By Erma Edera
Bus operators claimed that the part-fixed and part performance-based salary scheme being enforced by the labor department failed to recognize the need to pay bus drivers more than conductors.
According to Provincial Bus Operators Association (PBOA) Executive Director Alex Yague, drivers should be paid more than conductors because of their greater responsibilities, noting that the pay differential was about 2 to 3 percent.
“The bus operators in Metro Manila have a different working condition of provincial operators…let us localize. One for Metro Manila, one for Metro Cebu or Davao. If we make the guidelines the same for all [bus firms], it will be very hard for companies to comply,” Yague said.
Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III said that bus operators and their employees could make their own wage agreements as long as they are compliant with Department Order (DO) 118-12.
DO 118-12 requires that the fixed-wage component of employee compensation must be agreed upon by the bus operator, owner, driver and conductor and should not be below the prescribed minimum wage.
Meanwhile, the performance-based wage component is being computed as the current average daily earnings minus the fixed wage.
Lagunzad noted that while DOLE will still be open to improving the guidelines for the new pay system, and that they will not suspend its enforcement.
“What we are doing has the necessary legal basis…We will implement while ensuring business will grow at same time protect the welfare of workers,” Lagunzad said.
On February, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) issued NWPC Guidelines No. 1, Series of 2019 which called for stricter enforcement of the wage system for the compliance of bus owners and operators.
Bus companies are required to submit to their designated Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPB) their proposed required compensation schemes.