The Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) owes CITRA Metro Manila Tollways Corp more than half a billion pesos thus its haste to sign the agreement that led to hundreds of workers of the PNCC-Skyway out of job.
This the PNCC-Skyway Employees Union (PSCEU) learned from the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) leaked to them. Just like the Amendment to the Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement (ASTOA), the MOA was surreptitiously signed by the PNCC with CITRA.
“Once again, the workers have to pay for the management’s inefficient performance. We dare the PNCC to admit that it needed to get a payoff deal and merely gave us an empty promise that an MOA will not be signed unless our jobs are secured,” said Jose Apollo Ado, Union President.
Hundreds of workers today trooped to the headquarters of PNCC Skyway in Bicutan to lend support to at least 700 workers of the corporation who have been locked-out of their jobs since the start of the New Year.
“The PNCC management saved their own heads while they consigned us and our families to a very uncertain future. They continue to illegally lock us out and render the return-to-work order issued by Labor Secretary Arturo Brion inutile,” said Ado.
The union asked Congress to investigate the rush to sign the ASTOA that allowed the turn over of Skyway’s operations to a new CITRA subsidiary, Skyway O & M Corporation (SOMCO). Under the agreement, SOMCO can increase toll fees on an annual basis, extend its right to collect toll fees until 2045 and pay lower royalty fees to PNCC.
Prior to CITRA’s Skyway takeover, CITRA provides for its share of 10% of total toll revenues to PNCC through PNCC Skyway. Under the new agreement, PNCC will get only 2.5% to 3.5% of total toll revenues.
Ado said the public needs to know that the schedule of Skyway toll increases are covered by government guarantees. Any toll increase that is not implemented would be charged to the government’s coffers, collected from taxpayers’ money.
“Clearly, the ASTOA presents a clear and present danger to the general public, to the government and to the workers of PNCC. Without a doubt, the ASTOA should be nullified,” said Ado.
PSCEU is the rank and file union in Skyway. It is an affiliate of the Workers Solidarity Network (WSN), which in turn is affiliated to the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL). The Traffic Management and Security Department Workers’ Organization (PSTMSDWO) meanwhile is affiliated to the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).