Gabriela Women’s Party yesterday threw its support to the 1,600 strong protesting Philippine Airline flight attendants, two-thirds of them are women.
“No woman deserves to have her reproductive rights taken away from her by her employer,” Gabriela solon Emmi de Jesus stated after a consultation in Congress with a representative from FASAP, the PAL cabin crew union, the other day. “When a woman in her thirties is forced to decide not to have a baby for fear that she cannot afford her child’s basic needs for food, clothing and shelter when she reaches her 40th birthday, that is tantamount to a violation of her reproductive rights,” de Jesus added.
This was prompted by the current policy being implemented by the country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), on the retirement age for stewardesses and cabin attendants who were hired after 1996. “When PAL imposed its discriminatory policy on reducing the retirement age of Female flight attendants hired before 1996 from 55 years old to 45 years old, while males were allowed to continue until the age of 55 to 60, PAL showed themselves as sexist on top of being ageist,” de Jesus said.
For her part, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luz Ilagan said that it is also “abhorrent” that the PAL management deducts from a female cabin attendant’s years of service the number of days that she has gone on maternity leave, thereby cutting down on the benefits that are rightfully due them as employees. “Depriving PAL flight attendants of this right is outright inhuman. The PAL management is proving itself to be not just anti-worker but anti-women as well.”
“The PAL management should not be allowed to get way with its violations and it is high time that the Aquino government interfere in order to put a stop to PAL’s discriminatory and unfair labor policies. There are a host of laws out there to protect women workers such as the Labor Code, the Magna Carta of Women and even the 1987 Constitution recognizes the primordial role of women in nation building and the fundamental equality before the law of women and men (Section 14, Article II),” said Ilagan who is among the authors of the Magna Carta of Women.
The two solons called on PAL to stop its anti-women policies. “Gabriela Women’s Party opposes the Neanderthal use of women as sex objects. These female flight attendants are first and foremost safety personnel and should not be used as eye candy for male passengers and they should not be treated as slaves.”