PAL hit by labour ruling
Philippine Airlines (PAL) has said that it will seek a reversal of a government ruling that has granted hefty back salary increases and a higher retirement age for flights attendants. In a press briefing yesterday, PAL’s President & COO, Jaime Bautista, said that the Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) ruling goes against industry practice.
DOLE’s ruling in favour of the Flight Attendants & Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) has ordered the airline to raise the retirement age for flight attendants from 45 to 60 years old, and granted back salary increases amounting to PHP222 million (US$5 million).
The labour dispute between PAL and FASAP dates back to last July, and is one of several union rows in which the airline has been embroiled over the past year. Essentially, all problems boil down to PAL’s attempts to cut costs having incurred significant losses between 2007 and 2009. Bautista claimed that DOLE is not taking into account the airline’s perilous financial position.
“[DOLE is] directing PAL to grant hefty pay increases for July 2007 to July 2010 despite its knowledge and awareness of PAL’s massive losses for the same period,” Bautista said. “DOLE expects PAL to produce the money but as to how, the decision did not say.”
The national carrier has also tried to sell off several subsidiary units such as its call centre and catering services, leading to strike threats from employees, while its pilots are being lured to better paid jobs overseas.