Published: August 4, 2012
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno expressed today its support for 241 Philippine Airlines workers facing criminal charges in relation to their September 2011 protest against massive layoffs, saying the charges were filed to harass workers who are fighting for their rights.
KMU condemned the charges, filed by the PAL management, which could mean one year to two years of imprisonment or a P50,000 to P500,000 fine, or both, for the PAL workers.
Last June 20, Pasay City Assistant Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Cabalum recommended the workers’ indictment for violating Section 81 (b) (5) of Republic Act 9497 which prohibits the destruction or damaging of airport facilities or the disruption of airport services.
“Instead of heeding the PAL workers’ call against contractualization via outsourcing, the PAL management is harassing workers who are fighting for their job security,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“What is happening in PAL is a labor dispute, and the workers’ actions should not be treated as ordinary crimes. The prosecutor should stop meddling in the case and muddling the issue,” he added.
“Workers have every right to hold protests when they are being removed from work by the thousands,” he said.
PAL workers filed a petition before the Department of Justice last Friday seeking a reversal of the criminal charges.
“The Aquino government should immediately junk the criminal charges against the PAL workers. It’s the least it could do after allowing and helping implement the massive layoff in PAL,” Labog said.
“Through the PAL workers’ case, the Aquino government has shown that it sides with big capitalists when it comes to massive layoffs and contractualization,” he said.
“Now, the Aquino government wants to use the PAL workers’ case to show that it will not allow workers to exercise their right to protest anti-worker policies,” he added.
KMU condemned the Aquino government for repeatedly taking the side of business tycoon Lucio Tan on the labor dipute in the country’s flag-carrier.