Philippine Airlines (PAL) management and the Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (FASAP) on Wednesday (22 September 2010) “agreed in principle” to expand maternity benefits but remained “deadlocked” on the issue of compensation and changes in the retirement age of crew members.PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said on top of PAL’s original P80-million offer last week, the flag carrier offered the union a P25-million increase in their rice allowance for the period 2007 to 2010. This brings to P105-million the total economic package offered to FASAP.
Villaluna stressed, however, that the expanded benefits and allowances are part of a package. Hence, their approval are contingent on the signing by PAL and FASAP of a final agreement that puts to rest all economic, gender and retirement issues under discussion.
“The offers were made in good faith, proof that PAL is sincere in its efforts to settle and finally put closure to its 2005-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with FASAP,” she said.
Despite significant strides during Wednesday's five-hour PAL-FASAP talks, Villaluna said ‘sticky’ points remain such as the compensation package and changes in the retirement age of crew members. She said PAL could only offer P105-million after suffering huge losses in the last two years, but it appears that the union wants much more than what PAL is capable of giving.
Meanwhile, PAL is willing to change the retirement age to 45 from 40 for both male and female crew members, on the condition that FASAP agrees to a mixed crew complement – a work rule arrangement allowing younger cabin crew to fly international together with the more senior attendants, and vice-versa, the senior crew taking domestic flight assignments.
Management said junior cabin attendants are well-trained and capable of serving international flights but provisions in their CBA prevent them from doing so.
Current work rules restricting the flight assignments of younger flight attendants were inserted in the previous CBA by FASAP itself. Because of this, only senior cabin crew enjoy higher perks and per diems when they fly international, Villaluna said.
“We want to introduce changes in the current work rules so that both young and senior cabin attendants can both serve in domestic and international routes,” she said.
PAL hopes the union would agree to the proposed changes for the sake of younger crew members. Otherwise, it would appear that some FASAP members are discriminating against their own kind, she said.