Airport board decides to obey SC, pay workers-A A +A
Thursday, January 31, 2013
THE Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) vowed yesterday to pay airport personnel back wages of about P61 million.
This was revealed by Cebu Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale after an MCIAA board meeting.
MCIA general manager Nigel Paul Villarete said the payment scheme of the back wages, though, will depend on the availability of funds.
“We are now looking for surplus funds from our revenue last year. If we can pay that in full, we will do it. But if we cannot afford it in one payment, we will pay in tranches,” he said. “Probably after closing the MCIAA books for 2012, we will know how much funds is available for this purpose.”
Acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale, after attending the MCIAA board meeting yesterday, told reporters that the body accepted the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the payment of back wages to airport employees.
The SC decision stemmed from a suit filed MCIAA employees seeking back pay for cost of living allowance (Cola) and amelioration allowance from Dec. 18, 1990, or from the dates of their respective appointments until March 1999. They also prayed that they be paid meal allowance, dependents’ allowance, medical benefits, and hazard pay from Dec. 18, 1990 until their separation from the service.
They alleged that they should be given the same rates as those of the employees and officers of the Manila International Airport Authority.
The employees in their petition demanded for P240 million in back wages and allowances.
MCIAA Director Pericles Dakay, chairman of the committee which studied the case, said the amount was for P73 million, which was reduced to P61 million after negotiations.
Villarete said civil service rules on payment of back pay will be followed in the case of workers who have retired or died.
He also said that the Regional Trial Court Branch 18, where the petition of the employees was filed, still has to approve the final agreement between the MCIAA management and the airport workers’ union.
In 2004, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia assured MCIAA Employees’ Mutual Association that workers will be paid P125 million in total back pay, after the Court of Appeals decided in favor of the workers. But Garcia also pointed out that the payment would be subject to availability of funds and the approval of the MCIAA board, where she sat as director.
A dialog was conducted between MCIAA management and the workers after the union threatened to go on mass leave.
The workers’ back Cola amounting to P40.5 million was paid in August 2004, according to a Philippine News Agency report.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 31, 2013.