PAL’s Pilot Woes, Labor Disputes ‘a Direct Result of Lucio Tan’s Profiteering, Abuse of Workers’

The spin-off of most ground employees would also pave the way for a more permanent CBA suspension. According to Anakpawis in PAL, the management has been evading negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with PALEA following the end of the extended CBA suspension.

PAL management has also been stalling in its negotiations with FASAP, the union of PAL’s flight attendants. Last week, the 1,600-strong FASAP was forced to file a notice of strike to try to break the long deadlock in their ongoing CBA negotiations with PAL management.

FASAP president Bob Anduiza told that PAL management has been ignoring their complaints about working conditions. For example, he said, PAL has been flying undermanned flights for sometime now, forcing flight attendants to work more but paid the same amount of salary. Anduiza said each flight lacked at least two more flight attendants and that this undermanning was unilaterally imposed by PAL.

FASAP is also up in arms against the management’s plan to reduce their mandatory retirement age from 60 to 40. “All we ask is for equality in the workplace. In PAL, the other employees are allowed to work until 65 years old. The pilots’ compulsory retirement age for both males and females is 60 years old. But for flight attendants, the compulsory retirement age is as young as 40 years old,” Anduiza said, according to

“We are against age and gender discrimination. PAL cannot continue to turn a blind eye to inequality. PAL should correct this discriminatory policy, instead of using it as a bargaining chip against the flight attendants,” he added.

Years-Long Grievances

What is happening in PAL were crises waiting to happen. This only shows that their years-long grievances that culminated into that strike 12 years ago have not really been resolved, said a former PAL pilot who worked for 20 years at PAL but was terminated for having joined the strike.

The trouble in PAL , this pilot said, is that its employees are routinely being asked to work harder and longer, at first to save and rehabilitate the flag carrier, later to respond to the economic crisis, to the high fuel costs, to the 9/11 attacks in the US, and other justifications.

And when PAL started earning profits again, and even before the employees could ask for a small share, the airline starts “losing” again, said the veteran pilot.

“There is a need to look into the real financial condition of the flag carrier that claimed near bankruptcy status even if its chairman and CEO Lucio Tan was recently listed by Forbes Magazine as the second richest Filipino whose net worth jumped from $1.5 billion in 2008 to $1.7 billion in 2009 – an increase in wealth which contrasts to PAL’s claim of financial losses,” Mariano said today. “ It is proper and necessary to ensure that workers be protected from illegal retrenchments which are based merely on highly questionable claims of bankruptcy.”

Members of Anakpawis PAL chapter and PALEA hold a picket to denounce the spin-offs and contractualization at the airlines. (Photo courtesy of Anakpawis PAL Chapter)

Though PAL registered a lower net profit in 2009 compared to 2008, the global aviation industry’s main data keeper, Official Airline Guide (OAG), declared that PAL is still the country’s top carrier in terms of flights and seat capacity for the last two years, posting a leading share of 35 percent of the 1,859 flights per week and 38 percent of the total 309,616 seats per week flown.

“It is alarming that a major company like PAL can bend and twist labor laws to seal and protect its profit vaults at the expense of its employees,” Mariano said.

President Aquino announced early on that the labor dispute in PAL would be its litmus test in handling industrial relations. As in 1998, what is happening in PAL today will thus set another precedent in labor’s struggle against deteriorating wages and working conditions. In the meantime, the Anakpawis chapter in PAL welcomes the fact that PAL employees, with the growing support of labor advocates, are now uniting to defend their jobs, their benefits and their union.

Share This Post

10 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. si lucio tan din ang dahilan ng pagteterminate ng British Airways sa route na Manila-Hongkong-London heathrow….. ehh kse nman ayaw ni lucio tan n tanga n may kakompetensya sa hongkong route ng PAL… Ehh di nman sya nagtagumpay kse simula ng dumating Ang Cathay pacific airways n flag carrier ng hongkong… ay wla ng ngawa yang lucio tan n yan…. tanga yang lucio tan n yan…. sana nga balang araw alisin n yan lucio tan yan….. ang iniisip lng niyan pera lng…….

  2. Si Mr Tan malaki ang kinikita sa PAL at nakikinabang. Ayaw lang niya magbayad sa empleyado niya. Ito ang pinagkakitaan ni Mr Tan mula sa PAL:

    1. MAINTENANCE NANG EROPLANO. Ang LUFTANZA TEK ay dating pagaari ng PAL na pina spin-off, iniba lang ang pangalan at pagaari na Mr Tan. Nagbabayad ang PAL dito at lahat ng airline para sa maintenance ng eroplano.

    2. CATERING. Ang MACROASIA ay dating pagaari ng PAL na catering ng pagkain sa lahat ng eroplano ng PAL at ibang airline. Pina spin-off ni Mr Tan at ngayon dito nagbabayad ang PAL.

