Thursday, October 13, 2011

President Aquino criticized over PAL issue

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 13, 2011) – The Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno lambasted President Benigno Aquino for allegedly siding with billionaire Lucio Tan, who owns Philippine Air Lines, following the High Court’s reversal on earlier ruling favoring some 1,400 flight attendants retrenched by the national flag carrier.

The Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) also criticized the decision. In 2008, the Supreme Court sided with FASAP after it declared as illegal the retrenchment of flight attendants and ordered the air lines to reinstate the employees in subsequent decisions.

The Supreme Court admitted to have erred on the decision and denied reports that PAL pressured it to rule in favor of the air lines. Edwin Lacierda, Aquino’s spokesman, said it would be up to the Supreme Court to explain its decision to recall its previous ruling on FASAP.

The Kilusang Mayo Uno accused the Aquino government of colluding with the PAL owner.

“Lacierda’s statement is essentially a thumb up to the High Tribunal’s decision. The Aquino government only wants to appear critical of the process by which the SC reversed the decision. It is not by any means critical of the decision itself,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice-chairperson.

“The Aquino government is affirming the message of the SC’s turnaround: that justice in this country is only for big capitalists like Lucio Tan and not for Filipino workers. It is showing workers across the country that the government will not be on our side on labor disputes, especially the big ones,” he added.

The High Court’s decision drew criticisms from various groups, especially because it was made on the basis of a mere letter which showed the error in the earlier ruling because of technicality from PAL lawyer Estelito Mendoza.

“Lucio Tan has been winning court cases since Noynoy Aquino became president. It’s clear that the Aquino government is siding with big capitalists on labor disputes. This is a bad sign for workers not just in Tan’s companies but across the country,” Ustarez said.

“Never did the Aquino government waver in supporting PAL’s contractualization via outsourcing scheme. This, despite the fact that more than 2,600 workers are affected and the case has severe implications on Filipino workers in general,” he added.

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