Food firm planning to leave Pasig after Vico Sotto sides with striking workers
MANILA, Philippines — Regent Food Corp. (RFC) is planning to relocate away from Pasig City after city mayor, Vico Sotto, publicly sided with some of the company’s workers who cried foul over alleged unfair labor practices.
The food firm added that Sotto failed to hear the company’s side on the matter, saying that it was only “protecting the rights of its non-striking employees.”
“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 food firm said in a statement.
“Regent Foods Corp. (RFC) respects the sentiments of our good Mayor, inasmuch as it also respects the rights of its workers to hold a peaceful strike. However, it must be remembered that these rights presuppose that the strike was first peaceful and that it was carried out within the bounds of the law,” RFC added.
“Unfortunately, contrary to how Mayor Vico depicts the situation, the strike involved here was never legitimate and never peaceful, and up until it was dispersed, it was exercised in violation of RFC’s own rights, as well as the rights of other people,” the company said.
The statement comes after Sotto publicly appealed to the company to withdraw the charges filed against 23 workers who were arrested when violence erupted between them and police forces outside the firm’s plant in Pasig City.
Eleven out of the 23 strikers, or the so-called “Regent 23”, were able to post on Monday.
The company said that throughout its establishment, it “has always been able to dialogue properly with its workforce on every concern—labor or otherwise.”
The food manufacturer added that it has also sought help from government offices, as well as Sotto’s office, in an attempt to pacify the escalating protests.
“This request merely fell on deaf ears, which is precisely what constrained RFC to resort to private security assistance for the sole purpose of reopening the gates of the company and resuming its usual business operations,” the statement read.
The company also alleged that the workers attacked security forces using sharp weapons and other tools.
“Despite all of this, Mayor Vico still portrays RFC as an evil corporation ready to “put poor and powerless people to jail.” Mayor Vico deliberately overlooks that RFC is not the complainant who pressed these criminal charges, RFC did not order their arrest, and RFC did not even participate in the preliminary investigation of these individuals,” the company said.
“Worse still, 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,” the company added.
Despite what happened, RFC said it stands firm and “will not be cowered by the mayor’s threats.”
Edited by MUF
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