Bus Drivers and Conductors Fixed Salaries (Regular Pay Scheme) - Issues and Dilemma

Manila, Philippines -- Some bus drivers and conductors might be seeing a ray of light out of their long time struggle in the transport operation industry. News has it that at least five (5) government agencies are in the process of inspecting the operation of the bus companies in Metro Manila in relation to their compliance to a labor department order (DO) requiring a regular pay scheme for drivers and conductors. The said DO is said as effective starting this month.


(Photo: http://qwertyatty.wordpress.com)

The inspecting agencies are the following:
  1. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
  2. Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)
  3. Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
  4. National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC)
  5. Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) revealed that it will be leading eight (8) teams, which will be comprised by representatives from the above-mentioned agencies, to inspect the workplaces of the 158 bus companies operating in the metro, to determine their level of compliance with the Department Order 118-12.


(Photo: http://twicsy.com)

Department Order 118-12 (DO 118-12) was issued by Labor Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz on Jan. 13, 2012. Stipulated under it are a set of:
  1. Minimum number of working hours
  2. Minimum wage and benefits, and;
  3. Occupational safety standards for bus drivers and conductors
DO 118-12 states that the compensation is a mix of "fixed and partly performance-based". As per NWPC guidelines, it should in no case lower than the considered mimimum wage in the country, i.e. Basic Wage + Cost of Living Allowance, assuming the work is done during normal hours or days. Workers 1) 13th month pay 2) holiday pay and 3) other wage-related benefits are also included in the list.

DOLE and its collaborating line agencies are optimistic that the bus operators will comply with the required pay scheme by midyear. Although, initially, that is roughly 4 months after the issuance of the order, only eight (8) bus companies complied.

Dilemma between government's mandate and private entities rights
With this kind of phase, having them all compliant by the end of 2012 is kind of far-fetched. This move entails thorough consideration of many intervening factors such as hiring arrangements between the drivers, conductors and operators prior to the passing of DO 118-12, proper consultation of the government with the stakeholders, as well as establishment of optimal rate of compensation to be adopted. These things and a lot more in the realm of give and take between public interests and private business ideals is what consist the line up of phenomenon to scrutinize very carefully.

This Regular Pay Scheme for bus drivers and conductors prompted the bus operators to pass a petition to the supreme court with the urge to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO), citing that the order is unconstitutional.

On the other hand, DO 118-12 or Fixed Salaries for bus drivers and conductors is seen by the MMDA as a way to "tame" reckless bus drivers in the metropolis. Here are the statements of MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino:
I commend the Department of Labor and Employment, especially Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, for her unstinting support for the bus drivers’ rights to a fixed salary, rest days, overtime and night differential and other benefits mandated by the Labor Code. This will significantly reduce the reckless and risk-taking behavior of drivers due to lack of income security.
While bus drivers used to race in the streets to get more passengers in order to satisfy their boundary requirement, giving them fixed salaries every end of the month is seen as a way to reduce road accidents.

But then again, this tug of war between rights and mandates goes a bit further from what we can see at the first glance. Had we not relaxed in the approval of franchises and routes in the country, this mess might not be this tough. Now, we have been crying over spilled milk that these buses have morphed into flying coffins in the metro's major thoroughfares, yet we can't come up with a decision tool to manage or even regulate their proliferation. We can't even establish a unified and authoritative transport data in the strictest sense of the word.

And yes, I would rather rest my case with the political will thing. All of us know that almost everything we got is highly politicized.

Had we not opt to be lenient in our license application approval, those repeatedly erring drivers could have been prevented from spreading accident terror in the streets.

We need a major attitudinal change. I've ridden buses in Japan and even drove on some of its sub and urban roads; Buses ply the roads with ease - seemingly in a very relaxed mode, trying to deliver their passengers to their respective homes. Bus units in the cities are very spacious, in a way that a disabled person on wheel chair can easily board and alight at the designated stops. No honks and flashing of headlights. If there is, it is very occasional. The drivers are very courteous. They know how to stay in their lanes and you can rarely see overtaking vehicles, except perhaps when very necessary.

A quick reflection but really, we need to step up wisely from this chaos that we created ourselves, out of various personal interests and reasons.

Grace Period for Bus Companies
Ms. Baldoz of the DOLE said, the department will give grace period to companies that are willing to implement the order. They will have an allowance time until the end of July.
The willingness to comply is important... We will give an allowance because this is a change in system... The LTFRB compliance after all is up to end of July
On another note, Director Nicon F. Fameronag of the Labor communications office revealed in a phone interview that:

..there will be about 40 firms whose franchises will expire by the end of this month.
This will be another war of rights and such, for sure.

So what do you think about fixed salary for bus drivers and conductors? Do you think it will work? Take away the comment box for your thoughts and opinions!

Source: http://www.bworldonline.com

2 comments:

  1. This should be a welcome development and should be timely enough, now drivers won't have to be too speeding and careless on the streets just to meet 'boundaries', just to increase their day's pay.

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  2. Anonymous7/10/2012

    OK na sana kaya lang di pwede sa flyover mga bus, nu ba iniisip ng MMDA, eh lalong naging worse ang traffic specially for the riding public. Favors are made for the vehicle owners lang, kung wala kang kotse magtiyaga kang magbuno sa haba ng pila ng MRT o di kaya, mag day dream ka habang nakasakay sa bus sa bagal ng usad nito dahil nga di na pwede sa (most) of the flyovers, mga kasama natin sa MMDA, nagbabayad din kami ng TAX kahit wala kaming sariling sasakyan, bigyan nyo rin sana kami ng pabor.....

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