Philippine Airlines (PAL) has been having labor problems. I first became aware of it about a year ago when about a dozen pilots quit at the same time. I still find it odd that so many quit at the same time. Many were new pilots, still under contract to meet the cost of their training. PAL paid for their training and then requires new pilots to work for them for a number of years. These pilots all quit around the same time. They were all A320 airbus pilots. It caused significant disruption of flights to the Philippines.
For the last several months, PAL has been in heated talks with its employees. The Philippine president stepped in to prevent a strike. Recently the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ordered PAL to increase wages and benefits and pay back wages of P222 million or just over 5 million USD.
PAL has now filed a motion for reconsideration asking DOLE to reverse itself. Perhaps this is a requirement before they take the
matter into the courts. I’m an expat living in the Philippines and trying to learn as much about the political and legal processes as I can. I still have much to learn. I’ve seen the Supreme Court of the Philippines reverse itself over the same case several times. So I suppose it is not out of the question for DOLE to do it as well.
DOLE also required PAL to increase its mandatory retirement age to 60 from the current 45 for flight attendants. PAL holds there is no bases in law for this ruling.
PAL continues to repeat that it lost money during the period and objects to paying what it didn’t earn. It calls the ruling confiscatory.
PAL is the largest airline in the Philippines when measured in terms of fleet but has fallen to the second largest in number of domestic passengers. Cebu Pacific has been offering cheaper fares. PAL has some domestic routes that it is obliged to maintain that are less profitable and it seems forces up their prices.
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