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PAL vows to assist retrenched workers

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In line with its retrenchment program caused by the pandemic, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Thursday said it is committed to providing fair treatment and assistance to dismissed personnel.

“We shall provide separation pay equivalent to one month pay for every year of service and shall also provide employee transition support including outplacement assistance,” PAL said in a statement.

“We are deeply grateful to all our employees for their years of valuable work and dedicated service, and will focus strongly on securing a full recovery so that PAL continues to serve our customers and the Filipino nation.”

PAL said it has completed the process of notifying the 2,300 affected employees as of February 4, and will continue to coordinate closely with all stakeholders, including the affected employees, the unions, and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The effective date of separation is on March 12, PAL added, “as we communicated in our notice to DOLE last February 1 that PAL will begin the process of notifying affected employees.”

The carrier said it appreciates the DOLE’s support and guidance since the start of the pandemic, “and we have regularly apprised DOLE officials of the significant challenges we faced, along with our efforts to preserve jobs and keep the flag carrier flying amid the substantial financial losses.”

PAL announced on Tuesday that it would slash its work force by about a third, as the airline could no longer sustain the costs associated with its limited operations due to the pandemic.

Gilbert F. Sta. Maria, the company’s president, noted that prior to the retrenchment, PAL chose to implement temporary furloughs and flexible working arrangements to hold off job cuts as long as possible and ensure that its employees continued to receive salaries and benefits, particularly medical benefits, during the height of the pandemic.

PAL said the retrenchment program, which was communicated to employees as early as October 2020, was carried out after a comprehensive system-wide review process.

The airline currently operates at less than 30 percent of its normal pre-pandemic capacity.

Sta. Maria noted that current operations will continue without disruptions and that the airline will “continue to gradually increase international and domestic flights as demand recovers.”

PAL Holdings Inc. recorded a comprehensive loss of P29.03 billion during in January to September 2020, more than three times larger than its losses of P7.86 billion the year prior, as the pandemic significantly reduced the demand for its passenger and ancillary services.

DOLE to ensure separation pay

In a statement, the Labor department said its regional office in the National Capital Region (NCR) is monitoring the plan of the flag carrier to lay off 2,300.

It said it will ensure the affected workers will get their separation pay.

They will also be provided with employment facilitation service and livelihood aid.  

DOLE made the assurance after meeting with the PAL management on Wednesday. 

Earlier this week, PAL announced its scheduled mass retrenchment as part of its cost cutting measures after its operations took a heavy toll from the movement restrictions due to the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. 

The retrenchment is expected to take effect after the middle of March of 2021. 

PAL is mandated to inform DOLE and the workers, who will be affected by the scheme, 30 days before effectivity of the termination.  

As of Feb. 3, 2021, Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said PAL has yet to file notice of termination.

With Samuel Medenilla  

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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