Motion on Philippine Airlines dispute


We regret that comrade Gerry Rivera was unable to attend the Revolution and Internationalism in the 21st century Conference. We note the recent attempt by the management of Philippine Airlines to escalate its dispute with the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA). The Revolutionary Socialist Party wishes to express its solidarity and support for the PALEA and the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) in its struggle against these insidious attempts to cut workers pay and conditions through the outsourcing and casualisation of the workforce.

We have been following the dispute with great interest and concern here in Australia. It is clear that the Philippine Airlines’ proposals to contract out core operations such as catering represents a threat to thousands of workers’ jobs. These actions are motivated by management’s attempts to boost profits at workers’ expense. The insidious practice of outsourcing attacks the rights of workers employed within firms with recognised standards of pay and conditions. The competition for lower priced services between other firms often involves these or other workers being employed in poorer conditions and with less pay. It is nothing more than a profit- motivated and thinly disguised attack on workers’ conditions.

We are pleased that some reprieve was won in the Philippine Airlines struggle when Labour and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz ordered the management temporarily to desist in its attacks on workers’ condition on April 1. Yet, it is clear that the Philippine Airlines’ recent attempts to outsource regular jobs to MacroAsia is simply a backdoor implementation of its more extensive contractualisation plan. These positions should be filled by workers on an ongoing basis directly employed by Philippine Airlines.

It is therefore also becoming clearer that the Aquino regime is not fundamentally different from the previous governments that have failed to defend the rights of working people and continued elite rule in the Philippines.

We note the important role that Philippine trade unions have played in the region in people’s struggles and salute their courage and consistent internationalism. The Philippine workers struggle against the Marcos dictatorship and subsequent regimes is a source of inspiration throughout the world.

We are standing by and ready to initiate actions in collaboration with our friends in the Australian trade union movement in solidarity with PALEA and PM’s struggle for workers rights. The RSP and militant workers in Australia are with you in your struggle at this important time.

[Adopted by acclamation at the Marxist Education Conference held in Brisbane on June 11-13.]

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