PCW denounces PAL’s discriminatory policies against female flight attendants

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) demands that the Philippine Airlines (PAL) ends the burden it has placed on its female flight attendants with its discriminatory policies. Sexism and gender discrimination are unjust reasons for women to lose their jobs.

PAL’s retirement schemes are blatant forms of discrimination. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of PAL and the Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (FASAP) imposes the 40-year mandatory retirement age of flight attendants. FASAP argues that the policy masks the disparate and gender-biased retirement ages in the previous labor agreement where female flight attendants hired before 1996 are forced to retire at 55, while the males at 60.

PAL’s absurd grooming standards for female flight attendants — sexy, exuberant, glamorous, and feminine — also negates the primary duty of flight attendants as safety professionals. The same standards also apply to those who have given birth giving them a hard time getting their jobs back.

The discrimination does not end there. The company forces a seven-month pregnancy leave without pay to pregnant flight attendants and the period is deducted from employee’s years of service, despite the provision in Article 133 of the Labor Code which gives “any pregnant woman employee who has rendered an aggregate service of at least six months for the last twelve months maternity leave of at least two weeks prior to the expected date of delivery and another four weeks after normal delivery or abortion with full pay based on her regular or average weekly wages.”

PCW will continue to help ensure that necessary actions are taken to end discrimination against women. In her letter to FASAP President Roberto Anduiza dates 13 May 2010, Director Emmeline Verzosa advised FASAP to make use of the Labor Code on Declaration Policy that governs the relationship between labor and capital as not merely contractual but must yield to the common good since they are so impressed with public interest.

PCW supports FASAP’s decision to no longer agree to a CBA without addressing age and gender discrimination issues. It is the moral responsibility of PAL management to implement the provisions of existing laws on employment and stop using the CBA against FASAP.

As the country’s premier flag carrier, PAL must carry the Philippines’ commitment to promote equality through all appropriate means. Gender, age, and looks are the least factors to be considered in staff recruitment, training, and promotion. The employee’s work performance is the basis for providing benefits an employee deserves to enjoy. We urge the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Gender Ombud, to investigate this case to end FASAP’s fight against discrimination of its woman members.