SC upholds dismissal of PAL pilots in 1998 strike
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the dismissal of Philippine Airlines (PAL) pilots who joined an illegal strike that crippled the flag carrier’s operations in 1998.

In a 36-page decision released yesterday, the high court’s First Division reversed a Court of Appeals ruling in November 2006, which declared the dismissal of 24 pilots as illegal and ordered payment of their separation pay.

The SC reinstated the November 2001 ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) declaring as legal the dismissal of the pilots led by Nilo Rodriguez.

The high court dismissed the petition of the pilots, who were members of the Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines (ALPAP), seeking reinstatement to PAL and payment of back wages and moral and exemplary damages.

It affirmed the findings of the NLRC that the pilots did not comply with the return-to-work order issued by the labor department on June 7, 1998.

The ruling was penned by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro.

The high court, however, exempted from the ruling one of the pilots – Gladys Jadie – who was nine months pregnant and was on maternity leave during the strike.

The SC ruled that Jadie was illegally dismissed. It ordered PAL to give her separation pay equivalent to a month’s salary for every year of service, back wages and Christmas bonuses from June 1998, longevity pay at P500 per month every year, her share in the P5-million retirement fund and cash equivalent of vacation and sick leaves.

The SC explained that Jadie’s appeal for reinstatement as pilot could no longer be granted since her former position as captain of the E-50 aircraft no longer existed. The aircraft has been returned to its lessors in accordance with the Amended and Restated Rehabilitation Plan of PAL.

Her license had also expired in 1998, the SC declared. 

Records showed that ALPAP staged the strike on June 5, 1998 after claiming unfair labor practice and union-busting by PAL despite prohibition by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

 The DOLE called the airline management and ALPAP for a conciliation on June 6, 1998 to settle the dispute. After failed arbitration, the DOLE issued an order the following day, directing the PAL employees to return to work.

AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES AMENDED AND RESTATED REHABILITATION PLAN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE TERESITA LEONARDO-DE CASTRO COURT OF APPEALS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT FIRST DIVISION GLADYS JADIE JADIE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION NILO RODRIGUEZ PHILIPPINE AIRLINES
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