MANILA, Philippines – Various groups condemned the violent dispersal of 300 striking workers of NutriAsia by the Philippine National Police and security personnel of NutriAsia last Monday, July 31, 2018, at the picket line in Marilao, Bulacan.
Scores were injured while 19 were illegally arrested following an ecumenical mass which was held at the picketline.
A Karapatan quick reaction team dispatched to Bulacan revealed that apart from union members, also arrested were five journalists and members of progressive organizations.
Arrested and detained were Daisy Jane Heda, 20, Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriAsia (NMN); Robert Sequino, 23, NMN; Sedney Villamor, 31, NMN; Jerald Verano, 26, NMN; Mark Ponce, 31, NMN; Dannyboy Conel, 21, NMN; Marylle Jons Peligro, 23, NMN; Joevelyn Bornales, 33, NMN; Nikki Abilar, 29, Church worker; Jaime Castro, 52, Church worker; Avon Ang, 23, Altermidya; Hiyasmin Saturday, 27, Altermidya; Psalty Caluza, 20, Altermidya; Jon Bonifacio, 20, UP student and campus journalist; Eric Tandoc, 38, Altermidya; Einstein Recedes, 33, Anakbayan Secretary-General; Mark Quinto, 24, League of Filipino Students; Imelda Ray, 57, Kadamay member; and Aileen Raganit, 42, Kadamay member.
“We are enraged by the violent dispersal of workers who have already been victimized by the company’s unfair labor practices. We likewise condemn NutriAsia, its security personnel and the Philippine National Police in Bulacan for this brutality. The NutriAsia management even had the audacity to claim in a statement that a gunshot was fired from the ranks of the workers when evidence and testimonies attest that a mass was ongoing prior to the dispersal.
NutriAsia has the audacity to call for compliance to the rule of law when it has primarily violated the rights of workers, ignored labor laws, and general labor standards,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
Since June 2, 2018, workers of NutriAsia Inc. have set up a picket outside the firm’s Marilao plant. The strike is led by the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriaAsia (NMN)- Marilao, with workers primarily demanding regularization. Workers were also protesting the illegal dismissal of 50 workers.
Meanwhile, Senate labor committee chair Joel Villanueva sought an investigation about the issue of the company. The senator filed a Resolution on Tuesday, July 31, resolution 810 to look into the company’s’ labor-only contracting issue.
In February this year, DOLE had already ordered NutriAsia to regularize over 900 workers after concluding that the company is engaged in labor-only contracting practices. DOLE also reported that NutriAsia is violating labor laws and general labor standards, including the illegal deduction for workers’ uniforms and underpayment of basic wages.
Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemned the violent dispersal of the workers and said the dispersal was illegal as the Bulacan Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction over the labor disputes which are only settled through the DOLE, NCMB and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
“This illegal and vicious dispersal is yet another display of the fascist character of the Duterte regime,” said KMU secretary-general Jerome Adonis.
“Even DOLE has recognized that the Bulacan RTC has no right to meddle with the labor dispute, much less to order police action,” Adonis said.
Now the workers are campaigning in social media with hashtag #BoycottNutriasia calling the attention to all the Filipino to stop using NutriAsia condiments in solidarity with them. (davaotoday.com)