Where’s our P230M? Dismissed LRT workers ask govt

THEY were supposed to receive close to P230 million or over P1 million each, based on the order of a labor arbiter, which was later enforced by the high tribunal.

However, six years have passed but workers of the Light Rail Transit remain unpaid of their back wages and separation benefits.

“Just follow the Supreme Court and pay your workers now,” Sammy Malunes, union president of the Pinag-isang Lakas ng Manggagawa sa LRT, told officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications. His group, consisting of 221 dismissed and unpaid train workers, trooped to the said government agency’s office on Thursday.

It was in 2004 when Labor Arbiter Elias Salinas ruled in favor of the claimants and ordered the Metro Transit Organization Inc (MTOI) and the LRT Authority (LRTA) to pay the workers the total amount of P229,062,250. The Supreme Court upheld the order four years later.

However, not a single centavo has gone to the pockets of the workers. Some have endured waiting, but others will no longer enjoy the money even when it’s finally given to them.

“If the lawful procedures were executed expeditiously, we may not have suffered for that long and many of our co-workers would not have died in extreme poverty,” said Malunes.

As the workers’ demand continues to be ignored by the MTOI and the LRTA, Malunes’s group is now seeking influential allies, such as those from the Senate, to help push for their claim.

While Christmas is just around the corner, the dismissed train workers can’t feel its spirit. For them and their families, it could be fasting time once again amid the Noche Buena. D’Jay Lazaro

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