10 hurt as cops break up picket at Bulacan factory
CITY OF MALOLOS — At least 10 were hurt when policemen on Thursday broke up a picket line of workers that had paralyzed operations of a condiment factory in Marilao town, Bulacan province, since June 2.
Supported by activists, the workers had been protesting the supposed dismissal of 50 contractual employees who formed their own union at the factory of NutriAsia Inc. in Barangay Lambakin.
The company produces condiment brands like UFC, Mang Tomas, Silver Swan and Datu Puti.
But NutriAsia said the protesters were employees of B-Mirk Enterprises, which it described as “a third-party toll packer company.”
At least 10 workers were hurt in the commotion when police served a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) issued on June 8 by a Bulacan court, said Supt. Ricardo Pangan, Marilao police chief.
The police also arrested four men who refused to leave the picket line.
Pangan said the protesters threw rocks at policemen, prompting them to move in and disperse the group.
He said the police were willing to drop charges of disobedience and resisting arrest against the protesters provided they heeded the court order.
In a statement, NutriAsia said the picket had prevented the company’s delivery trucks from entering the factory to retrieve products that were left there when the picket started.
“After an initial discussion, the protesters agreed to remove the illegally placed barriers. However, the protesters proceeded instead to [lie down] in front of the gate, in defiance of the court order,” the company said.
It added: “NutriAsia respects the right to organize and peaceful assembly of the striking workers of B-Mirk Enterprises. It hopes that the issue between B-Mirk Enterprises and its workers assigned at the Marilao factory will soon be resolved in the interest of all parties.”—CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE
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