Philippine Airlines (PAL) has filed criminal charges against 41 members of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA), over an incident on 29 October when protesters prevented catering vehicles from leaving a PAL facility.
The airline said it is taking legal action following “the unprovoked harassment and specific acts of violence committed by PALEA members”, and that it could back up the claims with video footage.
The 41 PALEA members are former PAL employees affected by the airline’s decision to outsource three of its subsidiary units, including the catering division. Since the move in September, which is believed to have cost approximately 2,600 jobs, PAL has faced a wave of industrial action, including wildcat strikes and blockades at its facilities.
PALEA members have been staging protests outside the PAL Inflight Center since 28 September. The facility houses the airline’s kitchens, where meals for all PAL flights are prepared. Since the protests began, PAL has been unable to offer meals aboard many of its flights, and is having to receive help from outside caterers to fill the void.
PAL has complained that its trucks and drivers have been subject to “intimidation, threats and even physical violence” when they enter or leave the compound. Boxes have also been sit alight and barbed wire laid in the path of vehicles, PAL said.
Protesters meanwhile, have accused the airline of employing “goons” to disperse the crowds – an allegation PAL has denied.