Philippine Airlines Cabin Crew on Brink of Strike

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to step in and stop the looming strike by its cabin crew union after talks over pay and conditions had broken down.

PAL spokesman Cielo Villaluna yesterday said the company has been negotiating in good faith and has bent backwards to accommodate some of the demands of the Flight Attendants’ and

Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (Fasap) but “the union that is playing hardball, dismissing outright management’s offers without even a second glance.”

She noted that Fasap since the start has not shown any intention to consider anything short of their demands.

“A negotiation is like a two-way street; it’s give and take. It’s very difficult to deal and negotiate with a party who only wants things to go their way,” she stressed.

Villaluna, however, assured that PAL passengers that “a strike will not happen overnight.”

“The management is asking DoLE to immediately step in to avert the strike and protect the interests of the riding public,” the PAL official added.

According to Villanuna, they were surprised by the announcement of Fasap to go on with its strike since the group and PAL agreed to a recess and to meet again next week, as recommended by the Labor department.

The group is looking to go on strike by late October or early November.

The 1,600-strong Fasap said it would no longer engage in talks with PAL management, accusing it of repeatedly rejecting demands its demands.

“We don’t see the point in attending the meetings anymore,” union president Bob Anduiza said.

“The management has maintained its hardline position and the mediation proceedings have failed.”

The union this month warned government of its plan for a strike if its demands for higher wages and an end to the mandatory retirement age of 45 for cabin crew, which the union said was discriminatory.

President Aquino earlier has stepped in and ordered the DoLE to mediate but was unable to settle the row.

The union also accuses management of refusing to pay women who were on maternity leave while freezing pay for the past three years.

Anduiza said the union will begin stoppages from the end of next month, warning the walkout would ground all operations of the troubled airline during the peak season ahead of the Christmas holidays.

The planned strike is the latest in a string of labor problems to hit the airline.

Last month, 25 pilots and first officers on PAL’s short-haul aircraft suddenly quit for higher paying jobs abroad, forcing the abrupt cancellation of several flights.

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