Nov 5, 2011
MANILA — Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemned today business groups’ statement of support for the Philippine Airlines management whose treatment of an ongoing labor dispute hasreportedly turned violent last week. “The employers’ groups are overreacting to so-called illegal acts committed by PAL workers to hide from view the PAL management’s long record of abuses against workers,” said the KMU in a statement.
Business groups Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) and Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCI) recently released statements calling on the Aquino government to “enforce the law” on PAL premises, where retrenched workers are holding a picket to protest layoff and contractualization.
“What about Lucio Tan’s long record of abuses against the workers of PAL? The leaders of the three business groups are making noise about PAL workers’ alleged illegal acts while keeping silent on the PAL management’s long list of anti-worker policies,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“As workers who champion strikes as workers’ potent weapon against capitalists, we have repeatedly seen capitalists fabricate stories of workers’ so-called illegal acts to call on the government to suppress our ranks. We believe that this is what’s happening in PAL right now,” he added.
KMU said the business groups have through the years kept silent on the PAL management’s fire-and-rehire scheme when this was implemented on PAL’s pilots, flight attendants and ground employees.
“We vehemently condemn this call for nothing less than outright repression against the workers of PAL. We have serious reservations about the leadership of the PAL workers’ union but we stand firmly with the workers of PAL in their fight against massive layoff, contractualization and repression,” Labog said.
Irresponsible business elites
“The business groups’ statements display how irresponsible the country’s big capitalists, who lead these business groups, really are. They are imbued with a profit-first, me-first attitude that is detrimental to the country’s workers and poor people,” Labog said.
The labor center said the country’s biggest capitalists have pressed down workers’ wages and promoted contractual employment schemes.
“It is capitalist greed which is the target of the Occupy protests in the US. In the coming weeks, we will continue with our protests against the greed of big capitalists in the country, which has worsened hunger and poverty here,” Labog said.
“We are calling on the workers and poor people to rise up for a significant wage hike and for the junking of contractual employment schemes. We simply cannot rely on capitalists to at least show some compassion for us,” he added.