A bus company whose operation was gravely affected by an ordinance of the City of Manila prohibiting the entry of public utility buses to the city, has agreed to pay P1,849,536 in a separation package to 18 of its workers leading to the settlement of a notice of strike filed by the workers’ union.

In a report to Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, NCMB OIC-Director Amorsolo V. Aglibut said that the Kilusang Manggagawa sa PV Pajarillo Liner, Inc. has agreed to a settlement of the dispute after NCMB-NCR Conciliator-Mediator Cynthia Forcadas has convinced the management of the bus company to improve the separation package it has offered to the 18 union members.

The union on 23 September 2013 filed a notice of strike against the management on the ground of unfair labor practice, specifically acts constituting union busting, illegal closure of business, and massive constructive dismissal.

In his report, Aglibut said the initial conference that Concliator-Mediator Forcadas convened mainly focused on the discussion on separation pay. The union initially proposed a separation pay of 25 days for each year of service. However, the owner of the bus company, Orlando Pajarillo, balked at such proposal, stating that the bus transport company’s closure was beyond his control, and that it ceased operation due to the implementation of the Manila City ordinance which the bus company obeyed. His offer was to pay the workers in accordance with the law, which was 13 days for every year of service.

“Despite the disagreement, the management empathized with the union and expressed its intention to grant the workers their separation pay” Aglibut said.

Seventy five percent of the union members accepted the company’s offer, but 18 workers refused and pushed for the improvement of the separation package. Several conciliation conferences ensued.

Finally, in a conciliation-mediation conference on 4 December 2013, the parties reached an agreement as follows: (1) Payment of separation pay of 13 days per year of service based on the minimum wage of P456. In the computation  of the separation benefits, a fraction of six months shall be considered a year of service; (2) the union agreed to lift its picket and remove all placards and streamers posted at the company premises; (3) initial payment of the separation package to be made on 6 December 2013 at NCMB-NCR office; and (4) the company also agreed to pay 50 percent of the benefit of one union worker, Elmer Cadag, who has more than P1 million damages charged against him. All damages chargeable against the other drivers shall be reduced by 50 percent.

The labor and employment chief commended conciliator-mediator Cynthia C. Foncardas for expediting the facilitation of the settlement, as well as the union members and the management for coming together to work out an amicable solution to the dispute.

“The expedient resolution of the case reflects the thrust of the DOLE-NCMB conciliators and mediators to settle disputes amicably and peacefully. I fully believe that the speedy disposition of labor disputes through conciliation-mediation is the best antidote to protracted legalistic proceedings that do more harm than good,” Baldoz said.

PV Pajarillo Liner, Inc. is a bus transport company operating the Manila-Ayala route. Its union is basically composed of drivers, conductors, and maintenance personnel.

End/Stella P. Bañares

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