Philippine Airlines expects to turn over its ground handling activities in domestic stations to a third party service provider by next month after laying off 117 employees.
“We are still finalizing it, maybe by November,” PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said over the weekend.
Bautista said the company expects to incur savings with the manpower reduction as well as operational efficiency. He added no other employees would be laid off.
The layoffs will take effect November 9 and involve the payment of a separation package of 125 percent of monthly basic salary per year of service and a gratuity pay of P100,000.
The Philippine Airlines Employees Association last week filed a notice of strike with the Department of Labor and Employment after PAL terminated 117 employees
“We ask for the understanding of the public but a strike is necessary to defend the working conditions of PAL workers as the company is illegally interfering and coercing employees in the exercise of their constitutional right to self-organization,” Palea president Gerry Rivera said earlier. “Also the mass termination of more than 100 Palea members constitute another element of unfair labor practice.”
The union cited alleged unfair labor practice as basis for the strike. Palea under the law has 15 days before it can actually hold a strike.
PAL on Sept. 2 sent notices of termination to 117 employees, almost all Palea members. The notice cited an alleged organizational restructuring which had rendered “several positions in the company redundant.”
Rivera dismissed the redundancy claim, saying the workers to be retrenched would be replaced by new employees from agencies.
“The new round of layoffs is another wave of contractualization, changing regular unionized workers with contractual employees using agencies who will be paid less in wages and benefits,” he said.
Rivera said PAL was laying off workers at a time when PAL was registering huge profits.
PAL’s parent firm, PAL Holdings Inc., recorded a consolidated total comprehensive income of P5.94 billion in the first half of the year, up 1,500 percent from just P362.4 million year-on-year.
Total revenues in the first half rose 14 percent to P55.95 billion from P48.95 billion a year earlier. Revenues in the second quarter reached P28.09 billion, up 2.9 percent from P27.23 billion.
“While the notice states that the termination shall be effective on November 9, most of the employees who were notified were dismissed immediately upon being served. They were no longer allowed to work, as soon as they had been given the notice. Contractual employees with security escorts were already on standby and immediately replaced the terminated employees,” Rivera said.