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Flights normal, PAL assures public

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Philippine Airlines (PAL) assured its passengers and customers that contingency measures are in place to keep its airplanes flying in case members of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) stage an illegal strike.

PAL stressed its flights will continue to be operated according to published schedules while all ticket offices and other sales and airport facilities in Metro Manila, the provinces and stations abroad will maintain regular business operations.

"Our interline airline-partners as well as augmentation forces from management are on standby to ensure that our operations are not disrupted in case PALEA members walk out," said Cielo Villaluna, PAL spokesperson. She stressed that ground workers represents only a fraction of PAL's 7,000-strong workforce.

The company said that a strike, if declared illegal by proper authorities, could lead to the forfeiture of striking workers' benefits including those ordered by the Office of the President.

Meanwhile, PAL submitted today (March 28, 2011) its counter-proposal consisting of salary increases for the first three years of a three-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to be negotiated by PAL with PALEA.

"In good faith, PAL management fulfilled its commitment to submit today a counter-proposal, proof of management's sincerity and willingness to open negotiations with PALEA," said Jose S.L. Uybarreta, PAL vice president for Human Resources.

"The amounts of P750 for the 1st year, P1,500 for the 2nd year and another P1,500 for the 3rd year – are what management believes the company can afford at this time, given the string of massive losses suffered by PAL since 2008," he said.

Last Friday (March 25, 2011), Malacanang upheld the decision of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) upholding the legality of PAL's spin-off of three non-core units.

PAL stressed that it was PALEA who sought the President's intervention and when the decision did not favor them, the union rejects the decision even the additional benefits granted to them.

Earlier, PAL president Jaime J. Bautista said the outcome of Malacanang’s mediation over the spin-off issue has a material impact on the next PAL-PALEA CBA. He said PALEA leaders should give Malacanang due respect when it finally resolved the spin-off issue.

Questioning the basis and validity of PALEA's recent strike vote, PAL also maintained that there was no reason for the holding of the referendum given management's willingness to open CBA negotiations.




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