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Dismissed Philippine aviation workers stage “Occupy” protest
20 October 2011
Aviation workers who were sacked following the outsourcing of their jobs earlier this month carried out a Wall Street-inspired protest in the Philippines last week.
The workers, represented by the ITF-affiliated Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) declared on 15 October that their protest camp at Manila international airport, set up in the aftermath of the workers’ dismissal from Philippine Airlines, was part of the “Occupy” movement. The movement, which began in New York’s financial district four weeks ago and has since spread across the globe, condemns corporate greed and calls for global equality.
“More than 1,000 PALEA members and supporters have occupied this part of the airport area since 28 September and today we proclaim it to be part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Similar to Occupy Wall Street, which has fought eviction by the New York city government and police, we will not surrender this occupation despite continuing threats of demolition,” said Gerry Rivera, PALEA president on the day of the protest.
PALEA is demanding management reinstate all PALEA members and re-enter into good faith negotiations with PALEA to settle on a fair contract.
Echoing the Occupy movement’s call, Rivera said: “The workers and the poor are 99 per cent of Filipinos, so why is PNoy [the president of the Philippines] acceding to the greed of Lucio Tan [the owner of Philippine Airlines] who is just part of the one per cent?”
A day earlier, international solidarity actions for PALEA kicked off with a picket by Japanese railway workers at the Philippine embassy in Tokyo. On 27 October, US unions and the Filipino-American community plan to picket the Philippine consulate in San Francisco.
To find out more about how you can support the PALEA workers click here.
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