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Regent Foods planning ‘run-away shop’ tactic after Mayor Vico warning, workers say

Regent Foods Corporation (RFC) management is set to implement a “run-away shop” tactic with its threat to transfer out of Pasig City, the snack manufacturer’s striking workers said.

“The Regent management just proved what we have been pointing out since we started our strike and mounted our picketlines last October 16 — that the RFC management will implement a runaway shop and lockout of its plant in Pasig City to get rid of the issues we are raising,” Regent Food Workers Union (RFWU) president Tita Cudiamat said.

Cudiamat was reacting to RFC’s statement that it is now mulls transferring its business out of Pasig City after Mayor Vico Sotto advised the company to rethink its position of filing charges against its striking workers.

“If you want to have a healthy relationship with our city, I highly suggest you rethink your position,” Sotto warned.

“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,” the company said in a statement.

Cudiamat however said that RFC’s reaction to Sotto’s warning proves the company’s “illegal” plans.

Labor group Defend Jobs Philippines echoed the strikers’ accusations that RFC implemented a “long  list of unfair labor practices against their workers.”

“For the longest time, striking workers have been airing out and complaining about the management’s attempt of runaway shop, lockout, union busting, unfair labor practices, contractualization, low wages, unpaid benefits, and violations of the workers right to union and strike,” Defend Job Philippines spokesperson Christian Lloyd Magsoy said in a statement.

Magsoy defended Sotto who also raised funds to allow some of those arrested, including a bystander, to post bail last Monday.

“No amount of defensive statements and baseless attacks against Mayor Vico can justify the long-drawn hardships of Regent workers for almost three decades of existence of this company,” Magsoy said.

Both RFWU and Defend Jobs Philippines warned the RFC management to brace itself for countercharges they plan to file in several legal venues the company’s “unfair labor practices, abusive acts…and the violent dispersal” last November 9 that also injured several workers.

“Instead of lying and spreading fake news and charges, the RFC management must focus in addressing our legitimate concerns. If they will remain firm in fabricating lies and stories, then we have no resort but to fight back in whatever legal and just means possible,” Cudiamat said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Regent Foods products

BPO workers reveal companies refused to evacuate during Monday’s quake

A group of call center employees criticized business process outsourcing (BPO) companies for refusing to allow their employees to evacuate during Monday’s strong earthquake that shook parts of Luzon, including the National Capital Region.

The BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN) called the attention of BPO companies to ensure that workers’ lives and safety are their top priority during emergencies.

“We are shocked and appalled upon receiving reports from BPO workers themselves that their companies did not evacuate them during the earthquake,” BIEN said.

“Keeping business as usual in the midst of this life-threatening situation is not only illegal; it is utterly inhumane,” the group added.

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake jolted Central Luzon and Metro Manila around 5PM of April 22.

At least 16 have been confirmed dead in Zambales and Pampanga provinces, including workers of a grocery that collapsed in Porac town.

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake also jolted Eastern Visayas Tuesday, April 23, at 1:37 PM that was also felt in Central Visayas, the Bicol Region and parts of North-East Mindanao.

BIEN reminded industry players to adhere to occupational guidelines in times of natural disasters to keep workers safe.

The group also called on the government to enforce the new occupational safety and health standards law, Republic Act 1105, and penalize companies who have violated the safety standards putting workers’ lives at great risk.

The group did not name the BPO companies in its statement.

“Given the risk of an aftershock and effect of quake on infrastructure, we urge the government and companies to consider suspending operations until buildings and offices are declared safe,” BIEN ended. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Mas gusto pang magbayad sa security’

“Ang kapitalista, mas gusto pang magbayad sa mga militar, sa mga pulis, sa mga security kaysa bayaran yung mga manggagawang pinakikinabangan niya.”—Nenita Gonzaga, Vice President for Women, Kilusang Mayo Uno