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CA junks FASAP suit vs PAL

MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked the bid of members of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) to collect some P30 million from the Philippine Airlines (PAL) over an unfair labor practice charge.

In an 18-page decision, the 13th division of the appellate court upheld the earlier ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) dismissing the claims of FASAP.

“The rule is settled that the findings of the labor arbiter especially when affirmed by the NLRC, are accorded due respect and even finality, and are binding upon the court,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Michael Elbinias.

In a nutshell, the CA ruled that FASAP cannot claim that PAL violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) when PAL hired personnel from APC for the operation of PAL Express.

In fact, APC was specialized in operating Q300 and Q400 aircrafts and had experienced personnel to man such fleet.

“Furthermore, no showing was made that the agreement between private respondent PAL and APC reduced petition FASAP’s strength, capacity, authority and power to act as the legitimate labor organization dealing with private respondent PAL’s management. No displacement and no limitation of work and pay resulted to the members of petitioner FASAP from the operation of the PAL Express,” it stressed.

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The CA added that FASAP “failed to overcome its burden of proving that respondent PAL had committed unfair labor practice.”

Associate Justices Isaias Dicdican and Nina Antonio-Valenzuela concurred in the ruling.

The case stemmed from the move of PAL to undergo rehabilitation that included the discontinuation of its flights to certain domestic routes.

On May 2, 2008, PAL entered into a “Cooperation Agreement” with Air Philippines Corporation (APC) and part of the agreement included the services of flight deck crew.

Pursuant to the agreement, PAL launched “PAL Express” on May 5, 2008.

This was questioned by FASAP and alleged that PAL committed unfair labor practice and a suit was filed against PAL president Jaime Bautista and Jose Uybarreta.

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