The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) has this week congratulated Philippine Airlines (PAL) on opening talks with its employees’ union, PALEA. The airline also received the go ahead this week to resume flights to European Union countries.
Eduardo Chagas, ETF general secretary, welcomed PAL president Ramon Ang’s efforts to end the PAL/PALEA dispute. The dispute has been running since 2010, when PAL first attempted to outsource the work of 2,400 ground staff in a race to the bottom bid to minimise spending.
This is a tremendous breakthrough for ETF and ITF, which have long campaigned for the rights of PAL employees to be respected. The letter also marks an upturn in PAL’s fortunes, with news this week that PAL is the first Filipino airline to regain the right to run direct flights to European destinations after making improvements to its health and safety standards.
In his letter, Chagas stated that ITF and ETF PAL campaigns are on “temporary stand-by while the negotiations continue”, and that while the European Commission’s (EC) reversal of its ban is welcome, the new flights and routes PAL intend to fly will require extra staff. Chagas further urged Ang to use his influence to accelerate PAL and PALEA talks to come to a full and fair settlement.
ITF delegates at the June 2013 Asia Pacific conference restated their strong support for PALEA members. At the time, ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho promised the full support of all ITFaffiliates to use whatever legal means necessary to ensure justice was done for PALEA. In an updated statement, Mocho said: “While we are pleased to see PAL have finally agreed to talk with PALEA, we are on standby to take urgent action to protect the rights of PALEA workers if necessary.”