Calamba City– Workers of Peerless Producers Manufacturing Corporation (Pepmaco) were violently dispersed by company guards on their fourth day of strike last June 28.
Pepmaco workers went on strike to protest the company’s contractualization policy, violations on occupational safety and health standards, excessive deduction of wages, union-busting and illegal dismissal of over 70 members and union leaders.
The workers who belong to Pepmaco-Naflu-Kmu union were reportedly sleeping when hundreds of armed company guards stormed and destroyed their strike center. At least 12 were injured and many were taken to the nearest hospitals as company guards stoned and attacked the defenseless workers with truncheons and water cannons.
Progressive party lists, youth and workers groups condemned the vicious attack. Anakpawis party list representative Ariel Casilao said that workers in the country will continue to strike and protest until contractualization policies of the government are lifted. Kabataan Partylist representative Sarah Elago also enjoined the public to support the boycott of Pepmaco products to show solidarity to the workers on strike.
As of press time, Pepmaco workers continue the protest and are threatened by hundreds of armed combined company guards and members of the Philippine National Police.
Pepmaco produces the soap brands Champion and Calla, shampoo brand Hana, and toothpaste brand Systema and is operated by businessman Simeon Tiu.
On Wednesday, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Index have ranked the Philippines as one of the worst places for workers alongside Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arbia, Turkey, and Zimbabwe. The index noted that “violence and murder, brutal repression of public protests, and repressive laws” are faced by workers in the country.
“Workers and trade unionists in the Philippines faced violent attacks and intimidation. Protests were brutally repressed by police forces in an attempt by government forces to suppress political dissent” ITUC said.
Pepmaco-Naflu-Kmu workers said they will continue to protest and strike until they are given justice./www.panaytoday.net