The P80-million offer of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to the Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (FASAP) was a sign of good faith. It was in response to our employees’ need for better pay and in recognition of their valuable contributions to the company.Despite nearly P15-billion in losses in the last two years, PAL did its best to set aside P80-million in the hope of putting closure to the 2005-2010 CBA negotiations with FASAP. However, it appears that FASAP’s motivation for the CBA is not purely economic. They seek abrogation of CBA provisions on early retirement which they call “unreasonable” and “unjustified”.
A CBA is a contract between labor and management. It is the law governing relations between the two parties. A CBA, therefore, is not a one-sided document. It is signed by the company’s authorized representatives and union board members, ratified by the general union membership, and submitted to the Department of Labor and Employment.
It is therefore surprising that FASAP accuses PAL of foisting upon its members a lopsided CBA that allegedly discriminates and forces its members to retire at an agreed age. All cabin crews who joined PAL after 1996 are well aware of this provision. In short, FASAP is questioning, and seeks abrogation of, a CBA provision that it approved not once, but twice since 1996.
As regards what FASAP calls a “discriminatory” and “unlawful” maternity policy, PAL wants to clarify: the forced leave of absence of pregnant crew members is also in the same CBA FASAP and management approved. The reason for preventing pregnant crew members from flying is simple: it is to promote their personal safety and that of the child they carry.
Besides, a female cabin crew is first and foremost a safety officer. Her job, therefore, is not simply to serve but to ensure passenger safety especially in times of emergency. A crew who is on the family way cannot run, jump or carry heavy loads without putting themselves and their baby at risk. This is the reason for the forced maternity leaves, not the baseless accusation that PAL management discriminates against pregnant crew members.