PAL readies P2.5-B compensation package for workers

By Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 03 2010 05:41 PM | Updated as of Nov 04 2010 01:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has finalized its modified compensation package that will be offered to the 2,600 workers affected by the company's planned spin-off of its in-flight catering, airport services and call center reservation units.

PAL president Jaime Bautista said the employees will be paid 1.25 months for every year of service, 100% of accumulated vacation and sick leaves, and P50,000 as gratuity. Their medical benefits will also be extended for one year, and they will receive free airline tickets depending on the length of service.

Bautista said the deal was better than what was stated in their collateral bargaining agreement.

He said the approved modified package would cost PAL P2.5 billion, which is higher than the P2 billion initially earmarked by the firm.

Bautista added that they plan to finance this by securing loans from government financial institutions or from other creditors.

Barring any court intervention, PAL management plans to implement the appropriate provisions of the Labor Department's order after the period for legal remedies has lapsed.

Bautista said PAL is not engaging in contractualization as the PAL employees can still be regularized. PAL is also calling for a dialogue with PALEA, its ground crew union, to talk about the modified package, warning that it will ask its service providers to hire new employees if the workers refuse to cooperate.

Meantime, PALEA president Gerry Rivera said they are determined to exhaust all legal means to prevent the implementation of the spin-off.

"We will only negotiate kung CBA ang pag-uusapan. No to outsourcing, pa'no nila masisiguro na wala nga magiging contractual sa amin? Regular na kami tapos ngayon pa ba kami ibabalik sa pagiging probationary? This is a trick, blackmail lang ito," he said.

Rivera said they were also dismayed with Malacañang's statement that it will keep its hands off the labor row. Rivera said this only goes to show that the new administration is pro-contractualization.