine Mediation Center-Court of Appeals for “a final opportunity to explore the possibility of coming up with an amicable settlement of their dispute.”

The tribunal gave the parties 10 days from receipt of the resolution to file their manifestations.

“Palea considers the CA’s mediation offer as an opening to end the labor row,” said Rivera.

Palea members have been picketing PAL offices for more than six months. Earlier, Malacañang and the Department of Labor and Employment had approved the PAL management’s retrenchment move.

“The resolution further spurs us to continue the protest actions until we have finally won our demands,” Rivera said. With a report from Tina G. Santos

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