THE Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) crew responded Wednesday to the claims of the management that they agreed to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) imposing what they called as “discriminatory policies”.

In a phone interview, Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines Vice President Andy Ortega said they had never denied that union officers indeed signed the CBA, but added that they were only forced into the situation by the management.

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“We admit and we never deny that we signed the agreement. But we should also look at what happened in the background prior to the signing. What happened was bumigay kami sa mga continuous delaying tactics ng PAL management after waiting for several years without a CBA,” said Ortega.

He explained that during the negotiations for the 1995-2000 and 2000-2005 CBAs, the airline management had consistently sought for a 35-year-old retirement age but was only countered by the Fasap.

“What we really wanted was 60 years old ang retirement age both for male and female flight cabin crew members. In the end, after three years without the CBA, we were able to negotiate yung 40 and 45 na lang. We settled for it kesa naman walang CBA ang mga tao,” Ortega furthered.

The PAL management had been questioning why Fasap is opposing a provision of the CBA that was signed by union members for two straight treaties already.

To recall, Fasap has been denouncing the imposition of a 40-year-old retirement age for flight attendants and stewards calling it as a discriminatory policy since it will rid the worker continuous earnings.

Negotiations for the 2005-2010 has been stalled after Fasap pulled out of the talks after the management allegedly refused to discuss the controversial policy until the negotiations for the 2010-2015 CBA.

Fasap has also threatened to go on strike if PAL continuous to be reluctant in addressing the matter.

But this time, Ortega said they are prepared to exhaust all efforts if only to avoid the continuous implementation of the early retirement policy.

“This time, hindi na kami bibigay sa mga delaying tactics ng PAL management,” vowed Ortega.

In a separate statement, Fasap President Bobby Anduiza said that even though their union had previously agreed to the CBA, they still have the right to renegotiate the disputed policy.

He further said all “decent companies” would agree that any issue can be discussed in any CBA negotiation contrary to the questions being raised by PAL.

“Fasap views this as a bankrupt argument. CBA, as any decent company knows, expire every five years with re-negotiations every three years. Thus, all issues are open and subject to negotiations,” said Anduiza.

Fasap called on PAL management anew to grab the chance to set a good example in treating its employees being the country’s flag carrier. (AMN/Sunnex)