Transport group PISTON reminds the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that the right to strike and to hold industrial actions is protected by the Philippine Constitution and international labor conventions.
As a government agency, LTFRB is obliged to solve the legitimate concerns of public transport workers which have led to strike action, instead of employing intimidation tactics against jeepney drivers and operators who participated in recent transport strike actions.
PISTON strongly condemns such actions, including the issuance of show cause orders and threats to revoke the franchises of strikers. According to PISTON National President Mody Floranda, it is unacceptable that even after the group’s dialogue with the agency last July 2023 where the same concerns were raised, the very same threats and intimidation tactics persist.
The said dialogue was initiated by PISTON in response to the issuance of numerous show cause orders and similar threats by LTFRB Region VI to PUV operators in Iloilo who participated in the transport strike in the city on July 24.
“Does the government have nothing else to do but destroy the livelihoods of its citizens?” he added.
Under the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 87 (which the Philippines ratified in 1953) and the principles of freedom of association, the right to strike can only be restricted in extremely limited circumstances.
PISTON argues that no government should have such broad powers to restrict a worker’s right to strike beyond ensuring the life, health, and safety of the whole or part of the population.
Even though public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators have an obligation to provide services to passengers, the ILO considers that those who provide services, including public transport workers, should enjoy the right to strike and should not be subject to interference or repression by the authorities.
The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has consistently held that: “the imposition of minimum services (during strikes) must not result in strikes becoming ineffective in practice because of its limited impact.”
“Instead of listening and addressing the calls of the drivers and operators on why our complaints lead to a strike, it seems that the government is really intent on attacking the livelihood and rights of the workers,” said Floranda.
PISTON argues that the government’s blatant violations of worker and human rights expose the Marcos Jr regime’s agenda of serving the profit-hungry interests of big businesses at the expense of the public transport workers and citizens.
“Our demands are straight and simple — scrap the PUV phaseout and let us have a fair, pro-people, and reasonable program for public transport that does not disadvantage the small drivers and operators,” added Floranda.