MANILA — Inspired by the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the ground union of Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it will be maximizing public support against the planned layoff of 2,600 workers through social media.

The PAL Employees’ Association (Palea) has not yet announced the date for the planned “Facebook strike” but has been “busy” building support for it.

The 3,500-member union currently has 700 members on its Sulong Paleans! Facebook group while Palea’s women’s committee Facebook group has more than 200 members.

“We plan to test the law, and defy the assumption and certification order of the Labor Secretary which has been abused to deny workers their means of defense,” said union president Gerry Rivera.

He added that they met with Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo on Wednesday to seek the support of the Catholic Church and map out coordinated actions.

Also on Wednesday, Palea will sit with officials of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) to plan a “workers caravan” that will make the rounds of industrial areas and economic zones to popularize the campaign against contractualization.

“Since majority of Palea members are on Facebook, it is easy to connect with them social media. We have tried it and it is effective. The Labor Secretary can abuse her power to suppress the right to strike but the government cannot afford to shutdown the internet,” Rivera explained.

Other than images and videos of Palea protests and activities, posted on these Facebook sites are leaflets, posters and even scanned copies of the decisions rendered by Labor secretaries Romeo Lagman and Rosalinda Baldoz, and the Office of the President on the controversial outsourcing plan. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)