High Court stops fixed pay for drivers-A A +A
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
CEBU CITY – Some transport leaders in Cebu welcomed the Supreme Court’s (SC) order to stop the adoption of fixed salaries for bus drivers and conductors.
These workers will continue to earn on commission basis until the SC lifts its order against the implementation of Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) Department Order 118-12.
In a press conference Tuesday, SC acting public information officer Gleoresty Guerra said the court also ordered the Dole and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to comment on the petition filed by four bus operators’ associations in Metro Manila.
The Dole order began to take effect last July 1.
In their petition, the bus operators told the SC that the fixed salary scheme could drive them to bankruptcy.
Dole had said fixed salaries were needed because drivers, racing against time to make more trips and earn fatter commissions, were causing more accidents.
Dole-Central Visayas Director Gloria Tango said she has no copy yet of the SC order, but they will temporarily stop monitoring bus operators’ compliance with the fixed salary scheme.
Julito Flores, president of the Cebu South Mini-Bus Operators Association (CSMBOA), said both drivers and operators are happy about the development because they opposed the order from the beginning.
Flores said that mini-bus drivers earned P500-P700 a day and this would decrease to only P305 if the drivers were given a fixed minimum wage.
Richard Corominas, president of the Cebu Provincial Bus Operators’ Association (CPBOA), said they have complied with the minimum wage for drivers since July 1.
The LTFRB, he said, has informed them that their franchises would not be renewed if they failed to comply.
Last week, the bus operators’ associations behind the petition said the Dole order and the LTRFB Circular 2012-001 are unconstitutional.
“Usually, status quo ante (SQA) orders are issued to preserve the situation prevailing before the parties before the issuance of the assailed action. The court found that there is a need to first preserve the situation. The SQA, in effect, will function like a TRO (temporary restraining order) because it effectively enjoins the implementation of the Dole order,” Guerra said.
“We welcome this victory, but of course we’ll be happier if the Supreme Court will fully stop the assailed orders,” Leonides Respicio, counsel for the bus operators, said in a phone interview.
Under the Dole order, bus drivers and conductors will get fixed salaries not lower than the applicable minimum wage rate, one rest day a week, overtime pay, night shift pay, right to security of tenure, right to collective bargaining and self-organization and 13th month pay, among others.
Bus owners were given six months to comply with the order released last January, but the petitioners said that the labor department failed to consult the transport industry.
“The full compliance of the new rules is difficult, if not impossible, and it is feared, shall result in the cancellation or in the non-renewal of the Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC) of the petitioners, which would ultimately result in substantial, if not irreparable losses, maybe even to outright bankruptcy,” the petitioners said.
The petitioners are the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association Inc., Inter-City Bus Operators Association and the City of San Jose del Monte Bus Operators Association. (EOB of Sun.Star Cebu/With Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 11, 2012.