Philippine Airlines Will Operate Despite Cabin Crew Strike Notice


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Philippine Airlines Will Operate Despite Cabin Crew Strike Notice

Bill Goldston

September 11, 2010 - Philippine Airlines (PAL) assures the passengers of continued and unhampered service despite a notice of strike filed by its cabin crew union. "PAL's operations remain normal and all flights are operating as scheduled. There is no immediate work stoppage," PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna stressed. 

Villaluna explained that the notice of strike filed by the Flight Attendants' and Stewards' Association of the Philippines (FASAP) commences a legal process by which the two parties, with guidance from the labor department, would find ways of striking a balance between what the union wants and what management can afford and is prepared to give.  


Under the law, parties have a 30-day cooling-off period after the filing of a notice of strike. During this time the labor secretary will continue to mediate and find a compromise settlement. It is also within the labor secretary's authority to issue an assumption order which automatically enjoins the intended strike. 

Villaluna said the union's plan to strike is ill-timed as it would scare away tourists and cause further damage to the flag carrier?s fragile finances. ?We are saddened by the union?s decision, but we recognize their right to file a notice of strike,? Villaluna said.  Villaluna added the union?s move is untimely in the wake of thousands of Hong Kong and Chinese tourists canceling their forward bookings in the aftermath of the Rizal Park hostage tragedy. ?A strike threat doesn?t help in efforts to lure back tourists to the country.? 

She added that management is willing to sit down again with FASAP leaders to discuss and settle any pending issues in the 2007-2010 collective bargaining agreement. Villaluna said FASAP?s claims that they are overworked and underpaid are without factual basis. ?PAL's cabin attendants receive an average gross monthly salary ranging from P30,000 to 80,000. They also enjoy enviable rest periods.? 

Villaluna also refuted accusations of age and gender discrimination. ?The early retirement age is part of the negotiated CBA FASAP leaders signed on two separate dates. They complain of alleged inequity of early retirement provisions when in fact the older batch of FASAP members, including the union leaders themselves, have been receiving and enjoying financial benefits in exchange for the younger retirement age of their colleagues,? Villaluna stressed.


On the claim that PAL discourages pregnancy among cabin attendants, Villaluna said there were at least 65 cabin attendants who went on maternity leave last year. ?All of them received maternity benefits in accordance with the Labor Code and the CBA. PAL even advanced P30,000 in SSS benefits before they gave birth,? she said. 

Philippine Airlines, Inc. (abbreviated as PAL), also known historically as Philippine Air Lines, is the flag carrier and national airline of the Philippines. The airline, headquartered in the Philippine National Bank Financial Center in Pasay City, was founded in 1941 and is the oldest commercial airline in Asia operating under its original name. Out of its hubs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport of Manila and Mactan-Cebu International Airport of Cebu City, Philippine Airlines serves nineteen destinations in the Philippines and twenty-four destinations in Southeast Asia, East Asia, Oceania and North America. 

Formerly one of the largest Asian airlines, PAL was severely affected by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. In what was believed to be one of the Philippines' biggest corporate failures, PAL was forced to downsize its international operations by completely cutting operations to Europe and eventually Southwest Asia, cutting virtually all domestic services excluding routes operated from Manila, reducing the size of its fleet and terminating the jobs of thousands of employees.  

The airline was placed under receivership in 1998, gradually restoring operations to many of the destinations it formerly serviced. PAL exited receivership in 2007 with ambitious plans to further its previously-serviced destinations, as well as diversify its fleet. Philippine Airlines is the only airline in the Philippines to be accredited with the IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) by the International Air Transport Association and has been awarded a 3-star rating by the independent research consultancy firm Skytrax.


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