MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has barred flag carrier Philippine Arlines (PAL) from retiring female flight attendants aged 55 years old.
In an order dated January 28, DOLE Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac ordered PAL to shelve retirement notices to 8 flight pursers, "pending the final resolution of all motions relative to the case."
Robert Anduiza, president of PAL's Flight Attendants’ and Stewardesses’ Association of the Philippines (Fasap), welcomed the decision.
"We are glad that the office of the DOLE secretary heeded Fasap's urgent call to stop PAL from worsening the labor tension between PAL and Fasap," said Arduiza.
"We sincerely hope PAL management will rethink its combative stance and respect DOLE's decision.
On January 14, 8 female crew of PAL were served notices of separation informing them of their compulsory retirement. The notices reportedly came 3 days before the supposed effectivity.
PAL's move to retire the employees shrugged off the December 23 ruling of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz that pegged Fasap members' compulsory retirement age at 60 -- for both men and women.
Baldoz said the different retirment ages for PAL's cabin crew, who were performing the same services, "constitute a clear discrimination of their right to equal work opportunity."
PAL is currently seeking the reversal of Baldoz's decision, asserting that the DOLE has no jurisdiction over the issue.
PAL said earlier it was able to get favorable order from the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 147 that removed all legal obstables preventing it from serving mandatory retirement notices against its cabin crew when they reach the age of 55.
The court order, handed down by Judge Oscar Pimentel on January 4, 2011, lifted an injunction order that had barred PAL from enforcing a labor-management agreement's provision that placed at 55 the retirement age for female flight attendants hired before a certain period.