BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – At least a hundred workers of the contested Vallacar Transit Inc. that owns and operates the giant fleet of Ceres buses here have stopped plying their routes since yesterday, 20 January, to protest the temporary suspension of trip incentives voluntarily granted last year by company president Leo Rey Yanson.
Labor leader Hernani Braza told DNX the 100 workers are mostly drivers and conductors of 60 buses plying the 37-kilometer Bacolod-Victorias route and its return trips.
Braza is national chairman of the Philippine Agriculture, Commercial and Industrial Workers Union, the workers federation which counts the Ceres union as one of its affiliates.
He said the union agreed to a temporary suspension of the incentive until March during a negotiation with management.
“Ceres was also hit hard by the pandemic and steps have to be taken to make sure it does not go bankrupt,” Braza added.
The trip incentive varies by terminal and was “voluntarily given by Leo Rey Yanson since July 2019,” he explained.
In the case of the Victorias terminal workers, Braza said the incentive is P28 per trip.
The workers of the Victorias terminal were not completely briefed, which could explain why they stopped working, he added.
The transport empire, which has 5,000 workers in the Visayas region alone, has 2,000 employees in Negros island and has become one of the largest private employers here.
The company had been rocked by a long controversy since last year stemming from a feud between two rival factions of the Yanson family that owns and operates the transport giant.