Troubles and Truths

Fortune Tobacco employees also wary of possible layoffs

Fortune Tobacco employees 'restive' over job prospects
Posted at 11/10/2010 10:34 PM Updated as of 11/11/2010 1:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The labor union of cigarette maker Fortune Tobacco has expressed anxiousness over potential job losses that ground and flight crew at Philippine Airlines also face following corporate reorganization.

Fortune Tobacco and Philippine Airlines are both controlled by Filipino-Chinese typan Lucio Tan.

"By closely watching the recent developments in PAL, FTLU (Fortune Tobacco Labor Union) members are getting restless over the 'general pattern' created with PAL's journey into the world of contractualization," former FTLU president Renato Magtubo said in a statement on Wednesday.

He was referring to the planned spin-off of PAL's three non-core businesses that would result in about 2,600 job losses, a move that the Labor Department recently allowed as part of "management's preprogative" to save costs.

Early this year, Fortune Tobacco formed a joint venture with multinational cigarette maker Philip Morris Philippines Inc. creating an entity that cornered about 90% of the Philippine cigarette market.

Before the joint venture, Fortune Tobacco was the market leader, cornering the middle and low-end segment of the market.

FTLU said their members are "getting restive" as Fortune Tobacco also "embarks on major reorganization, which threatens the job security of its more than 2,000 workers."

3 big labor groups fighting PAL ruling

Cite ‘clear danger to labor rights’
By Philip Tubeza, Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:03:00 11/11/2010
Filed Under: Air Transport, Labour dispute, Spin-offs, Justice & Rights, business process outsourcing (BPO)

MANILA, Philippines-Saying there was a "clear and present danger to labor rights," the country’s biggest labor groups have set aside their differences to ask President Benigno Aquino III to reverse the labor department’s ruling allowing the retrenchment of 2,600 workers of Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Various labor groups, numbering about 16-from the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) to the moderate Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)-have joined hands in protesting Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’s decision allowing the retrenchment, Gerry Rivera, PAL Employees’ Association (PALEA) president, said Wednesday.

"We call on the government to take notice of this historic solidarity of the full spectrum of the labor movement to defend regular jobs and to fight labor contractualization," said Rivera, who is also the vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

In a decision promulgated on Oct. 29, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) gave PAL the green light to proceed with the layoff of 2,600 employees to pave the way for outsourcing services.

Baldoz said contracting out services and closing down PAL’s in-flight catering, airport services and call center reservation operations were lawful.

"It is not too late for Malacañang to intervene in the PAL labor row in the interest of safeguarding constitutionally mandated workers’ rights in the face of corporate restructuring," Rivera said.

Dangerous decision

At a gathering on Monday in Quezon City, leaders of the TUCP, KMU, PM and the Alliance of Progressive Labor and other labor groups agreed on a statement of solidarity with PALEA.

They also condemned the Baldoz ruling as a "clear and present danger to labor rights and may be the last nail on the coffin of job security."

"This decision is dangerous because it sets aside the PAL-PALEA collective bargaining agreement where it is clearly stated that contracting out the work of regular employees is prohibited," the unity statement said.

The statement also said that the Baldoz ruling "disregards our jurisprudence and laws and lays out the conditions for the retrenchment of workers even in companies that claim to be losing money."

Fight of all workers

The statement said the decision would open the door for widespread contractualization. "This could be the last nail on the coffin of job security in our country," it warned.

"That is why... this is not just a fight of PAL employees. It is also the fight of all Filipino workers. Employers, however big or small, would be emboldened to follow PAL (if Baldoz’s ruling is upheld)," it added.

As a result of the Baldoz ruling, regular employees will be removed and replaced by contractual workers who have lesser pay and benefits and have no job security and union protection, the labor groups said.


PAL said its plan to cut 2,600 jobs to reduce costs was necessary for the flag carrier’s survival in the competitive aviation industry.

Cebu groups back PAL union

By Carine M. Asutilla, ABS-CBN Cebu
Posted at 11/11/2010 5:25 PM Updated as of 11/11/2010 5:55 PM

MANILA, Philippines - More than 20 labor groups in the Visayas pledged their support to the ground crew employees of local carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Representatives from different labor and militant groups met with the members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) in Cebu to formally support the union, which is gearing up for a series of protest actions starting Friday.

