Wednesday, March 30, 2005

NR0329:NLEX employees unjustly laid off

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 29, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Apart from imposing highway-robbery toll fee rates,
NLEX management guilty of unfair labor practices

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today renewed his criticism against the Lopez business group, saying that the business group was guilty not only of robbing the Filipino people blind through imposing anomalous and exorbitant electricity rates via its company Meralco and by levying high toll fees on motorists passing through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), "It's also guilty of unjust labor practices, and it has no qualms against attacking employee rights. On the merest, unfounded suspicion that employees intent to form a union, the management sacked the employees."

Beltran made this accusation in the wake of complaints of over a dozen employees the NLEX' Tollways Management Corporation that they were illegally and unjustly terminated. "The TMC and the Lopez group are already guilty of imposing exorbitant toll fees that give commuters and motorists gargantuan headaches and heavier economic problems. Now, it's become evident that the employees of the NLEX are also under the heavy strain of working for a company that has no respect for labor rights," he said.

From March to April 2004, the TNC, the company presently in charge of the management of the NLEX posted advertisements indicating their need for patrol crews to be deployed in the NLEX. From more than one thousand applicants, only one hundred sixty five (165) were accepted. The applicants signed their individual training of agreements between July to September 2004.

They attended several trainings and seminars conducted by Tamaraw Training Center, Quezon City and Camp Crame. Upon completion of and passing the training course, the trainees signed a six month probationary period on October 20, 2004. Together with other newly hired employees of the TMC, a company briefing was held five days later wherein the TMC management gave the company orientation.

Due to the failure of the TMC to takeover the North Luzon Expressway from the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC), the patrol crew were not deployed to NLEX but made to report daily from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm at either the TMC office at Benpres building in Ortigas or at a district office in Sta. Rita, Bulacan. However, they were dispatched sometimes at the NLEX area so they can familiarize themselves with its operations. TMC employees, particularly patrol crews, were also utilized in the ABS-CBN's relief operations for the typhoon victims in the Southern Luzon Region.

On Nov. 26, 2004, TMC as represented by Mr. Denn Charly G. Española, Manager, Traffic Management and Safety, summoned Mr. Ramon Paloma, Superintendent, Traffic and Motorist Assistance and bluntly informed him that he would not be regularized. Mr. Española then asked Mr. Paloma to file his resignation because of his alleged failure to meet the performance standards of the TMC.

On November 30, 2004, TMC issued a letter terminating Mr. Ramon Paloma. The letter was issued by Mr. Española and noted by Mr. Nicolas G. Manalo, Vice President for Operation of TMC.The following Dec. 7, 13 other employees were also summoned by the TMC manager for traffic management and safety at the TMC office in Benpres Building and informed them one by one that they would not be regularized and asked them to resign due to alleged failure to meet the company's performance standards - the same reason for terminating Mr. Paloma.

The patrol crews did not file their resignation and on December 13, 2004, the TMC issued the notice of termination to the thirteen (13) patrol crews of TMC. The patrol crews received the letter, but protested against the dismissal, saying that they were illegally terminated, and that they belong to the top 106 in their training evaluation. In fact, one of them ranked fourth during the training. There was not a single event in the period of employment of the illegally terminated patrol crews nor the superintendent were they informed about the standards and merit evaluation system created by the TMC. The TMC started managing the North Luzon Expressway only last February 2005, hence, actual performance of duty of TMC employees started only on the same date TMC started to manage NLEX.

"Such basis of evaluation base on the performance, if there is any, prior to the take over is baseless and is not reflective of the true performance of the illegally terminated employees. The termination of the 13 employees and superintendent of the TMC is patently illegal and unjust," he said.#


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