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SC voids CBA provision setting lower retirement age for female crew than male

The Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional a clause in a collective bargaining agreement that set a lower mandatory retirement age for female flight attendants than for male cabin crew.

In a statement released Thursday, the SC said it unanimously declared unconstitutional Section 144(A) of the 2000-2005 CBA between Philippine Airlines and the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines.

Section 144(A) sets the compulsory retirement age for female cabin attendants at 55 years old and male cabin attendants at 60 years old.

The case stemmed from a 2019 petition filed by female cabin attendants of the airline.

PAL said it had yet to receive a copy of the high court's decision.

"PAL is yet to receive a copy of the reported Supreme Court decision, which pertains to retirement provisions in previous CBAs that were mutually negotiated and entered into by PAL and FASAP. The case was filed in 2004 by 10 union members," it said in a statement.

However, PAL management said it signed a new CBA with FASAP on June 1, 2022, which sets the retirement age at 60 “for all cabin crew members, affirming the principle of parity for PAL crew regardless of gender.”

The airline’s management said the agreement was made following the successful restructuring process in 2021.

“Prior to the 2022 CBA, PAL observed the retirement age of 60 for cabin crew, in compliance with a DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) decision issued in April 2011,” it said. 

According to the Court, it found insufficient proof to support the conclusion that female attendants aged between 55 to 59 did not have “the necessary strength to open emergency doors, the agility to attend passengers in cramped working conditions, and the stamina to withstand grueling flight schedules.”

The Court said the petitioners were denied employment opportunities at an age “not young enough to seek for a new job but not old enough to be considered retired.”

It added the petitioners were deprived of benefits such as income and medical benefits without any factual basis.

The SC said Associate Justices Jhosep Lopez and Japar Dimaampao took no part while Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando was on wellness leave. —with Ted Cordero/AOL/VBL, GMA Integrated News