Erring bus firms warned
July 31 deadline for implementing fixed wages systemBy Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Bus operators in Metro Manila have until the end of the month to comply with the new salary scheme for their drivers and conductors or they might end up being stripped of their franchise, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) warned Monday.
According to labor department spokesperson Nicon Fameronag, the owners of the 158 bus firms in the metropolis have until July 31 to implement the “two-tier” wage system for 10,476 bus drivers and a similar number of conductors and apply for a Labor Standards Compliance Certificate (LSCC). (See related story below.)
Should they fail to comply with both requirements, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) could revoke their franchise, he said.
Fameronag reported that as of Monday, only 50 of the 158 bus companies—which account for 5,238 buses plying 58 routes—had implemented the new pay scheme.
Two bus firms, Safeway Bus Lines Inc. and Franvill Transit Inc., were set to receive their LSCC Monday afternoon.
Under the two-tier system, bus drivers and conductors will receive fixed wages and performance-based bonuses. It does away with the “boundary” system in which a driver’s daily earnings consist of what is left after he remits the boundary—a fixed amount which he pays to the vehicle owner.
Fameronag said that starting today, DOLE, LTFRB, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority would send teams to bus companies to ensure their compliance with the new compensation system.
He added that erring bus companies would be issued an order of compliance and given a grace period of five days.
On top of the possibility of having their franchise revoked, these firms could also be penalized by DOLE for violating labor standards, Fameronag said.
At the same time, he dismissed suggestions that the new pay scheme would not rid the streets of reckless bus drivers as he stressed that the performance-based compensation scheme would encourage them to improve their driving record.
According to Fameronag, the incentive pay will be given only to drivers who do not get involved in accidents or have numerous traffic violations.
Executive director Ciriaco
Lagunzad Jr. of the NWPC, meanwhile, said that bus companies would not be allowed to apply for exemption from the new pay scheme.
“The DOLE department order contains provisions that are based on existing labor standards and laws… [which are] enforced in all other industries in all regions of the country. The public bus transport industry is not exempted from these laws,” he said.