Pandemic forces PAL to cut 35% of workforce

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines will undergo a retrenchment program following a tumultuous year. 
| Inquirer.net photo by Juliet Javellana

PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) plans to lay off 35% of its workforce, the company announced on Monday, October 5.

Around 2,700 workers out of its total 7,800 workforce will be affected in the “first stage” of its downsizing initiative.

The national flag carrier also called on employees to apply for “voluntary separation.”
“The retrenchment is part of a larger restructuring and recovery plan as the flag carrier rebuilds its domestic and international network amid the global pandemic,” PAL said in a statement.

PAL’s retrenchment program will combine voluntary and involuntary measures to be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“PAL assured employees that the measures will be carried out in a fair manner that complies with all legal requirements and with support for outplacement assistance,” the airline said.

Since March 2020, PAL has suspended capital expenditures, adopted a skeletal workforce, reduced management salaries, and slashed non-essential expenses to control costs.
PAL’s shareholders, meanwhile, have infused additional capital to allow continued operations.

“At the height of the pandemic, PAL chose to implement temporary furloughs and flexible working arrangements to maintain jobs as long as possible,” the company said.

“However, the collapse in travel demand and persistent travel restrictions on most global and domestic routes have made retrenchment inevitable, with PAL currently operating less than 15 percent of its normal number of daily flights after eight months of lockdowns,” it added.

The airline also said it will continue mounting special repatriation flights to help bring home displaced Filipino migrant workers as well flying all-cargo services to meet the essential cargo transport needs of the public and support economic supply chains.

“PAL recently flew its second repatriation flight from Beirut carrying OFWs fleeing the troubled Lebanese capital,” PAL said.

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