13-Sep-2010 11:02 AM

Government develops contingency plans for PAL strike

The PhilippinesDepartment of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has started to develop contingency plans ahead of a possible strike by Philippine Airlines cabin crew after President, Benigno Aquino III, called on PAL and the union to resolve the issue (GMANews.TV, 11-Sep-2010/Manila Times, 12-Sep-2010). The department also stated there is still no definite policy on President Aquino’s proposed plans for an open skies policy in the country, despite the President stating on 10-Sep-2010 the government has secured a notice from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to allow other carries to handle PAL passengers. DOTC spokesperson, Dante Velasco, stated plans to open the Philippines' skies are “easier said than done” and that any deals made under an open skies agreement would need to comply with the 1987 Constitution’s requirement of “reciprocity” (Manila Times, 13-Sep-2010). Tourism Secretary, Alberto Lim, stated the Philippines Government should prepare to request foreign carriers to increase frequencies to/from the country in the event the Flight Attendants' and Stewards' Association of the Philippines (FASAP) goes ahead with strike plans (The Associated Press, 10-Sep-2010). The union filed a notice of strike on 09-Sep-2010, but PAL management still has 30 days to settle the issue before the industrial action can commence. President Aquino has ordered the Department of Labour and Employment, DOTC and Executive Secretary, Paquito Ochoa, to assist in negotiations between PAL and FASAP to ensure a favourable agreement (The Daily Tribune, 11-Sep-2010). FASAP stated it would resume talks with PAL on 13-Sep-2010 (Gulf News, 12-Sep-2010).

Philippines’ Department of Transportation and Communications: “We allow airlines from abroad to land on our airports and allow our own carriers to land at their airports. Reciprocity is enshrined in our Constitution. The government can work towards an open-skies policy, but there are a lot of things to be done … The seats PAL can provide for foreign destinations must be reciprocal to the seats foreign carriers can provide for Philippine-bound flights. We are studying the details of the matter … I agree with the President on the open-skies policy, but we’re a long way from being there. Of course we are still hoping PAL management and the attendants can thresh out their differences,” Dante Velasco, Spokesperson. Source: Manila Times, 13-Sep-2010.

Philippines Government: “There has been a notice by the CAAP to other airlines of potential slots that they will be given to replace the slots that PAL will not be servicing if they [FASAP] go on strike. On top of that the review of the open skies is being fast-tracked and, if it is necessary, we will [implement] it to minimise disruption to the riding public … At the end of the day, I guarantee you, we will not sacrifice the public interest and if I am to choose between PAL and the Filipino people I think the choice is obvious so I have to remind them of that,” Benigno Aquino III, President. Source: The Daily Tribune, 11-Sep-2010.

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