MANILA (2nd Update, 3:36 p.m.) -- The country's flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), will file appropriate charges against its pilots who earlier resigned without prior notice, leaving at least 11 of the company's flights cancelled Saturday.
PAL spokesman Jonathan Gesmundo earlier said some of their pilots transferred to other airlines after being offered with bigger salaries.
The pilots, according to PAL, left the airline without prior notice, leaving at least 11 of its flights cancelled.
Four of the cancelled domestic flights were bound for Cebu (PR 843), Cagayan (PR 181), Bacolod City (PR 133), and Iloilo (PR 147), said Manila International Airport Authority.
The other four cancelled domestic flights were supposed to depart from Cebu (PR 344), Cagayan (PR 182), Bacolod (PR 134) and Iloilo (PR 148).
Two flights from Hong Kong to Manila (PR 313 AND PR 319) and another flight, which is supposed to depart for Hong Kong (PR 318), were also cancelled Saturday.
With this, Gesmundo said the company will soon be filing appropriate charges against those pilots who chose not to report for work immediately after submitting resignation letters.
"Most of the pilots still owe PAL the cost of their aviation school training, which run into millions of pesos per pilot," he said.
"The indiscriminate resignation of PAL's A320 pilots for flying jobs abroad whose salaries PAL is unable to match, is in violation of their contracts with PAL as well pertinent government regulations that require resigning pilots to give PAL six months prior notice to be able to train their replacements," PAL said in a statement.
PAL, however, refused to name the pilots.
It said it is doing its best to respond to the problems of the affected passengers.
"PAL is adjusting its schedules by merging some flights, upgrading aircraft to a igger type in order and fielding of management pilots to lessen the inconvenience to affected passengers," PAL said.
Gesmundo denied that the current problem is linked to the management's squabble with the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association.
The problem stemmed after the Department of Labor and Employment approved the plan of PAL to retrench 3500 out of its 7500-member workforce, whose work will be outsourced.
Earlier, the International Transport Workers' Federation urged President Benigno Aquino III to intervene in the labor dispute.
"The PAL management is viewed as a classic example of opportunism, with the aim of cutting jobs, downgrading conditions and breaking the union," said David Cockroft, general secretary of London-based ITF.
Sought for comment, militant group Kilusang Mayo Uno said the government should takeover the operations of the flag carrier.
"Tenural rights of the pilots should be respected. It is a just action of the pilots not to fly a plane in the face of the imminent job loss. Employees, even those who will be affected should join the mass action as a show of sympathy. Government should buy back PAL as an official flag carrier to keep it flying," KMU chairman Elmer Labog told Sun.Star. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)