PAL workers lose P600-m claim

Published by rudy Date posted on January 8, 2009

Employees of the Philippine Airlines have lost their bid for a court order to compel the Lucio Tan-owned airline to pay them P600 million in salary differentials for the 15-year period from 1989 to 1995.

The Court of Appeals said the claim of the PAL Employees Association for additional pay was based on a labor arbiter’s decision which was nullified by the National Labor Relations Commission.

The court’s special 11th Division through Associate Justice Isaias Dicdican upheld the ruling of the NLRC declaring as null and void the decision of labor arbiter Arthur Amansec dated May 12, 1994 mandating PAL to pay the airline employees their salary differentials based on their collective bargaining agreement.

The appellate court also stressed that the judgment which PALEA sought to be executed was already terminated and decided with finality by the Supreme Court on July 11, 1985.

The high court earlier pegged PAL’s liability to PALEA employees in the amount of P5.88 million, and not P600 million as the employees wanted.

The controversy arose from a labor strike more than 40 years ago held by PALEA to demand that PAL adopt the purportedly correct method of computing the basic daily rate of pay of its monthly salaried employees. PAL employees said the formula was to divide yearly or monthly salary by the actual number of working days in the year or the month and then divide the quotient thereof by 8, as basis in determining their overtime pay, night differential pay, Sunday and holiday pay, vacation and sick leave pay, and off-days pay.

PAL’s method of computation was to divide an employee’s yearly salary by 365 days.

In a resolution dated Dec. 22, 1980, the high court fixed with finality the liability of PAL under its final judgment in the amount of P5.88 million since, between PAL and PALEA, the former sufficiently substantiated its estimate of the salary differentials.

Subsequently, PALEA filed a petition to enforce final judgment before the labor arbiter asserting that the payment of P5.88 million was only a partial execution of the final judgment of the Court.

PALEA claimed that PAL did not comply with the formula adopted by the high court in the payment of the salaries of its covered employees starting from Oct. 1, 1963 up to the time when the petition was filed.

In affirming the NLRC decision, the CA said Amansec deviated from the terms and conditions of the judgment issued by the Court with finality.

“The judgment which PALEA sought to be executed was already terminated and deemed closed,” the appellate court said.–Rey E. Requejo, Manila Standard Today

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