Food firm sues 17 workers after Laguna strike
SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna, Philippines—Seventeen workers are facing a string of charges following the violent dispersal of a strike at a factory of condiment giant NutriAsia in Cabuyao City, Laguna, an incident reminiscent of last year’s violent protest and dispersal in the company’s Bulacan plant as employees called for an end to labor contractualization.
Among those arrested in Laguna was Reyniero Maarat, president of Kilusan ng Abanteng Sektor ng Anakpawis NutriAsia-Olalia.
The strike started at 5 a.m. on Saturday at NutriAsia’s factory inside the Light Industry and Science Park in Cabuyao.
In a statement on Sunday, the company said it would file charges of direct and indirect assault, serious and slight illegal detention, alarm and scandal, physical injuries, threats, coercion, robbery, occupation of real property, arson, and malicious mischief against the workers.
Union members and militant groups gathered at the City Hall compound in Cabuyao where the 17 workers, among them women, were detained at the city police station.
Police Lt. Col. Zeric Soriano, Cabuyao police chief, said the company had informed the local court that it would file the cases on Monday.
The company said it was “taken by surprise by the sudden and unprovoked acts of violence” by 150 workers, considering that parties were “undergoing processes” in relation to labor issues.
Hermie Marasigan, national president of labor center Olalia, said the workers were demanding regularization, after the regional labor board ruled in their favor.
But the management said those involved in Saturday’s strike were not NutriAsia employees but employed by “service providers.” —Maricar Cinco
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