DOLE meets PAL union leaders over layoffs

July 28, 2010

By Aura Marie P. Dagcutan

THE PHILIPPINE Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) meet with officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) yesterday to discuss the latter’s June 15 decision allowing the Lucio C. Tan-led airline to proceed with an outsourcing scheme that will lay off ground staff.

“We will offer them options to settle the issue. They can choose whether to have an out-of-court settlement or proceed with the case.

But we assure them that whatever the decision is, both parties will benefit from it,” Rosalinda D. Baldoz, DoLE secretary, said in a telephone interview yesterday. The meeting was scheduled at 4 p.m.

DoLE’s June 15 decision, penned by then acting Labor Secretary Romeo Lagman, favored the airline management’s plan to outsource three non-core operations. Outsourcing call center, catering, and ground services will displace more than 2,600 workers and is estimated to yield savings of P1 billion to P1.5 billion for the distressed flag carrier.

The airline plans to pay around P2 billion in benefits to retrenched employees, who will get separation pay equivalent to one month’s salary for every year of service.

But Ms. Baldoz reiterated that the June 15 decision is not yet final.

“There are still other legal options because the decision is not yet executory. The meeting with PALEA will help us to understand the story,” she said.

Ms. Baldoz’s predecessor, Marianito D. Roque, assumed jurisdiction over PAL in April to prevent a strike following the airline’s announcement of the outsourcing plan.

PALEA President Gerardo F. Rivera said his group would not seek an out-of-court settlement.

“We are against to the outsourcing scheme. We have already filed for the reversal of the June 15 decision last June 28 and submitted a reply last July 19 after the PAL management filed an opposition to our motion,” he said.

“We want the Labor department to have a clear decision on the issue.

We want the PAL management to stop its plans of outsourcing,” he added.

PAL officials could not be reached for comment.

In a statement last Saturday, PAL said it had narrowed losses for its fiscal year that ended March, but said there was still weak demand for international flights.

The flag carrier reported $14.3 million in total comprehensive losses, narrower than the $297.8 million in losses recorded in the previous fiscal year.

PAL said capacity cuts by global airlines did not match the decline in passenger traffic, exerting pressure on yields. Because PAL lowered fares, revenues went down to $1.36 billion from $1.6 billion the previous year.

“Through prudent handling of resources, PAL’s total expenses dropped to $511.4 million, less than the previous year’s $1.86 billion,” it said.

The major factor for reduced expenses was the huge drop in fuel prices to an average of $86.94 per barrel from $123.80 the year before. -- Businessworld

1 comment:

  1. If we lose PAL,we lose our country,we Must not let that Closure of our Philippine airlines in 1998 be repeated!