Workers of Valisno Bus Company who have found themselves displaced after the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) slapped a 30-day preventive suspension on its entire bus fleet over the road accident involving one of its buses that killed four passengers and injured 16 others will be provided livelihood assistance by the DOLE, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said yesterday.
“DOLE Regional Director Anna Dione is sending her Quick Response Team today to the bus company to profile the displaced workers and to see what appropriate livelihood can be extended to them,” said Baldoz, saying this was what the DOLE has done in the case of the workers of the Don Mariano Transit Corporation one of whose buses had figured in a similar accident in 2014.
“I have also directed the regional office to file a report if the bus company has been assessed and issued a Labor Standards Compliance Certificate (LSCC) under Department Order No. 118-12,” she added, referring to the Rules and Regulations Governing the Employment and Working Conditions of Drivers and Conductors in the Public Utility Bus Transport Industry.
D.O. 118-12, whose objective is to contribute towards ensuring public road transport safety by improving the working conditions, compensation, and competence of public utility bus drivers and conductors, requires bus owners/operators to pay their drivers and conductors performance-based compensation on top of a fixed wage.
“Bus drivers and conductors must be paid a part-fixed, part-performance-based wage under D.O. 118-12, with the fixed part not lower than the applicable minimum wage and the performance-based compensation based on a mutually-agreed upon formula based on safety and business performance, such as ridership, revenues, profitability, and other related parameters.
D.O. 118-12 also mandates bus owners/operators to pay their drivers and conductors wage-related benefits, such as overtime pay, holiday pay, premium pay, 13th month pay, and service incentive leave pay; social security and welfare benefits; separation or retirement pay; and other benefits under existing laws.
It also prescribes the hours of work of bus drivers and conductors; and the manner and procedures of terminating bus drivers and conductors.
On the issue of hiring bus drivers, Baldoz said abides by the doctrine of management prerogative, where every employer has the inherent right to regulate, according to his own discretion and judgment, all aspects of employment, including hiring, work assignments, working methods, the time, place and manner of work, work supervision, transfer of employees, lay-off of workers, and discipline, dismissal, and recall of employees.
“The only limitations to the exercise of this prerogative are those imposed by labor laws and the principles of equity and substantial justice,” she said.
On the issue on whether or not bus drivers and conductors are entitled to their salaries and other benefits during the pendency of the suspension of operations, such as the case of Valisno Bus Company, she said the policy of “no work, no pay”.
“There is no provision in the Labor Code that requires an employer to pay the wages/salaries of drivers and conductors during the pendency of the suspension of bus operations imposed by LTFRB due to accident,” she said.
Finally, Baldoz said the DOLE shall coordinate with the LTFRB on the matter of appropriate sanction, such as the possible cancellation of the bus owner’s franchise in case of violations of the provisions of D.O. 118-12.