Published: July 2, 2012
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno slammed the Aquino government today for suspending the awarding of a bus corporation’s franchises to a buyer, siding with the company’s former workers who claim that payment for the franchises constitute payment for their labor claims.
Former workers of the Pantranco North Express, Inc., which was owned and controlled by the government when it went under in the late ’80s, are claiming that their ownership and subsequent sale of the company’s franchises is warranted by a National Labor Relations Commission decision in their favor.
Last week, Transportation and Communications secretary Mar Roxas suspended the awarding by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board of Pantranco’s franchises to a private buyer, questioning the legality of the move.
“The Aquino government is so pro-capitalist and anti-worker. It is inflicting injustice not only on present workers but also on former workers, like those of Pantranco. It is doing harm to workers who were wronged by the government and who fought for their rights for years,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“The franchises are the only remaining assets of Pantranco that can fulfill a 20-year old NLRC decision compensating workers for the injustice done to them. It is the height of insensitivity for Roxas and the Aquino government to just step in and deny the Pantranco workers what they rightfully deserve,” he added.
More than 2,000 workers from the Pantranco Employees’ Association (PEA) and the Pantranco Retrenched Employees’ Association (PANREA) sued the PNEI for payment of deficiency in the commission and payment for separation pay and other labor benefits respectively.
“Who is the Aquino government trying to favor with this move? Does it have an ally in the provincial bus industry who badly wants to expand his business at the expense of the Pantranco workers?” Labog asked.
“The former workers of Pantranco are already senior citizens and many among them have died fighting for justice. After suffering so much injustice at the hands of the government, which happens to be their former employer, they are now being denied justice by the Aquino government,” he said.
“We are calling on the former workers of Pantranco: stand your ground and continue to unite and fight. The Filipino workers and people are behind you in your most just struggle,” he added.