SC withdraws order stopping DoLE fixed-wage scheme for bus driversBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday withdrew its earlier order preventing the implementation of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) order that fixes the wages of bus drivers and conductors.
The Supreme Court deferred the issuance of a status quo ante (SQA) order allowing the continued implementation of the commission basis scheme for bus drivers and conductors.
SC acting spokesperson Gleo Guerra explained that the high court wanted to hear first the side of the labor department.
In a resolution, the SC said it was deferring “the issuance of the status quo ante order and requir(ing) the respondents to comment within 10 days from notice hereof on the prayer for temporary restraining order.”
The high court’s ruling came a day after it issued an SQA that in effect stopped the implementation of the Department of Labor and Employment order.
Bus operators had 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 DoLE arrived at the scheme because of the prevalence of road accidents involving buses resorting to different schemes to be able to pick up as many passengers as possible since drivers and conductors are being paid on pure commission basis.