Thursday, May 19, 2011

PM welcomes MMDA proposal for fixed monthly salaries for drivers

Press Release
May 19, 2011

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) welcomed the proposal from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) of fixed monthly salaries for bus drivers and conductors instead of commission-based pay. The group also offered to involve labor leaders in the inspections that the MMDA and the Department of Labor and Employment plan to conduct tomorrow in bus terminals.

Renato Magtubo, PM chair. meanwhile slammed bus operators for opposing the fixed income scheme. “We ask the bus operators to moderate their greed in interest of road safety and workers welfare. Bus companies have the gall to say that drivers and conductors might reject the fixed income proposal because it will reduce their pay when in fact it is they who oppose it because it will diminish their profit,” Magtubo explained.

“The death of journalist and professor Chit Estella-Simbulan would not have been in vain if it leads to reforms in road safety such as better working conditions for drivers and conductors. As Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz had earlier ok’ed our proposal for labor groups to get involved in labor inspections, we now ask the DOLE and MMDA to immediately deputize labor leaders as labor inspectors before another commuter and worker is killed,” stated Magtubo.

PM had earlier called on the DOLE to deputize labor leaders as inspectors in the wake of the twin accidents at Eton construction sites in Makati and Quezon City. “Aside from the abusive commission-based pay, rampant contractualization at bus companies must also be addressed. Happy workers are hard and safe workers. Bus companies must realize that the increase in productivity in the long-term will make up for their short-term decrease in profit,” Magtubo asserted.

Gerry Rivera, president of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) called on bus drivers, conductors, mechanics and other workers to unionize. “A unionized establishment is a safe and satisfying workplace. We are willing to help fellow workers in the transport sector who will exercise their Constitutionally-protected right to organize. PALEA and the International Transport Federation will support them in this effort,” he elaborated.

PALEA is an affiliate of the ITF, a global union that represents some 4.6 million workers in the transport sector. In a hearing called by the House of Representatives Labor Committee on the labor row at Philippine Airlines, PALEA called on solons to pass a measure to mandate fixed income wages for bus drivers and conductors, and to report out the pending Security of Tenure bill. The latter bill seeks to curb contractualization in establishments, including the air and land transport.

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