Skyway workers press for jobs and union rights

Workers of the PNCC Skyway Corporation (PSC) continue to press on with their fight to retain their jobs even as the second conciliation hearing at the Department of Labor and Employment is set today between the workers and the PSC.

“PNCC and Citra have colluded to mass terminate us by January 31, 2008 peddling the lie that Skyway O & M Corporation or SOMCO – the new operators of Skyway – rehired 300 workers,” Jose Apollo Ado, president of the PSC Employees Union (PSCEU) said.

Ado said they have yet to see a PSC worker who has actually signed a new contract with SOMCO and as far as they know, only 100 of more than 800 regular employees were ‘offered’ to be rehired as contractual employees, contrary to the claims of PNCC and CITRA Metro Manila Tollways Corp.

“Once again, the PNCC is peddling lies no different from their promise that they will not sign an MOA with CITRA if the workers’ future is not secured. A few months later, all PSC workers were issued their walking papers,” Ado said

According to the union, Mr. Jojo Gaston, Senior VP for PNCC assured them as early as August 2007 that the PNCC will not sign an MOA with CITRA if the workers will not be absorbed under the new deal.

“The PNCC may insist that SOMCO absorb the workers like what happened in 2000 when it absorbed PNCC South Luzon Tollway workers and recognized the union. The turnover of operations to Citra is obviously being used as an excuse to bust our union and discriminate against organized labor,” Ado added.

The Skyway workers also filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) before the Parañaque Regional Trial Court yesterday, January 3, 2008 against the Amended Supplemental Toll Operation Agreement (ASTOA) that paved the way for Citra’s take over of Skyway operations and maintenance.

“The bigger issue here is the fact that the CITRA take over was surreptitiously signed by PNCC and CITRA in July 2007 and grossly disadvantageous to government and the riding public,”

Ado said.

According to the workers’ appeal for TRO, the agreement, not only paved the way for Citra to takeover the Skyway but allows it to jack up collections by 150%; increase toll fees on an annual basis, rather than once every 2 years; and, be covered by government guarantees for just compensation in the event of non-implementation of initial and/or periodic toll rate adjustment.

“The PNCC and Skyway Corp. are in cahoots in selling out not just the workers but the public in pushing through with this immoral agreement. We enjoin the public to support us and demand greater accountability from these agencies for their wanton disregard for the public good in their relentless pursuit of foreign investments at whatever costs,” Ado added.

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