By Leslie Ann Aquino
As government authorities step up bio-security efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) has called on the government and airline industry players to ensure that safety and health protection protocols are working not just for passengers but also for cabin crew and airport employees.
The country’s biggest federation of unions said this is because these workers are the first line of defense against the spread of the transmittable coronavirus.
“One of the most difficult parts of the job for cabin crew in ensuring an orderly, safe, and healthy flight throughout the duration of the journey, for example, is to deal with difficult or unruly infected passengers,” ALU National Executive Vice President Gerard Seno said in a statement.
“To help workers perform under pressure, guarantees of enhanced protection from risk of exposure for these workers must be in place.”
Seno said there is also a need to make sure that workers have employment social protection insurance coverage and that emergency health facilities are provided considering the risks they face in performing their jobs.
The group also lauded the airlines for immediately issuing memoranda allowing cabin crew to wear company-provided protective face masks at the onset of the outbreak as primary protection against the risk of exposure to the virus, particularly on flights to and from at-risk destinations.
“We commend them for doing the right thing. These are measures that enhances the employees’ confidence and boosts their morale in doing their jobs under these unusual working days,” Seno said.
Meanwhile, Trade Union Congress of the Philipines (TUCP) President and TUCP party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza said government measures to minimize exposure to the virus should not only cover passengers but also airport and seaport personnel, including those manning immigration counters.
He proposed that passengers coming from cities that have been infected by the virus have a separate arrival passageway, and that arriving aircraft be directed to a separate landing area for possible fumigation.