By: Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – The Philippine Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Workers Union-Trade Union of Congress of the Philippines (PACIWU-TUCP) is waiting for the approval of the notice to strike they filed with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) amid the heated feud within the clan that controls one of the biggest bus firms in the country.
PACIWU-TUCP national president Hernani Braza said they filed the notice of strike for alleged unfair labor practice as the workforce has already been affected by the Yanson family feud.
The Yansons control the Yanson Group of Bus Companies (YGBC) which includes the Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI), operator of Ceres Bus Liner.
Braza said they are only eyeing partial paralysis of operations because they cannot afford a total transport strike of the Ceres buses in consideration of the riding public.
Braza said more than 6,000 workers of the YGBC in the Visayas are PACIWU-TUCP members.
Earlier, four of the Yanson siblings led by the elder brother Roy held a special board meeting and ousted their youngest Leo Rey as president and CEO
Leo Rey, however, contended that his ouster was illegal.
Braza also said that the union staged a peaceful protest last July 14 at the Vallacar bus terminal in Barangay Bata, Bacolod, to call on the Yansons to settle their dispute, but the camp of Roy filed a case against some of its leaders.
He also claimed that the union did not stop operations with its protest.
He said they did not disrupt the buses operation and it was the camp of Roy who brought the drivers and conductors from the north terminal to the bus firm’s headquarters in Mansilingan which disrupted their operations.
Braza further said that they are filing a notice of strike against the company for depriving them of the right of peaceful assembly and for being caught in the middle of the family dispute.
He added that they will have to wait for a 23-day cooling off period before they can stage a strike that would be Visayas-wide.
On the other hand, Roy Yanson strongly denied harassment allegations made by union leaders who are now being used to call for a company strike.
Yanson believes the strike is part of a plan to destabilize the company and make a false image that employees have unresolved issues against management.
Yanson believes that the strike call is “illegal” and “had no basis” since management had been fair in treating its 18,000-strong workforce.
He likewise reminded these union leaders of unduly placing the futures of thousands of bus employees in jeopardy just to express their political support for the previous management.
“Obviously, this strike call is more of a political expression than a true strikable issue. For the law recognizes strikes based only on two things: violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or unfair labor practices. Vallacar Bus Transit has faithfully followed the CBA. We have given justice and respected workers’ rights and welfare since the time this company was created fifty years ago. There is no legitimate grievance against the new management from employees who continue to receive their salaries and benefits in spite of the on-going intra-corporate issue.”
Meanwhile, tension rose anew at the Ceres northbound terminal here Friday morning when some drivers did not work after two siblings of Roy Yanson went to the terminal and talked to some drivers in an effort to take over the terminal.
Yanson matriarch Olivia, who went to the terminal appealed, anew to the Yanson 4 (Roy, Celina, Emily and Ricardo Jr.) to wait for the court decision on their dispute over the control of the Yanson Group of Bus Companies (YGBC).
Olivia stayed at the north terminal to prevent what she said attempts of the Yanson 4 to take over the terminal.
Last week, Roy and his allied siblings took the southbound terminal and changed the security guards in the area.
They also tried to take over the north terminal after the employees themselves did not allow the Yanson 4 inside the offices.
On his part, Leo Rey, who was ousted from YGBC’s helm, asked his siblings to respect the court where a civil case is still pending.
He asked his siblings to avoid actions that will affect the operations of the company, the employees, and the riding public.
Some drivers were called in a meeting by Roy’s group when they went to the north terminal passengers.
Leo Roy who also met with the drivers and conductors asked them to consider their working relations in the past 12 years.
He said his siblings did not contribute to the growth of the company.