By EMMIE V. ABADILLA Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines – Answering claims of its cabin crew union, Philippine Airlines (PAL) said its flight attendants are well paid and receive some of the best benefits that are the envy of other Filipino workers. The actual gross monthly pay of a PAL cabin crew ranges from P33,000 to P75,000, inclusive of productivity pay and other allowances.“Officers of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) have not been forthright in informing the public of the real salaries and benefits that the PAL cabin crew receives,” PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna underscored. "FASAP claims their basic pay is below the government set minimum wage, but this is just a portion of their salary.”
“The truth is they receive much, much more," she added. "A domestic crew earns between P34,619 to P37,619 per month, including productivity pay, transportation allowance and rice allocation. An international cabin attendant receives P50,741 to P60,136, while a flight purser gets P67,880 to P73,570," according to Villaluna. While this salary range may be modest compared to the pay scale of giant carriers abroad, this is no small amount by Philippine standards. Hence, claims that PAL cabin crew are overworked and underpaid are not true.Their total pay is composed of the basic salary plus per diem allowances. When staying overnight at an international destination, they get $45-$70.
When on a technical stop, they get $100. In addition, they get $20 for every regional turnaround flight and P185 for every domestic flight. They receive additional pay for every hour in excess of their tour of duty, ranging from $50 + $20 for international flights to P1,250 per hour for domestic. They are likewise given first-class hotel accommodation at domestic and international stations. They also receive transportation allowance, or free pick-up from/to their residences, free meals in flight and on ground. They are entitled to crew shuttle to/from airport and have a thermal clothing allowance twice a year; shoe allowance of P1,200 for males, P800 for females, twice a year; uniform allowance from P11,022 to P16,376 every 18 months and are each given a suitcase costing from P1,563 to P3,647 which is replaced every 2 years. They have complete medical and dental coverage for cabin crew and their qualified dependents, plus 13th & 14th month pay.
Their unused days off as well as unused sick leave are converted to cash. On top of that, they have a perfect attendance award equivalent to one month pay + per diem and retirement benefits of 1.5 month for every year of service. "“All this time FASAP has been presenting to the public and the government a picture that is totally opposite reality. FASAP is free to show proof if the wages and benefits we have just revealed are not true," Villaluna said. PAL also urged FASAP to be truthful in presenting to the public the significant highlights of the four conciliation meetings brokered by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB).
"Instead of alarming our passengers with threats of strike, FASAP should at least disclose the exchange of proposals and counter-offers to show who was taking a hardline position during the conciliation meetings," she said. PAL’s offer of P80-million in additional salary plus P25 million in rice allowance (a total of P105 million), change in retirement age to 45 (from 40) and increase in the cabin crew’s maternity benefits were rejected by FASAP who insisted on their original positions before unilaterally declaring a deadlock in the negotiation.