Philippines Airlines Workers Win Retirement Age Dispute

The Flight Attendants’ & Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (FASAP) and its 1,600 members won its labor dispute against PAL Friday.

The flight attendants of PAL will indeed have a very Merry Christmas after Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz ruled in its favor to correct the discriminatory compulsory retirement age from 55, 45 and 40 years old to 60 years old, for both male and female flight attendants.

In her Order dated December 24, 2010, Secretary Baldoz said, “The different retirement ages for flight attendants performing the same services constitute a clear discrimination of their right to equal work opportunity.”

The DOLE Order further declared, “It is in this light that setting the compulsory retirement age of sixty (60) years – both for male and female cabin crew personnel – is fair and reasonable.”

The retirement age of flight attendants is the most contentious issue between PAL and FASAP.

FASAP president Bob Anduiza rallied its flight attendants and led them to fight the discrimination issue of the CBA dispute this year after efforts to forge an amicable contract ended in a deadlock on the issue of age and gender discrimination.

“As union leaders, we owe it to our members and to other female workers in the country to stand up against discrimination in the Philippine workplace. If we cannot have equality in the PAL workplace, then it would be doubly difficult for other Filipino workers to assert their rights.”

After learning of the DOLE decision, Anduiza was thankful and said, “We are elated with the decision of Secretary Baldoz, upholding equality for the PAL flight attendants. She deserves praise and respect for her display of fairness and resolve despite the reputed power and influence of PAL,” Anduiza added.

In the said Order, Baldoz argued, “The set up under the old CBA is that female attendants are forced to retire at age 55, while their male counterparts may serve until age 60, for cabin attendants hired before 22 November 1996. Hereon, all cabin attendants hired thereafter, regardless of gender, shall be forced to retire at age 45; while, those hired after 22 November 2000 shall retire at the much early age of 40. Indeed, this structure appears to be discriminatory which may not only be in the context of gender but also as in terms of equal work opportunity as guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution and the Philippine Labor Code and its Implementing Rules.”

FASAP was also able to support its position on the economic aspect of the dispute, citing PAL’s most recent financial statements showing the Company’s recent financial recovery and profitability.

PAL’s offer of P105 million was increased by the DOLE to around P200 million, after it ruled to grant reasonable wage increases.

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