Philippine Airlines (PAL) is now implementing a company-wide workforce reduction program covering about 2,300 employees. This number amounts to approximately 30% of the airline’s workforce. The total includes firstly, voluntary separations. Following that, involuntary retrenchment. The affected personnel will continue to employment until mid-March 2021.
Before 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, significantly medical benefits, during the height of the pandemic. Frequent communication with employees kept them updated on the status of the company. The retrenchment program was communicated to employees as early as October 2020.
“This has been a tough and painful decision. For our colleagues who are leaving, rest assured that we are committed to supporting you through this transition. We extend to you our deepest gratitude for your years of hard work and dedicated service, and we will always cherish the ties you have established with the PAL family,” said PAL President Gilbert F. Santa Maria.
After a comprehensive system-wide review process, the retrenchment was carried out and is part of the company’s overall recovery initiatives amid the ongoing pandemic that has massively affected the global airline industry.
PAL operating fewer flights now
While demand for air travel slowly returns, the airline states that it is still far from pre-pandemic levels. PAL currently operates less than 30% of its typical pre-pandemic number of weekly flights, held down by lowered travel demand and travel restrictions worldwide and throughout the Philippines. Since March 2020, PAL has suspended capital expenditures, reduced management salaries, deferred lease payments and slashed non-essential expenses.
The affected employees will continue to receive their salaries and medical benefits until the effective separation date. Support includes outplacement assistance and employability initiatives to help ease the transition.
Meanwhile, PAL has assured its customers and partners that current operations will continue without disruptions. PAL will continue to increase international and domestic flights as demand recovers gradually.
In addition to regularly scheduled services, the flag carrier continues to mount select repatriation flights to help bring home stranded Filipinos from the Middle East, Europe, North America and all over Asia. PAL likewise operates all-cargo services to meet the public’s essential cargo transport needs and support economic supply chains. PAL will also be supporting the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines, once available.