TRANSPORT groups led by the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) will hold another nationwide strike this week to protest the government’s December 31 deadline for franchise consolidation.

In a press briefing on Monday, Piston announced that the strike will be from December 14-15.

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It said transport organizations based in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog will join the strike.

The group said it would extend the strike if the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) does not change some of the provisions of Department of Transportation (DoTr) Order 2017-011 and lift the deadline for consolidation.

The group said the mandatory franchise consolidation would lead to a phaseout of traditional jeepneys which will automatically take away the livelihood of drivers and operators.

Drivers and operators of traditional jeepneys and UV Express units must reorganize themselves into cooperatives or corporations before the deadline.

Those who fail to do so will have to cease operations under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

The LTFRB has agreed to some of the transport workers’ demands, which include a promise that the traditional jeepneys will not be phased out after the deadline for consolidation.

But both the LTFRB and the DoTr insisted that the December 31 consolidation deadline is non-negotiable.The last transport strike on November 20-22 forced several schools in Metro Manila to cancel face-to-face classes.