NOVEMBER 19, 2019 – A large food company, hit by a labor dispute, said it was considering moving its business elsewhere after the mayor of Pasig City defended arrested striking workers.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Regent Food Corporation (RFC) said it will not be cowered by Mayor Vico Sotto who demanded the withdrawal of charges against 23 striking workers arrested on November 9 during a violent dispersal operation.
“Moving forward, RFC may simply accept its fate that the Pasig City Administration will unjustly make life hard for it and its 400-strong workforce, and contemplate simply bringing its business elsewhere—a truly painful outcome for a corporation that has considered Pasig City its home for a total of three decades now,” the company said in a statement.
The company said the strike was “never legitimate and peaceful.”
“It had no legitimacy from the beginning since there is an existing sole and exclusive bargaining agent within the company,” Regent said. “On top of this, the strikers also committed criminal activities during the conduct of their unlawful strike.”
The company also argued it had sought help from several government offices including that of Sotto, but it fell on “deaf ears.” The management did not also press the criminal charges and order their arrest.
“Mayor Vico has cast RFC as anti-labor. But, the truth is, RFC only meant to protect the rights of its non-striking employees who were prevented by the strikers from working and providing for their own families.”
Nilinaw ng Regent Foods Corporation na humingi ito ng tulong kay Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto para kontrolin ang sitwasyon kaugnay ng kilos-protesta ng mga manggagawa sa harap ng opisina nito. pic.twitter.com/eMtbXrmutc
— News5 AKSYON (@News5AKSYON) November 19, 2019
The 11 remaining detained workers were released from detention last night after posting bail.
Pinalaya na kagabi ang 11 na trabahador ng Regent Foods Corporation matapos makapag-piyansa. Ikinulong sila matapos magsagawa ng kilos-protesta sa harap ng opisina ng RFC.
📸: Defend Job Philippines pic.twitter.com/kWSyyImcsM
— News5 AKSYON (@News5AKSYON) November 19, 2019
Sotto, who ended the Eusebio dynasty in the May elections, has also warned the RFC management to rethink its positions against the workers if they still “want to have a healthy relationship with the city.”
The young mayor earlier vowed to help process their release and defended their right to strike.
“These people are not criminals; they do not have the goal of hurting you. They are fighting for what they believe to be just,” Sotto told the company. “You can continue with the labor dispute without sending the poor and powerless to jail!”
This was not the first time Sotto sided with the workers. Last July, he confronted the management of Zagu Foods Corporation upon reports of violent dispersal of striking workers. (Karen Macalalad / MM)
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