PAL to dialogue with union for spinoff, transition plans
MANILA, Philippines–Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Thursday said it would invite leaders of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) for a dialogue to discuss the smooth and orderly implementation of the spinoff program.
The flag carrier made the announcement following the release by Malacanang of a resolution upholding the flag carrier’s prerogative to spin off its catering, groundhandling and call center reservations units.
In a statement, PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the PAL management also plans to hold town hall meetings in the affected departments to discuss the mechanics of the spin off. Primers will also be distributed to guide workers on how to avail of their retirement benefits and gratuity pay which will be processed on a “first come, first served” basis.
Malacanang’s decision, the statement added, further validated the airline management’s plan to spin off non-core units and transfer these functions to third party service providers. No firm date has yet been announced as to when the spinoff will be implemented.
PAL is allocating approximately P2.5 billion in severance benefits for the workers of three non-core units to be spun off. Based on the Oct. 29, 2010 order of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, affected workers will receive separation pay equivalent to 1.25 months’ salary for every year of service, P50,000 cash as gratuity pay and other non-cash benefits. Malacañang earlier granted an additional P50,000 as gratuity pay.
The statement stressed that the spinoff plan – a measure intended to stabilize PAL’s finances due to the lingering effects of the global recession – had been affirmed as a valid and legitimate exercise of management prerogative. It will be recalled that the airline lost US$312-million for its 2008 and 2009 fiscal years. While it posted profits of US$72.5-million in 2010, it is again back in the red after registering US$10.6-million losses for the first quarter of its current fiscal year.
PAL’s spinoff program was first upheld by acting labor secretary Romeo Lagman on June 15, 2010; recognized as legal and valid by Baldoz on Oct. 29, 2010; and twice sustained by the Office of the President on March 25, 2011 and August 11, 2011, respectively.
Several workers of the affected units have already expressed interest to avail of the package while the three independent service providers await the smooth transition of operations, the statement said.
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