Slowdown, delays hit PAL flights

Published by rudy Date posted on April 6, 2011

A SLOWDOWN by Philippine Airlines’ ground workers throttled its operations Tuesday, causing 14 flights to be delayed and one to be canceled.

At Terminal 2 in Manila, the flights to Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei were delayed for an average of 30 minutes, the flight operations divisions said.

The PR511 flight to Singapore was canceled due to a problem with the aircraft. The passengers on the return flight were transferred to another plane to Manila.

A number of domestic flights to Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro were also delayed for an average of 30 minutes as they awaited air traffic control clearance.

The carrier’s ground workers are disputing its decision to outsource some of its services, saying that would result in the layoff of thousands of them. They also claim that the airline has been refusing to bargain.

The airline says it needs to outsource those services to stay in business, adding the workers to be laid off will receive generous separation packages and be rehired by the outsourcing companies. It disagrees that it has been refusing to bargain.

The airline on Tuesday assured its passengers it was ready for the worst, and that it had contingency plans to minimize flight disruptions in case its ground workers walked out.

“Many PAL administrative employees, and even union members themselves, believe that a strike will not do the company any good. As such, they are ready to man posts to be vacated by protesting workers,” airline president Jaime Bautista said.

“We apologize to our passengers for whatever anxiety and inconvenience the threats of work stoppage have spawned. Rest assured we are doing everything we can to ensure that your flights will proceed as scheduled.”

Bautista said the planned strike had no legal basis.

“First, it’s not true that management refuses to convene negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement as claimed by the PAL Employees Association,” he said.

“Second, the union’s claim that there is no justifiable reasons for the spin-off of three units—airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations—likewise has no leg to stand on.” –Manila Standard Today

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