Joe Tomongha of the Association of Progressive Labor (APL) said that PALEA was battling against contractualization, a problem that labor groups in Cebu share.

Ronald Sitoy of the Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya said that their unity was a message to the government that contractualization should be scrapped. Sitoy said the government should treat workers fairly and give them what is due to them.

For his part, Dennis Darige of the Partido ng Manggagawa said they will launch their own protest actions in front of the regional office of Department of Labor and Employment in Cebu. Some 300 PALEA members will attend their rallies until November 30. He clarified though that there will be no work stoppage for PAL workers.

The officials of PALEA are all in Manila, calling for the House Labor Committee to investigate the ownership of the so-called third party service providers contracted by PAL to take over its airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations.

PALEA is protesting PAL's planned outsourcing, which would require the laying off of some 2,600 workers.

The union filed a formal notice of strike at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board despite a recent P2.5 billion settlement offer by the PAL management to the affected employees.

This was PALEA’s second strike notice after the one filed in January.

The Lucio Tan-led airline has a separate labor issue with the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines, which cited discrimination as ground for considering a strike.

Erap: Davide appointment as SC chief a favor for Lucio Tan

07/06/2010 10:55 PM

The appointment of Hilario Davide Jr. as chief justice in 1998 was done as a favor for business tycoon Lucio Tan, former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada bared in a radio interview Tuesday.

Estrada, who got more than 9 million votes in the May 10 presidential race despite his conviction for plunder, also assailed Davide’s recent appointment as head of an independent body that will investigate unresolved controversies in the Arroyo administration.

"Ang totoo, noong ako ay presidente inimbitahan ako ni Lucio Tan sa penthouse niya sa hotel niya. Sabi niya magdi-dinner lang kami. Inimbita lang ako. Pero pagpasok ko sa penthouse, nandoon na si Chief Justice Davide. Iyan (Tan) ang lumakad para ma-promote iyan at maging chief justice," said Estrada in a dzMM interview.

(When I was President Lucio Tan invited me to a dinner in his penthouse. There I saw Chief Justice Davide. It was Tan who worked to get Davide promoted to chief justice.)

Estrada did not say when and where the meeting took place.

He said he heeded Tan's request and appointed Davide.

GMANews.TV tried calling Davide for comment, but he was not answering his phone.

Davide, in 2002, was conferred the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service - a singular honor that is the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize. He was also recognized for his life of principled citizenship and his profound service to democracy and the rule of law.

Philippine Billionaire Cries Foul Over Beer Bottles
Chinese Filipino business magnate Lucio Tan

Lucio Tan is accusing the food and beverage giant San Miguel of using dirty tactics to disrupt the operations of his Asia Brewery.

The Philippine’s second-richest person accuses San Miguel of collecting and storing hundreds of thousands of Asia Brewery’s empty bottles and crates to prevent them from being re-used.

Previously the two companies had an agreement to exchange one another’s bottles, but the deal was terminated after a few years. San Miguel’s staff continued to collect and store their competitor’s bottles and crates long after the deal had expired.

The trial court ruled in favor of Tan’s complaint awarding 130 million pesos ($3 million) in damages, but the decision was reversed on appeal. Now, Tan is taking his case back to the courts.

According to a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Asia Brewery says the appeals court "erred when it blindly accepted the hearsay and incredible testimonies of San Miguel’s witnesses as gospel truth.”

Besides Asia Brewery, Tan also owns the Philippines’s largest cigarette maker, Fortune Tobacco and a stake in Philippine Airlines. Forbes calculated his wealth at $2.1 billion in July. The biggest chunk of his fortune comes from Hong Kong-based Eton Properties, which is selling land in one of its township developments to Henry Sy’s SM Prime.

Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. is the chairman and CEO of San Miguel. Ranked as the 10th richest person in the Philippines, Cojuangco’s fortune was valued at $760 million in July.

No comments: