Flight attendants file rights case-A A +A
Monday, September 20, 2010
MANILA -- Disgruntled flight attendants of embattled flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) rushed to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday after the airline refused to stop the implementation of so-called “discriminatory work policies”.
Roberto Anduiza, president of the 1,600-strong Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (Fasap), also reiterated the group’s move to go on strike at the end of October or early November.
In a letter addressed to newly-appointed CHR chairperson Etta Rosales, Fasap said the airline has “trampled” upon the rights of the workers unknown to public knowledge.
“PAL is holding us hostage by prolonging the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) process until the flight attendants abandon the cause of equality,” the group said.
Under the existing CBA, male and female flight attendants who were hired before November 1996 would be retired once they reach 60 and 55 years old, respectively, and those hired from 1996 and beyond would be retired at age 45 for both males and females.
Those hired after November 2000, on the other hand, will be retired by the age of 40 for both males and females, which Fasap found “discriminatory.”
“By forcing us to retire early before our time PAL is depriving us of our right to gainful employment and a dignified retirement,” said Fasap, adding that the airline’s management violated the gender equality clause mentioned in the Constitution.
Aside from the retirement age, Fasap contended PAL’s policy on pregnant flight attendants, where they are allegedly forced to go on leave for seven months without pay and outright suspension of their benefits.
Sought for comment, Rosales said the commission will release its position on the issue in a month.
“We will closely study this although in hindsight PAL could have committed some lapses because this age and gender discrimination issue has not yet been fully addressed,” she said.
The government tries to resolve the ongoing labor woes in Asia’s oldest airline including the adoption of an open-skies policy should the situation worsens. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)