Sunday, December 22, 2019

Labor group opposes displacement of Angkas riders

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) expressed support for the riders of Angkas who are facing displacement due to a cap set by the Land Transportation and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). The LTFRB Technical working Group has reduced the number of riders from Angkas to 10,000 from 27,000 by the start of the 2020. Angkas riders launched a massive protest from White Plains to Quezon Circle today.

“We call on the LTFRB to withdraw its decision. Almost 20,000 Angkas riders are facing a sad Christmas and a bleak new year. Fostering competition in the motorcycle taxi sector is good but it should not lead to massive dislocation of riders. These Angkas riders have already went through months of training and practical experience in plying motorcycle taxis. Only for them to end up jobless due to a LTFRB decision,” asserted Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

Fortaleza spoke this afternoon as an assembly of riders in Malolos, Bulacan. Many of the riders in the Malolos assembly joined the Angkas riders protest in Metro Manila.

PM has a history of solidarity with riders’ issues and struggles as it considers them as workers. Aside from the legalization of the motorcycle taxi, PM has supported the fight of riders against the plaka vest and the doble plaka.

“We also call on the Department of Labor and Employment to study the employment relations in the TNVS sector, including motorcycle taxis, and issue appropriate regulations. While companies like Angkas and Grab treat their drivers as independent contractors, we believe this is a misclassification as they should be categorized as employees with concomitant rights. The government must support the transition of riders and drivers from the informal to the formal sector. Thus this is not just a question of livelihood but also of labor standards and workers’ rights,” insisted Fortaleza.

He explained that “Workers comprise 99% of motorcycle riders in the country. The transportation sector is the second biggest employer in the service industry with a total workforce of 3.2 million o o 7.8 per cent of the total employed persons in 2018. Motorcycles are popular with the working masses, both in the formal and informal economy. It is cheap and convenient for going to and from work and as a vehicle for livelihood.”

According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are already 6.2 million registered motorcycles and tricycles as of 2013. The number is growing fast. More than 2 million motorcycles were registered just in the first 10 months of 2018. ###

22 December 2019

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