SC stops wage scheme for bus drivers, conductorsBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines–The Supreme Court on Tuesday stopped the implementation of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) order fixing wages of bus drivers and conductors.
At a press conference, acting Public Information Chief Gleo Guerra said the high court has decided to issue a status quo ante meaning preserving the current situation where the bus drivers and conductors are receiving commissions.
“The SQA is issued to preserve the current situation. The status quo ante functions like a TRO,” Guerra said.
Guerra added that the bus drivers and conductors who no longer received their commission beginning July 1 when the DOLE order took effect will be paid their commissions.
Guerra said the DOLE and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are ordered to comment on the petition filed by bus operators.
In their petition, bus operators asked the high court to declare as unconstitutional the DOLE order setting up of fixed wages for bus drivers and conductors saying the order could lead to their bankruptcy.
Petitioners include the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP), Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association, Inc. (SOLUBOA), Inter-City Bus Operators Association (INTERBOA), City of San Jose Del Monte Bus Operators Association (CSJDMBOA).
Petitioners said the implementation of Department Order 118-12 the fixing of wages for bus drivers and conductors “could lead to their ultimate corporate demise.”
“The bus operators depend on their income solely on passenger fares that are not flexible enough to cope with changes in compensation schemes already in place,” the petition stated.
The fixed payment scheme sets a minimum wage, while the performance-based payment will be on a rate mutually agreed upon by the operators and the workers.
Under the new wage system, the drivers and conductors “should not earn lower than what they presently receive under the straight commission-basis. This is following the nondiminution principle.”
The order also calls for company safety and health programs, including measures against smoking, drugs, and the spread of AIDS, as well as antisexual harassment and disaster risk-reduction programs.
The DOLE arrived at the scheme due to the prevalence of road accidents involving busses who resorted to several schemes to gather passengers because drivers and conductors are being paid on pure commission basis.