Neil Jayson Servallos – The Philippine Star
March 10, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Women flight attendants have earned their victory after the Supreme Court (SC) voided a “discriminatory” provision in the 2000-2005 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines requiring women to retire earlier than men.
Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who wrote the decision of the SC in January and made public yesterday, said Section 144(A) of the CBA that set the compulsory retirement age of female cabin attendants at 55 years old and male cabin attendants at 60 was discriminatory and void for lack of basis.
The SC decided the case unanimously in favor of the women cabin attendants of PAL, emphasizing the fundamental equality of women and men before the law, which is guaranteed by the Constitution, the Labor Code, the Magna Carta of Women and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The cabin attendants filed a petition in 2019, arguing that the provision deprived them of employment opportunities at an age “not young enough to seek for a new job but not old enough to be considered retired.”
The SC found the provision to be void for lack of basis, discriminatory against women and contrary to laws, international conventions and public policy.
In its ruling, the SC found that PAL failed to provide a reasonable basis for differentiating compulsory retirement age based on sex, considering the constitutional guarantee of protection to labor and security of tenure.
The high court also found insufficient proof to support the conclusion that female cabin attendants between 55 to 59 years old did not have the “necessary strength to open emergency doors, the agility to attend to passengers in cramped working conditions and the stamina to withstand grueling flight schedules,” unlike their male counterparts.
Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier concurred with the opinion, while Associate Justices Jhosep Lopez and Japar Dimaampao took no part.