Palace to probe attack on striking PAL workers
Malacañang on Monday said it would investigate the recent attack by goons on protesting former workers of Philippine Airlines in Pasay City, while calling on both management and the union to “exercise sobriety.”
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte called on PAL management and the PAL Employees Association (Palea) to deal with each other with sobriety following the Oct. 29 attack that injured eight union members and resulted in the death of a bystander who got caught in the melee.
Valte called the attack “deplorable and unfortunate” and said the Palace expected a “fair and thorough investigation.”
“While we understand that emotions are running high, we call on both PAL and Palea to exercise sobriety in their dealings with each other,” Valte said in a statement.
She said the Palace was monitoring the situation through a team deployed by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to the area.
Palea members have accused PAL management of being behind the attack on their protest camp by about 50 men, but the airline denied any involvement.
The union workers were separated from the airline on Oct. 1 as part of the airlines’ outsourcing program.
Asked if the Palace should intervene following the incident, Valte said the Office of the President had already decided to uphold the outsourcing program of PAL and that the union members had already moved to question the program (in the Court of Appeals).
PAL management yesterday hit back at its former employees for “hastily laying the blame on the airline management” for last Saturday’s confrontation at the PAL Inflight Center (IFC) in Pasay City.
In particular, PAL singled out “left-leaning sectoral representatives” who had accused the airline’s management of “harassing laid-off workers.”
“Those who know nothing better than to make wild and baseless accusations against the airline should shut up and let the police do the investigative work,” PAL said in a statement.
PAL management claimed the workers were stopping their catering trucks from entering and leaving the inflight center.
PAL lamented the absence of police at the protest site, especially when one of the company’s trucks was blocked by the protesters, but who “conveniently arrested” someone who claimed to have been hired by PAL management to disperse its former employees’ camp.
“Worse, authorities were reportedly unable to apprehend those responsible for the death of a hapless bystander,” PAL said.
As for the stench reportedly emanating from its inflight center, PAL said the protesting former PAL workers had only themselves to blame for the problem.
“They won’t allow our trucks to leave the facility. Even a garbage truck from Pasay City’s waste management office was prevented by protesters from picking up garbage unless these were brought to the IFC gate,” the airline said. “And now they complain that the area stinks? Let them have a dose of their own medicine.”
The airline also responded to accusations that it had refused to provide protesting former workers with free tickets, saying that “PAL reserves the right to refuse conveyance to those who make false and malicious claims that the airline is unsafe, and whose ultimate goal is to bring down the company.”
Meanwhile, the airline said that its staffers based in its North America regional office in San Francisco had denounced the picket staged on Oct. 27 by American unionists in the Bay Area in support of dismissed PAL workers in Manila.
According to the PAL statement, the San Francisco-based PAL union members expressed collective support for the airline’s efforts at normalizing operations after the implementation of its outsourcing program on Oct. 1.
In a signed manifesto, 10 US-based PAL unionists rejected calls to join the Oct. 27 picket held in front of the Philippine consulate led by members of the Burlingame, California-based International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
“We do not approve of such a demonstration and refuse to participate,” union steward Danilo Mirabucao was quoted as saying in reply to the group’s invitation letter. “In these hard and difficult economic times, let us not aggravate the situation with noisy and disruptive demonstrations.”
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