PhilippineAirlines: PAL offers P80-M to settle CBA with Flight Crew

Philippine Airlines (PAL) management today offered an P80-million package to its flight attendants and stewards to settle and close their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the period 2005-2010.

The offer was made at the resumption of CBA talks between PAL management and officers of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB).

PAL said the “one-time” P80-million package is the only amount it could offer the flight attendants’ and stewards’ union due to the company’s dire fiscal condition. He added it is up to FASAP to determine how it will divide the P80-million among its 1,600 members.

PAL lost almost US$320-million or over P15-billion in the last two fiscal years due to the global economic crisis exacerbated by spikes in fuel prices, downgrade of the Philippines’ aviation safety rating to Category 2 by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the European blacklist of all Philippine carriers.

“We hope FASAP members will understand PAL’s predicament and accept the offer. While we recognize their desire for higher compensation, PAL’s current financial situation will not allow it offer more,” Bautista said.

Meanwhile, PAL management expressed its desire to move discussions on the retirement age issue for the 2010-2015 CBA. It said the priority is to put a closure to the previous CBA which has dragged on for the past three years.

Bautista explained that there is more than enough time to discuss the retirement age provisions and issues.

He explained that a 22-year old flight attendant who was hired by PAL in the year 2000 will only turn 40 in 2018, while those who were 22 when hired by PAL in 1996, 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.

As a sign of good faith, Bautista said PAL management is willing to conduct marathon meetings with FASAP for the 2010-2015 CBA. “The immediate goal now is to put closure to the 2005-2010 CBA, which has become a major source of misunderstanding between management and FASAP,” he said.

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