Tuesday Mar, 31 2020 08:55:09 AM

Mindanao Star bus workers go on strike over low pay

Local News • 05:47 AM Thu Feb 11, 2016
Edwin O. Fernandez

COTABATO CITY – Hundreds of commuters bound for
Davao have been stranded here as the lone bus firm plying the Cotabato-Davao route
suspended its operations due to workers’ strike.

Commuters heading to Davao and the provinces of North
Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Davao Occidental were forced to take the commuter
vans parked just outside the terminal to ferry passengers.

But many opted to cancel trip instead of taking the Toyota
D4D vans for personal reasons.

We take the bus for simple reason - convenience on our part, especially our children,” Sitti
Hanna Ambalgan, a regular bus passenger told reporters outside the Mindanao Star
bus terminal along Don Rufino Alonzo Avenue.

Elmo, a bus driver, said all the drivers, conductors,
inspectors and other employees of Mindanao Star, formerly Weena Bus, decided to
go on sit down strike to send the message to bus management.

We were promised of wage increase but it remained a promise
to date,” Elmo, who refused to give his real name, said.

Elmo who renders an average of two trips daily from Cotabato
City to Davao and vice versa said we are working beyond eight hours on risky
trips yet our pay is way below the allowed wage rate.”

Efforts to reach the management or its representative here
proved futile as it refuse to face reporters.

We are over worked and underpaid,” a bus conductor said,
refusing to give his name.

But if he had his way, he would have wanted to work because
the strike means no take home income for him. It would be difficult for the
strike go a long way,” he admitted.

Anselma Ping, another commuter said it was her first trip to
Davao via a public commuter van. Vans are speeding vehicles, drivers appear to
be racing and it is dangerous,” the visibly reluctant van passenger said,
telling the van driver not to over speed.

About 75 commuter vans have hauled passengers from Mindanao
Star terminal here this day alone. We line up here to serve the commuting
public,” Ali Djamel Mohammad, UV Express van driver, said.

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