Once again, hundreds of workers belonging to the rank and file, supervisory and security guards’ unions in the PNCC Skyway today picketed their company’s head office to continue their protests against the planned layoffs connected to the transfer of Skyway operations to Indonesian-owned Citra and to denounce the secret negotiations between PNCC and CITRA to amend the Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement (STOA) that governs the administration of Skyway. The 3 unions in Skyway have joined forces to fight their management.
“The secret negotiation between PNCC, CITRA and Skyway is inimical to the interests of the riding public and of the workers of Skyway,” said Jose Apollo Ado, president of PSC Employees Union (PSCEU). “This deal underlines the fact that it is the public which will bear the price for this transfer,” he added.
“A new STOA will not only lead to unnecessary retrenchments but would also allow CITRA to increase toll rates without the benefit of a public hearing,” Ado said.
“The amendment of the STOA should have undergone public consultations,” Arnel Gomez, president of the PSC Supervisors’ Union (PSCSU), explained. “But instead they are working quietly to crush dissent, as represented by the workers’ unions, and eventually impose private interests over unsuspecting motorists.”
“The PNCC, CITRA and Skyway Corp are riding roughshod over workers interests now with their refusal to answer for what happens to our ranks,” Rene Soriano, president of the Traffic Management and Security Department Workers’ Organization (PSTMSDWO). “So imagine how arbitrary and arrogant the Skyway management will be if we let this pass.”
“This union-busting scheme, to retrench Skyway workers and hire new, most likely contractual workers under CITRA is one reason why privatization schemes have worked to the disadvantage of workers,” Ado argued. “The overriding concern is appeasement of investors and not the welfare of workers,” he added.
“We will continue this fight and bring all means available forward to challenge the Skyway Corp and Citra’s abuse of labor rights,” said Ado. Should it be necessary, all three unions, PSCEU, PSCSU and PSTMSDWO, have agreed to launch simultaneous strike actions.