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PAL offers P105-million package to attendants, stewards group

MANILA, Philippines - The management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) has offered a P105-million economic package to the restive Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP).

Both “agreed in principle” to expand maternity benefits but remained deadlocked over the issue of compensation and the retirement age.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the original offer was P80 million. PAL had offered a P25-million increase in their rice allowance for the period of 2007 to 2010 which now brings totals P105 million offered to the FASAP.

Villaluna also said the expanded benefits and allowances are part of a package.

“The offers were made in good faith, proof that PAL is sincere in its efforts to settle and finally put to closure its 2005-2010 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with FASAP,” Villaluna said.

The FASAP, on the other hand, said there is yet no agreement concerning their major demands.

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“There is still no agreement concerning our three major demands and until these issues are addressed we will be forced to go on strike,” FASAP president Bob Anduiza said.

After a five-hour meeting last Wednesday, Anduiza said it was only the PAL management that agreed in principle to provide the 1,600 flight attendants an additional P600 monthly rice allowance.

“From the previous P1,200 monthly rice allowance, the PAL management agreed to give P1,800, but only after a new collective bargaining agreement is finally forged,” Anduiza said.

Until this time, Anduiza said, the PAL management has not presented any proposal to their demand to amend the 40-year-old retirement policy, increase in pay and a stop to gender discrimination.

“FASAP cannot allow a compromise on retirement and gender issues because the Commission on Human Rights and other concerned agencies have already declared PAL’s policy on this matter as outdated,” he said.

Anduiza said FASAP also intends to seek the assistance of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on discrimination of the retirement age requirement of flight attendants.

PAL is willing to change the retirement age to 45 from 40 for both male and female crewmembers, on the condition that FASAP agrees to fixed crew complement and a rule arrangement allowing younger cabin crew to work on international routes.

PAL said junior cabin attendants are well trained and capable of serving international flights but provisions in their current CBA had put restrictions.

The current work rules restricting the flight assignments of younger flight attendants were inserted in the previous CBA by FASAP to allow senior cabin crew to enjoy more perks and per diem on international flights, Villaluna pointed out.

PAL hopes the union would agree to the proposed changes for the sake of younger crewmembers, otherwise it would appear that some FASAP members are discriminating against their own, she added.

PAL and FASAP will meet again next week, but if no agreement can be reached after Oct. 9, Anduiza added all the 1,600 flight attendants would go on work stoppage. – Rudy Santos, Mary Ann Reyes, Mayen Jaymalin

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