Labor groups urge government to hire PUVs during quarantine

Labor groups urged the government to implement a service contracting scheme where the government hires Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) operators during quarantine, to address both the problems of public transport and loss of livelihood.

The Move as One Coalition, made up of 134 civil service groups, said on Saturday, May 30, the government can pay drivers on a per kilometer fee to run some routes, so they wouldn't have to rely on the boundary system to earn during a lockdown where their capacity is limited anyway.

As Metro Manila eases into a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) starting Monday, June 1, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has proposed banning jeeps and buses due to the difficulty to control and monitor the number of passengers.

In other areas where jeeps are allowed, operators are facing difficulties because they have to obtain clearances per area per route.

“We propose to invest P30 billion to contract out thousands of PUVs nationwide. This will protect the jobs of our 2.7 million land transport workers in the country by providing them a stable source of income independent of the number of passengers they have,” the Move as One Coalition said. 

Pay cuts

Tthe Associated Labor Unions (ALU) also said on Saturday that workers have been suffering from cuts in their wages and benefits packages from as low as 6% to as high as 25% during the quarantine period.

ALU blamed it on Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issuances, particularly Department Order 213 that suspended labor dispute proceedings; and Labor Advisory No. 17 that allowed employers and employees to "voluntarily" adjust wages.

ALU said these have resulted in "wages and cuts in benefits without limitation including those wages and benefits negotiated under Collective Bagaining Agreement (CBA)."

"If these policies are not revoked, this trend will prevail and spread all over, creating a race to the bottom phenomena among the workforce at a time when business and labor should grow together," said ALU spokesperson Alan Tanjusay. 

Workers of many industries and sectors were allowed to return to work earlier in May when many areas were eased into lower forms of quarantine. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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