    3.PLC. ito ang training center ng PAL kung saan nagbabayad ang PAL kay Mr Tan bilang upa sa building niya.

    4.FOOD and DRINKS. Lahat ng inumin at pagkain ng PAL tulad ng Virgin Cola, ABSOLUTE water, PORK galing FORMOSA farms, etc ay lahat pagaari ni MR TAN na binabayaran ng PAL.

  3. Malalim ang sugat at damage na ginawa ni Lucio Tan sa PAL…Unang-una sa mga employees-ground staff and flying crew. Simula ng take-over ni Mr. Tan ang PAL, hindi na natahimik ang company…Marami syang ginawang naiiba na ikinapangit ng Airlines!!! Binale-wala nya ang lahat na inumpisahang magandang image na ating FLAG CARRIER, never syang nakinig o nagbigay respeto sa hinaing ng mga empleyado, especially the flight crew. Maling-mali yan!!! There MUST always be an UNDERSTANDING, RESPECT, COMMUNICATION,
    FAIR NEGOTITION, FAIR and SINCERE AGREEMENT between concerned parties.
    I don’t think this is happening!!!
    With Lucio Tan???!!! I will not be surprised…Puro salapi ang puso ng taong yan, at hindi maka-tao. Otherwise all these terrible issues won’t be happening,
    in the first place. MASYADO NYA NANG INAAPI ang mga piloto at cabin crew for the longest time!! Mahirap lang sya talaga kalabanin because he could get the best and expensive lawyer. At siguradong tanggal sa work ang mga nagrereklamo.

    Kung alam nyo lang lahat ang ginawa ng Air Philippines na yan sa mga pasahero nila last month- Cebu to manila. Flight was 10 hours delayed ha…they let all the passengers suffered inside departure lounge without food and drink till the flight left at past 6 a.m. the next day..! People started checked-in at 9pm for the 10:45 pm flt for manila. The aircraft door was hit and damaged by something, we exactly not sure what it was. I was one of those unfortunate pasenger and with me was my daughter. Maraming babies na nag-iiyakan, gutom, pagod, antok.

    Pero, lahat ng yan ay NASIKMURA ng management na matiis ang agony ng mga pasahero the whole night. Alam ko na may nag-uutos sa manager-Cebu na galing sa taas sa manila. Sino yun?? Sa tanda kong ito at sa experience ko with any other airlines-domestic or international, HINDI GINAGAWA ITO SA MGA PASAHERO!!!

    Hindi ko kayang panoorin at tingnan lamang ang kawawang kalagayan namin sa loob ng departure lounge for 10 hours.
    Pano nila nasikmura ito?
    Lahat ng yan ay dahil sa PERA!!!!!
    Ayaw nilang gumastos!!!! AT! ayaw din nilang ipamigay sa ibang airlines ang mga ticket na hawak na nila!!! SAKIM!!!!

    Well, I happened to be a former flight attendant in the 70’s- 80’s, that is why I know or should i say, I know the PROTOCOL sa situations like this. At alam ko din pina-creeping delay nila para MAKA-IWAS sa gastos sa pag book sa hotel ng mga pasahero and food.
    Kaya sa tindi ng galit ko at around past 5 a.m. at lahat ay wala nang pasensya, at mayayabang pa sa pagpapalusot ang ground staff- PINAGBABATO ko na mga radios nila!!! Mga WALANG SILBI na mga staff!!!
    Mga walang backbone, tanga, walang decision, kulang sa training, walang experience. Saan ba nila kinuha ang ganung klaseng employees??? Wala ring mga

    Also, the ground staff didn’t handle passengers with connecting international flights! We only learned about those passengers when they approached us screaming at the counter of pre-dep.

    This was truly a NIGHTMARE to all of us.

    Passengers have voluntarily submitted their names and contact nos. to me.
    In time we will all submit our complaint
    to someone who will and CAN address this
    violent and HINDI MAKATAONG pag handle sa mga pasahero. Ito si Lucio Tan…mayaman, magaling mag-negosyo pero brutal sa kapwa. TAO BA SYA??!!!!

    Now, tell me…he did it to his own people sa airlines, and he did it to his passengers TOO!!?? What’s next?

  4. eh paano rin kung kunwari lang lugi ang kompanya? hindi ba dapat ang sahod ng piloto, sa kapwa piloto natin ikumpara, hindi sa ibang trabaho?

  5. eh papano kung nalulugi ang kompanya? hindi ba napakataas na nang sahod ng mga piloto kumpara sa ibang trabaho sa Pilipinas? ganyan talaga, kung ang domestic help ay nangingibang bansa din dahil sa sahod. natural lang siguro sa mga piloto, liban lang may kontrata silang pinirmahan at payag ba silang magbayad ng multa sa pagsira nilang mga piloto ng kontrata dahil sa kanilang paghanap ng masmalaking sahod?

  6. Bravo! You hit it! Please take note also how convenient that in GMA News ( the video is missing.

Comments are closed.