Another strike at PAL feared 

A new labor dispute at the Philippine Airlines (PAL) could spark another strike, some Department of Labor and Employment officials said yesterday, as PAL management said that it cannot comply with the order of an arbiter of the National Labor Relations Commission to reinstate 1,400 cabin crewmembers. 

``The labor arbiter directed us to physically reinstate the 1,400 cabin crew members which is physically impossible now as we do not have enough routes to accommodate them,'' said PAL Vice President Manolo Aquino. 

Asked whether PAL will defy the order, Aquino said the management was studying its response to the order, including a possible appeal to the Supreme Court. 

The reinstatement of the cabin crewmembers terminated at the height of the pilots' strike that resulted in heavy financial losses to PAL was ordered by Labor Arbiter Jovencio Ll. Mayor who acted on the petition of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP). 

The labor arbiter also directed PAL to refrain from enforcing its retrenchment program insofar as it relates to members of FASAP. 

Some DOLE officials said they fear that the non-compliance of PAL management with the order would compel the FASAP to declare a strike. 

The flight attendants were among the 5,000 employes of PAL who were terminated following a cripping pilots' strike last month. 

FASAP President Roberto Anduiza said his group expect PAL to comply with the labor arbiter's order unless stopped by a higher authority. 

But he said the more PAL does not comply with it, the greater would be its responsibility and problem since the law provides that cost-saving measures, including leaves and job rotations, must first be exhausted before any crewmember is retrenched. 

``Retrenchment must be done in accordance with law, taking into consideration the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement in determining manpower requirements,'' Anduiza said. ``There must be a definite criteria in implementing retrenchment wherein fairness and impartiality would be assured.'' (E. T. Suarez) 

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