Bus operators want wage scheme to pay drivers more

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BUS operators said one of the flaws of the part-fixed and part performance-based salary scheme being enforced by the labor department is the failure to recognize the need to pay bus drivers more than conductors.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) is in the process of consulting stakeholders on its plan to eliminate performance-based compensation for bus employees. The old pay scheme, the so-called “boundary” system, is thought to have encouraged reckless behavior on the part of bus drivers and conductors, who speed between pickup points and linger there to maximize their passenger haul.

The operators aired their concerns at a consultation conducted by DoLE.

Provincial Bus Operators Association Executive Director Alex Yague said drivers need to be paid more than conductors because of their greater responsibilities, noting that the pay differential is about 2 to 3%.

Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III said that bus operators and their employees can come up with their own wage agreements as long as they are compliant with Department Order (DO) 118-12, which was first issued seven years ago.

DO 118-12 only 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. The performance-based wage component is computed as the current average daily earnings minus the fixed wage.

Last month, 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 operators and owners need to submit to their respective Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) their proposed compensation schemes. — Gillian M. Cortez