At 7:00 AM today, workers struck against PNCC Skyway in response to Citra’s questionable take over of Skyway operations on 1 January 2008 and to oppose the signing of the Amended the Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement (ASTOA).
PSC Employees Union (PSCEU) and the Traffic Management and Security Department Workers’ Organization (PSTMSDWO) jointly announced that, “this is a strike for trade union rights, job security and the public’s right to an effective and accessible public utility.”
Denouncing the take over as “union busting”, the workers said the mass termination issued by Skyway is aimed at undermining the workers’ resistance to the ASTOA.
“It is unconscionable and disgusting how the management of Skyway Corp., Citra and the PNCC have remained callous to our demands for the retention of all its workers,”
said Jose Apollo Ado, president of PSCEU.
According to the PSCEU and the PSTMSDWO, the ASTOA had been negotiated and signed behind workers’ backs. “The ASTOA was negotiated to take out the unions in Skyway to allow Citra to replace us,” Ado said.
More than 800 workers will be laid off as Citra takes over the Skyway.
Both the PSCEU and PSTMSDWO said that the Citra takeover is harmful not only for the workers, but for the general public as well.
“While we face the grim reality of joblessness by the New Year, the riding public would also be slapped with higher toll fees as Citra would be allowed to jack up its collection by up to 150%,”
said Rene Soriano, president of the PSTMSDWO.
The ASTOA also allows Citra to increase toll rates on an annual basis and it includes a provision on “base adjuster’ for peso-dollar fluctuations.
“No thanks to the ASTOA, the Skyway will be the 2nd most expensive tollway in the world, next to Aqualine of Japan” Soriano added.
Furthermore, the Philippine government is obligated to take over the project roads, assume all attendant liabilities and pay just compensation to the company in the event of, among others, non-implementation of initial and/or periodic toll rate adjustment.
“In other words, Citra is guaranteed of profits whether or not it is competent to run the Skyway,” Ado said.
Both the PSCEU and PSTMSDWO vow to sustain their strike not only to save the union and their members’ jobs but also to force the renegotiation of the ASTOA. Joining them in the picket lines are hundreds of workers belonging to the Alliance of Progressive Labor and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).
PSCEU is an affiliate of the Workers Solidarity Network (WSN), which in turn is affiliated to the APL while the PSTMSDWO is affiliated to the BMP.