MANILA -- The Supreme Court en banc has struck down a provision in the 23-year-old collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the management and workers of national flag carrier Philippine Air Line (PAL) mandating a lower mandatory retirement age for female flight attendants.

In a statement issued Friday, the SC said it has declared unconstitutional Section 144(A) of the 2000-2005 CBA between PAL and the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP), which pegged the compulsory retirement age of female cabin attendants at 55 years old and male cabin attendants at 60 years old.
The court said the provision "was deemed void for lack of basis, discriminating against women, and being contrary to laws, international convention, and public policy."

"The Court, speaking through Senior Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, emphasized the fundamental equality of women and men before the law which is enshrined and guaranteed by the Constitution, the Labor Code, the Magna Carta of Women, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women," the tribunal said.

Furthermore, the SC said PAL "failed to provide a reasonable basis for differentiating compulsory retirement age based on sex. It found insufficient proof to support the conclusion that female cabin attendants between 55 to 59 years old did not have the strength to open emergency doors, the agility to attend to passengers in cramped working conditions, and the stamina to withstand grueling flight schedules unlike their male counterparts.

The Court also ruled that petitioners were denied employment opportunity at an age “not young enough to seek for a new job but not old enough to be considered retired,” and deprived them of benefits attached to employment, such as income and medical benefits, five years earlier than their male counterpart, without any factual basis. (PNA)