Fr. Edu Gariguez of Nassa (left) receives a letter addressed to Pope Francis from PALEA president Gerardo Rivera at the CBCP main headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on Monday.

MANILA, Sept. 30, 2013— A 3,000-strong labor union of the Philippine Airlines’ ground crew is asking Pope Francis’ intervention to settle their ongoing rift with the PAL management. 

The disgruntled members of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) said they want to seek the pope’s support in their campaign to “restore justice to the working people.” 

“Thus we seek the intercession of Your Holiness to achieve a just conclusion to the labor dispute,” Gerardo Rivera, PALEA president, said in a letter to the pontiff. 

The union believe that an appeal from the pontiff to the stakeholders in the dispute “will exercise “moral suasion and may prove decisive in a settlement fair to the workers”. 

The letter was received by the office of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) at its main office in Intramuros, Manila on Tuesday.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, Nassa executive secretary, left Manila this evening for a conference at the Vatican and assured PALEA that their letter will reach the pope. 

The PALEA has been embroiled in the country’s biggest labor dispute for the past two years. 

In September 2011, more than 2,600 regular workers were laid off as part of an outsourcing scheme. 

Nassa and other bishops have been behind the labor union’s campaign for the dignity of decent work, regular jobs and against contractualization at PAL. 

“The support of Church officials and laity has given us utmost hope amidst the despair of a protracted dispute. The solidarity of the Church has indeed assisted us in innumerable ways,” said Rivera.  

“We were fired with the intention of being hired as contract workers doing the same jobs without security of tenure, less wages, longer hours of work but without benefits,” Rivera added. 

“Our only appeal is to restore justice to the working people. Unfortunately, the talks have not yet led to a settlement that is fair and just to the workers,” he said. (CBCPNews)