PASIG CITY, Philippines – The twelve Regent Foods Corporation workers who were detained following a violent dispersal of their picket line last week posted bail on Monday (November 18).
The workers held a picket on November 9 at a compound in Pasig City to appeal against the alleged contractualization problem, low salary, unfair labor practice, and violation of their right to form a union.
A group of armed guards and police, however, arrived at the scene where the violent dispersal ensued.
Twenty workers and two members of a labor group were arrested. Also arrested was a tricycle driver who just happened to be in the area.
Regent Foods charged them with slight physical injuries, resistance, and disobedience on top of alarm.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) the labor dispute between Regent Foods and its workers is pending before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
“There are times na medyo mahirap iyong diskusyon pero bahagi po ng proseso eh. Ang sa amin naman po eventually, magkasundo po sila at sa tingin po namin iyon po iyong gustong patunguhan ng 2 partido,” DOLE Asec. Benjo Beñavidez said.
Meanwhile, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto stated in his Facebook post that he requested Regent Foods to withdraw the charges it filed against the 23 workers.
Regent Foods owners Irwin and Susan Lee asked the local executive to give them time to consult their board members.
The company lawyers, however, informed Sotto that they will not withdraw the case, in which the young mayor said they will exert everything in their power to free the other 11 detained workers.
Mayor Vico early on Monday (November 18) met with the union leaders and the relatives of the detained workers to discuss how the 11 still detained workers will be freed.
Labor group ALU-TUCP condemned the violent dispersal committed by the security agencies against the workers.
They said it is the security guards the must be detained and not the picketing workers.
“Wala hong mandato, wala silang authority, wala silang kapangyarihan sa gobyerno na idisperse iyong mga manggagawa na legal na nagpipiket at nagpapahayag ng kanilang grievances sa management,” said Alan Tanjusay of ALU-TUCP. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf
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