Labor chief defends PAL layoff approval-A A +A
Monday, November 1, 2010
MANILA (Updated 3:24 p.m.) – Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz defended her decision allowing the Philippine Airlines’ planned mass layoff of some of its workers.
In a statement, Baldoz insisted that the PAL management affected “lawful and reasonable” decisions for retrenching its workers.
“It was done in good faith and was in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the Labor Code,” said Baldoz.
“The CBA affirmed the management prerogative of PAL to organize, plan, direct and control operations, as well as the privilege to reorganize its corporate structure for the viability of its operations,” she added.
She also noted that based on the CBA and Article 283 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, PAL’s closure of the three departments, namely, in-flight catering, airport services, and call center reservations operations were measures to address the company’s accumulated deficits.
Among the losses cited by PAL include the surge in fuel prices in 2008, the ban for PAL to enter the air space in 27 European Union member states, its need to survive in a highly competitive airline industry, among others.
Baldoz said these conditions ultimately address the need to meet one of the two criteria in making a “valid termination” under the CBA.
On the other hand, the Dole head said PAL met the other criterion, which was the observance of the 45-day consultation period required in the CBA before implementing the reorganization.
“PAL more than complied with the 45-day consultation requirement under the CBA, considering the consultations and preventive mediation conferences between the PAL and the PAL Employees Association (Palea) before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board,” reiterated Baldoz.
She also emphasized the “upgraded” benefits allocated for the affected employees.
She noted that the new decision exhibit “over and above the benefits granted in the original decision and even under existing laws.”
Among the benefits include a separation pay equivalent to 1.25 percent per year of service; additional gratuity of P50,000 per affected employee; vacation leave balance that is 100 percent commutable to cash regardless of years of service; sick leave balance that is 100 percent commutable to cash regardless of years of service; extension of one year of the medical and hospitalization package; and their trip pass benefits depending on the number of years of service.
To recall, the 3,000-strong Palea strongly opposed the plan of PAL to lay off its ground employees and resort to outsourcing.
On Monday, members of the Palea trooped in front of the office of the Dole in Intramuros, Manila at 10 a.m. to denounce the approval of the mass layoff.
The labor union decided to bring the case before the department to seek intervention but was eventually shut down by then acting secretary Romeo Lagman. (AMN/Sunnex)