in November 2010, i blogged about Lucio Tan getting away with the plan to lay off regular Philippine Airline workers in favor of outsourcing services, with the Department of Labor and Employment siding with him. now, almost a year since, PNoy proves himself an Hacienda Luisita heir, and actually says the PALEA workers who are on strike might be held liable for economic sabotage.
the President is saying that these regular employees who have served PAL — and therefore the public — for years are to be blamed for making the company that’s retrenching them lose money? here for the world to see, the mind of a President who mouths his matuwid na daan rhetoric at the same time that he sacrifices 2,600 workers’ lives and their families’ lives for who exactly?
Lucio Tan, the most notorious crony capitalist.
good job PNoy. good job.
(repost with minor edit from November 2010)
because in whose mind would it be normal and rational, just and fair, to lay off 2,600 employees favouring one of the richest Filipinos of 2009. really, now. Lucio Tan’s net worth then was at $1.7 billion dollars. that’s P78 BILLION PESOS. This year, he’s second richest in the land, with a net worth of $2.1 billion dollars, that’s close to P90 BILLION PESOS (89.67 to be exact).
according to DOLE, the rich are to be pitied because business is down, and therefore we must allow them to retrench workers.
This is also a man whose tax evasion cases were dismissed on a technicality during Erap’s time – Tan was a crony of Erap’s and earlier of Marcos. It explains, doesn’t it, how he got away with evading taxes that amounted to P25 billion pesosin 2005, which in 2000 was estimated to be at P25.27 billion (yes, I refuse to let go of that .27 billion).
i know i digress, here, but i think this digression points to the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) inability to see Tan as bigger than his current oppression of workers in Philippine Airlines. it points to how DOLE in fact seems to be treating Tan as its very own crony, siding from the beginning with PAL, even having meetings with its officials, as if it is PAL that is aggrieved in this situation.
let’s be clear here: we should feel no pity – at all – for Tan and his PAL management. they are not the oppressed here. and if you think otherwise, you should read up. or maybe try being an employee for once, and then talk to me about oppression.
because oppression is when you’re issued a gag order that disallows you to talk about your salary – not because it’s big mind you, but because it’s lower than most other pilots. in August, 27 pilots resigned because they wanted better wages. but this resignation was also about taking a stand against the way they were being treated by Tan and PAL management.
before this, 11 co-pilots had been forced to resign by PAL management because they wanted these pilots to fly planes under Air Philippines and Aero Filipinas – both owned by Tan. the point? these pilots would be hired as contractual employees, which means their wages would be cut in half, low as it already is in PAL.
as bad as this kind of treatment? some pilots aren’t forced to resign, but they are forced to take on flights for Air Philippines on top of the flights they do for PAL. that’s being employee in two companies! correction, that’s forced employment in two companies both owned by he who is called the “most notorious crony capitalist” Tan.
and no, this isn’t just about the pilots. flights have been undermanned, which can only mean overworked flight attendants with the same pay. female flight attendants are also being force to retire at 40, versus 60 for male employees; a maternity leave also means no pay and no benefits. ground crew also hear of theirimpending forced resignations in order to be re-hired on a contractual basis in Tan’s various spin-off companies.
but it can only get worse. Tan and PAL management did want to work on these spin-off companies so they might gain more profit, but this wasn’t in the form of hiring old workers on a contractual basis; it was to outsource employment which makes imperative the termination of 2,600 workers.
this is what’s in the news at this point, the DOLE decision being released as it was on November 1. the irony would be nice were it not tragic, too. and just reason for anger.
you ask why didn’t PAL employees hold a strike earlier? why did they wait for things to be so bad, to come to a head, to pile up like this? a history lesson might be in order: 12 years ago in retaliation against striking workers, the PAL management terminated 600 pilots and almost 2,000 members of the cabin crew. and yes, that case of wrongful termination is still in our courts.
so you see, Lucio Tan has gotten away with murder in this country, in so many ways, and too many times. governments have let him kill, time and again.
and just in case this isn’t enough to convince PNoy that his delegation of this job has fallen on horrible hands. read the DOLE’s justification of its decision, it’s so naive – or maybe just blind – to the workings of a capitalist empire like the one Lucio Tan’s creating for himself. DOLE believed PAL when the latter said it has been suffering financially the past two years, though a look at PAL’s own milestones shows that it has done nothing in the past two years but to acquire and to expand. it sure doesn’t look like a business that’s suffering. Cebu Pacific might have beaten it already, but that doesn’t mean it’s in the red.
oh and just so you know, in 1998 PAL also used as excuse financial difficulties to defend its downsizing of operations and termination of employees. but too, maybe all it takes is to imagine how far Lucio Tan’s money – the one that’s declared in and everything else extraneous to those richest man in the Philippines numbers – could go into spending on PAL employees’ wages or just making lives better all around.
but too, there’s an even easier question to ask: if Lucio Tan is second richest man in this country, howthef*#@! can the same man have a business that’s going under?