Palea member comes home to join protest | Inquirer News
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Palea member comes home to join protest

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 08:26 PM November 12, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—A member of the Philippine Airlines’ Employees Association (Palea) has accused the flag carrier of harassing her and her family when they were refused to board a PAL flight back to Manila from the United States last week because she was apparently on the “blacklist” of Palea members.

Bella Savellano, who claimed she and six members of her family were not allowed to board the PAL flight from Los Angeles last November 6, arrived in Manila on Saturday and vowed to rejoin Palea’s fight against contractualization.

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“It’s good to be back home even after the petty persecution I experienced in the hands of PAL. My husband and children who should have been at work and school early this week, and even my 80-year-old mother suffered from PAL’s harassment of its protesting employees,” Savellano said in a joint statement issued by Palea and Partido ng Manggagawa.

Savellano, who worked for PAL for more than 28 years, is one of some 2,400 employees protesting PAL’s outsourcing program.

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Savellano and her family flew to the US on October 19 to visit relatives in San Diego, using her employee travel benefit that was approved before the lock out.

However, on October 23, PAL issued a memo that rendered  Savellano’s return ticket useless, according to the statement.

Ian Seruelo, liaison officer of Partido Manggagawa-USA, who assisted Savellano in her fight, claimed that “the petty persecution was meant to force Savellano to accept the separation offer and sign up for the service provider which is desperately in need of skilled and experienced workers from Palea.”

Sought for comment,  PAL counsel Clara de Castro said: “Pursuant to company policies, those who committed a wrong or an infraction, to the detriment of the interests of the company, do not have a right to demand for benefits. All those involved in the September 27 wildcat strike have been required to explain as part of due process and clearance requirements but many of them never gave any explanation.”

“We condemn the violence and other harassment tactics employed by PAL against Palea. Last October 29, goons hired by PAL attacked the Palea protest camp. Now, PAL issued a memo unjustly rescinding the earned travel benefits of these employees. Clearly all of these are meant to harass protesting workers. We call on the public to continue supporting the struggle of Palea for decent jobs,” Seruelo said in a statement.

On Friday, tension rose anew between Palea members and PAL security guards as a firetruck and scores of policemen accompanied a shuttle bus of the airline  inside the In-Flight Center.

But Palea claimed that no untoward incident happened as they simply watched the bus arrive and depart from the compound.

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PAL had accused Palea of hampering the company’s operations as they continue to camp out in front of the In-Flight Center.

But Palea countered by saying that their camp was not hampering PAL operations since the In-Flight Center, which used to house the catering department, was closed and its dismissed employees were now among the protesters.

He said PAL was probably planning to use the compound to house the new catering employees outsourced from its contractor Sky Kitchen.

“Evidently PAL will allow Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen use of the IFC which means the service providers are nothing but illegal labor-only contractors,” said Palea president Gerry Rivera.

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