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Old 29th Sep 2000, 04:05
  #7 (permalink)  
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Last year the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment(DOLE)declared the union strike illegal after taking more than one year reviewing the case. The DOLE is also known as the Department of Lucio (Tan) and Erap (President Estrada). Anyone who joined the strike has been ruled justly terminated by the company. Of course hard core union members disagreed and took PAL and the DOLE to court, the decision of which is now pending. No matter how the court decides, the aggrieved party gets to appeal the decision all the way to the Philippine Supreme Court. Since the goverment effectively works for Lucio Tan, guess how long that is going to take.

In the meantime the original 600 strong union is down to half its size, thanks to the scabs or crawl backs. A union is only as strong as its weakest link. Too many weak links helped Lucio Tan get exactly what he wanted which was to break the union. But he was surprised that were still pilots who chose to stick to the union, even after two years of literally starving them and their families.

Lately PAL Flight Operations came up with this scheme of Contract work. They did this for the reason that they lack experienced pilots even among the scabs. To quote one management pilot "PAL is scraping the bottom of the barrel". Surprisingly after two years they come talking to the union after denying its very existence. The reason it's "Contractual" is the pilots don't sign away the case that is pending in court, unlike the scabs who are considered "New Hires". If the union wins these pilots get back their seniority and any back wages and benefits due them. If the union loses, these pilots are assured of work without having had resorted to "scabbing". The union agreed to this scheme in order to get as many of its people back on flying status, while they wait for the courts to decide. Eventually the union hopes to go back to the way things were before Lucio Tan. Mind you, not everyone is happy with this arrangement, scabs included. Some scabs thought they had a fast track to the left seat. These contractuals just thwarted their plans. As for some union members, after two years of being out of work,it boiled down to "if the union leadership okays it, we'll do it".

I guess you have to live in this country in order to fully understand why the union agreed to this contract deal. Either that or be out of work for more than two years. Honestly, I don't know which is worse.