Provincial bus operators on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the fixed salary scheme for public utility drivers pushed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
In a 24-page petition, bus operators asked the High Court to issue a temporary restraining order stopping Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz from implementing the drivers' fixed salary scheme or DOLE Department Order No. 118-12 Series of 2012, saying that it is illegal.
The Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association, Inc., Inter City Bus Operators Association, and City of San Jose del Monte Bus Operators Association argued that the fixed salary scheme violates the equal protection clause in the Constitution as it aimed "to cover only Metro Manila buses and not the entire transport sector throughout the country."
They also said that the DOLE order forces bus operators to abandon their existing hiring arrangements such as "payment by results or on commission basis", existing collective bargaining agreements, or other hiring practices not prohibited by law.
The bus operators argued that most of their hiring arrangements had been in place since time immemorial, and that these had in many instances proven to be better as it afforded them to give drivers and conductors pay higher than the minimum wage.
The petitioners also expressed fear that the DOLE order would infringe the prohibition against impairment of existing obligations in their employment contracts.
"(C)ollective bargaining agreements, especially those providing better or more benefits, are products of intense and lengthy negotiations between petitioners as employers, on one hand and the drivers and conductors, through their designated exclusive bargaining representatives, on the other," they said.
The associations also contended that the fixed salary scheme is cumbersome for bus operators as they are totally dependent on incomes derived from bus operation, which fares are keenly regulated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
Copyright 2012 - The Manila Times, Philippines