PAL thanks labor chief for barring strike

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2010 07:44 PM | Updated as of Oct 07 2010 03:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) management welcomed on Wednesday the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) decision to assume jurisdiction over its labor dispute with its cabin crew.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’s decision prevents the Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (FASAP) from launching a strike while the case is being resolved.

The move also prevents the flag carrier from either sacking or suspending workers belonging to the FASAP.

"Philippine Airlines is grateful to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz for putting public interest ahead of any particular group,” PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said in a press statement.

“FASAP’s repeated strike threats [are] a cause of grave concern for PAL passengers whose travel plans are being unfairly disrupted,” she added.

She urged the airline’s passengers to pursue their travel plans amid the strike ban.

“Our passengers are assured of unhampered operations. We advise them to book early for their flights especially for the coming semestral break and All Saints/Souls Day holidays," she added.

FASAP president Bob Anduiza said they have yet to receive the DOLE order.

He assured, however, that the labor union will respect Baldoz’s authority.

“In the event, however, that the DOLE will prevent FASAP from exercising its lawful right to go on strike, the union will be obligated to respect this decision,” he said.

“FASAP hopes that she will resolve the dispute immediately, especially the gender and discrimination issues in retirement age, pregnancy, and maternity policies,” Anduiza added.

Baldoz said over radio dzMM on Wednesday that the labor row is imbued with national interest.

"Itinatalaga ng batas na 'pag nag-assume ang Secretary of Labor sa isang national interest case, ang ibig sabihin na 'pag nagkaroon ng pagaaklas, ito po ay pwedeng ma-declare na illegal," she explained.

The 1,600-strong FASAP had warned it would go on strike by the end of October if PAL still took a hard-line stance and ignored the group's demands in their 5th conciliation meeting held Tuesday.