Court sanctions retirement of 8 PAL flight pursers

January 15, 2011 2:34 am 

By Mediatrix P. Cristobal

MANILA, Jan. 14 – Eight flight pursers of Philippine Airlines (PAL) will be retired by the airline management effective January 16, 2011 after a Makati court removed all legal obstacles for their separation from service upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 55.

PAL vice president for Human Resources Jose SL Uybarreta said the flight pursers were informed of their retirement shortly after Judge Oscar Pimentel of the Makati Regional Trial Court’s Branch 147 lifted an injunction order which earlier barred the airline from enforcing a provision of their 2000-2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement pegging at 55 the retirement age of female flight attendants hired before November 22, 1996.

To be affected by the retirement order are the following flight pursers: Yvette Grant, Vina Sanchez, Cora Mislang, Irma Bituin, Cristina Mendoza, Evangeline Bocobo, Mooning Noel and Maria Afable.

Uybarreta said the Makati court lifted the injunction order last January 4 after it was convinced that whatever damages may be sustained by the flight attendants – if it will be proven later that they should be retired at 60 – “may be computed, taking into consideration the salaries and benefits that they will earn if they retire at the age of 60, and not 55.”

However, the judge required PAL to post a P5-million counter-injunction bond to answer for any or all damages the flight attendants may sustain if the Court later determines that PAL is not entitled to the lifting of said injunction order.

Uybarreta said that contrary to claims by the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association (FASAP), the retirement order is not in defiance of the Department of Labor and Employment’s December 23 ruling setting the retirement age of female flight attendants at 60.

“The DOLE ruling on the FASAP case is not yet final and executory as PAL is seeking reconsideration of the same. Pending a final determination of the real mandatory retirement age, it is PAL’s position that the current retirement age brackets as outlined in the existing CBAs between PAL and FASAP should prevail,” he stressed.

“FASAP condemns PAL’s action when it is merely complying with the ruling of the Makati RTC, which, for all intents and purposes, is a valid and enforceable order as against the decision of Secretary Baldoz which is still under appeal,” said Uybarreta.

He stressed that it is absurd and contrary to common sense and established legal principles if PAL will not comply with Judge Pimentel’s order.

In July last year, the same court granted the petition of the eight pursers to stop PAL from retiring them at 55, claiming that said CBA provision is unconstitutional and discriminatory against women. (PNA) LAP/MPC


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