Harassment, Palea says of criminal raps
The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (Palea) on Thursday branded as harassment the filing of criminal charges against its members by the flag carrier over actions against airline staff and service providers more than a week ago.
“PAL is using the courts to bully our members into submission. The filing of charges left and right is meant to coerce Palea members to avail of the separation package and to apply as contractuals in Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen which are gravely in need of the trained expertise of these workers,” said Gerry Rivera, Palea president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa, in a statement.
PAL on Wednesday filed charges of grave coercion against 41 former employees in the Pasay City prosecutor’s office.
Thursday, the airline management in a statement urged Palea to stop making excuses and just answer the charges.
“Protesting workers continue to claim harassment when photos and videos don’t lie. On Oct. 29, they were at the PAL In-flight Center, armed to the teeth and blocking PAL’s truck, and yet they claim they’re the ones being harassed?”
As for the separation package, PAL said it was not forcing, much less coercing, any of its separated workers to pick up their checks.
“It’s their separation money, not PAL’s. If they don’t want to get it, it’s their choice. Lastly, Palea’s claim that PAL is forcing protesters to apply with its service providers is another blatant lie. PAL and its service providers are clearly not eager or even dreaming of taking troublemakers back into the company,” the airline said.
Palea, however, expressed confidence the charges against its members would be dismissed for lack of merit.
“All the incidents at the protest camp arose out of and involved the labor dispute between PAL and Palea and, thus, jurisdiction properly resides in the National Labor Relations Commission or the Department of Labor,” Rivera said.
PAL charged that on Sept. 28, Palea members began a blockade of the PAL In-flight Center on MIA Road in Pasay City to protest the flag carrier’s new outsourcing program that cost them their jobs. The facility houses the airline’s cabin services department and in-flight kitchens where meals for all PAL flights are prepared.
Things came to a head on Oct. 29 when Palea members blocked an exiting truck with fire, nails and another vehicle.
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