DOLE intervention sought on transport workers’ complaints

A lawmaker on Friday requested the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to intervene on complaints of workers under the Land Transportation Regulatory and Franchising Board (LTFRB) Service Contracting Program regarding delayed payments and other labor law violations.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda made the appeal following allegations that service contracting companies are “cheating their workers” out of wages and benefits and are retrenching them retaliatorily for voicing complaints.

In a letter to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Salceda said the workers complained that they have not received proper compensation on time and are not getting proper incentives for their services.

“I have asked Secretary Bello to intervene on behalf of the workers. It appears quite clear to me that there are grounds for investigation for possible labor law violations,” Salceda said. “They also allege that some of them have been retrenched, possibly in retaliation for complaining."

Salceda attached to the letter a signed statement from workers of ES Consortium at Mega Manila Consortium, stating that they have not been paid for 10 months and that onboarding incentives have not been granted to drivers and conductors.

He said a working service contracting program is critical to ensure the success of the government’s efforts to control inflation in the transport sector.

"The trust and confidence of workers in the program is essential in ensuring that they participate and deliver their services in a satisfactory manner. Your urgent intervention on this matter is crucial,” Salceda wrote Bello.

Salceda also cited posts from social media users showing service contracting drivers begging passengers to pitch in some fare.

“The situation really looks desperate. And if these workers don’t go to work, we will have a bigger transport problem on our hands. Transport is already the leading cause of inflation. We don’t want the problem to get any worse,” Salceda said.

The LTFRB said the “Libreng Sakay” (free ride) program and other services under the service-contracting program (SCP) served 81,444,168 passengers from April 3 to May 30.

To date, the program has expanded from the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) Busway to many parts of the National Capital Region and all other regions.

The riding public can expect more routes and more public utility vehicles (PUV) to join the SCP and its free ride program in other parts of the country.

Under the SCP, PUV drivers and operators who have joined the program can earn additional income based on how much they travel per week.

The program aims to help the transportation sector amid the rising prices of fuel and other goods.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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