DLTB management, union sign deal

MANILA -- Operations of the biggest bus company in southern Luzon will soon be back to normal after the management of the Delmonte Land Transport Bus Company Inc. (DLTB) and the striking workers have signed an agreement, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported on Saturday.

According to Labor Secretary Sylvester Bello III the settlement provides that the DLTB Labor Union-AGLO will lift the strike effective immediately, while DLTB management shall accept all striking employees, except those terminated prior to the strike, under the same terms and conditions that existed before the strike.

“In the interest of industrial peace and in order not to further jeopardise the commuting public, the DLTB management and its union reached an agreement for the resumption of normal operations of the bus company,” he said in a statement.

The strike, staged by the DLTB Labor Union affiliated with the Association of Genuine Labor Organization (AGLO), paralyzed about 90 percent of the company’s bus operations in Bicol and southern Tagalog provinces during the Christmas holidays affecting thousands of commuters.

The union protested management’s alleged underpayment of minimum wages and non-payment of 13th month pay.

The DOLE assumed jurisdiction of the labor dispute on Dec. 28 in a bid to avert disruption of public transport during the holidays.

The agreement was signed by union Ronald Austria, president; Frankie Fernandez, vice president, and Carlito Abergos, chairman of the board.

The management was represented by DLTB president Atty. Narciso Morales together with Atty. Jaime Miralles for AGLO and Valentino Dionela and Joselyn Bonnie Valeros for DLTB Bus. Co.

The agreement was attested by Bello and Undersecretaries Dominator Say and Bernard Olalia.

But, the labor issues that led to the work stoppage and subject to compulsory arbitration before the National Labor Relations Commission and those at the DOLE Regional Office 4-A have yet to be settled.

DLTB has about 700 buses plying the southern Luzon route. (PNA)