Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate condemned the violent dispersal and the arrest as well as detention of seven (7) workers of the commercial cooking equipment supplier Middleby Philippines Corp. located inside the Laguna Technopark in Binan City, Laguna.
“What happened to Middleby workers is similar to what happened to the workers of NutriAsia. Pangako ni Pres. Duterte ay wawakasan ang ENDO at contractualization pero ang nangyayari ay dinarahas ang mga manggagawa na lumalaban sa ENDO,” said the progressive solon.
“We will definitely call on Congress to investigate this latest attack on workers,” said the Davao-based solon.
Based on accounts of Anakbayan, the Middleby workers are in the middle of a sit-down strike to assert their regularization yesterday (July 3) when around 11:30 a.m., elements of the Binan City Police together with Middleby security guards forcibly entered the factory to disperse the strike. At least five workers were reportedly injured as police dragged workers during the dispersal, while workers Armel Gulaver, Renee Castillo, Mamerto Guyo, Senhamir Villanueva, Dhanrey Serafin, John Michael Gontinas, and Jessie Padilla were taken to the Binan City Police Station where they were held. The workers were eventually released at around 10:00 p.m. after Middleby agreed not to file cases against them,”
On May 10, 131 workers of Middleby launched the sit-down strike as a protest against their continuing contractual employment and an impending lay-off. From then on, they experienced constant intimidation and harassment from the company and police force, including the imposition of a food blockade in an attempt to paralyze the strike.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region IV-A has already ordered April this year the regularization of the contractual workers from the two manpower agencies of Middleby which are Gawad Kalinga and Mother Ignacia, but Middleby refused to take action.
Of the more than 300 workers of the company, 191 are contractual employees and only 82 are regular employees. Contractuals earn a minimum wage of P378, and are forced to render four hours of required overtime, which often turns into an “overnight overtime” to meet Middleby’s demands. Middleby Philippines, which is under the U.S.-based Middleby Corporations, supplies oven conveyors, fryers, and fry tanks to the country’s top fastfood chains, as well as international fastfood chains and restaurants.
“Dapat talaga ay tapusin na ang contractualization at panagutin ang mga nag-utos na dahasin ang mga mangagawa,” ended Rep.Zarate.###