The Management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) today (August 10, 2010) appealed to its cabin crew to exhaust all peaceful means in resolving differences with the company stressing that it is sincere in addressing their concerns.
“Let's find a peaceful solution to our internal problems for the sake of the flying public,” PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said as he urged members of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) to reconsider threats of filing a notice of strike.
He said negotiations are still ongoing before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) where FASAP members could ventilate their grievances instead of threatening to go on strike, which would not redound to the public’s interest.
The next meeting between PAL management and FASAP officers is scheduled for August 17 before the NCMB.
Focus on negotiations
“We recognize the flight attendants' right to express their concerns, and they can use the negotiating table to do that,” Bautista pointed out.
Bautista said PAL is experiencing financial difficulty hence, it could only offer an P80 million one-time package to FASAP to close their negotiations for the 2005-2010 collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
“PAL was hit hard by the global economic recession and slowdown in travel just like the other airlines around the world. We could not afford at the moment what they are asking, but to show our good faith and sincerity in addressing their concerns, we offered the P80 million one-time package to be divided among FASAP members,” he said.
Bautista said it’s not true that management refuses to discuss the retirement age issue during the mediation talks yesterday at the NCMB. PAL was simply asking that it be included in the next CBA (2010-2015) which we can commence immediately, said Bautista.
“We told them that since the first flight crew to be affected by the 40-year-old retirement rule under the existing CBA is still years from now, we have enough time to discuss it with no one being adversely affected by the said rule,” he stressed.
He said the first crew – assuming she was hired in year 2000 at the age of 22 – will only turn 40 in 2018. Those hired in 1996, on the other hand, will only turn 45 by 2019.
Under the existing CBA, male and female flight attendants who were hired before November 1996 would be retired once they reach 60 and 55 years old, respectively, and those hired from 1996 and beyond would be retired at age 45 for both males and females. Those hired after November 2000, on the other hand, will be retired by the age of 40 for both males and females.
On pilots' return
Meanwhile, PAL said none of the 26 pilots who suddenly left their jobs have returned to their posts even as the airline gave them seven days to come back without sanctions.
"It's apparent that these pilots already have commitments abroad and opted not to return," Bautista said.
He added that the administrative process is ongoing, in line with the Company’s internal rules and regulations. Pilots will be served notices to explain why they continue to fail to report for flight duty. So far, the pilots (26) have been served “notices”, to which they were given the opportunity to respond, he explained.
"Right now, the administrative process is taking its course. But even while this is ongoing, our legal department is studying what cases will be filed in the coming days," Bautista stressed.