Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto has sided with the Regent Food Corporation (RFC) laborers and now succeeded on bailing them out after the company had ordered to arrest them.
Sotto promised the workers to bail them out by Monday, after the strike that the employers had done against RFC.
Sotto was able to raise the bail money of P8,500 each for the remaining 11 detained laborers, who needed the mayor’s help to be freed.
Aside from these released employees on Monday, November 18, there were also 12 protesters released last Friday, November 15, who were able to bail themselves out.
Not only the employees were jailed, but also 2 members of a labor rights group and even an onlooking tricycle driver were arrested.
Ailene Bat-anon, one of the arrested employees, said “Kaya lang namin nagawa ‘yon, dahil tinangka nila itakas yung mga machine.”
“Kaya namin naisip mag-welga, gusto nila takasan ‘yung obligasyon nila sa amin,” Bat-anon further said, explaining that taking those packing machines away would be a plan to fire the workers.
Thus, they had decided to go on strike last October 16 to demand for their rights on wages and benefits.
More work, lesser pay
Bat-anon, who has been a repacker at RFC since 1996, said they get paid based on “pakyawan” or wholesale system of computing their salary according to the number of packs of products they have finished in a 12-hour workday.
There were those times that they were given enough breaktime and salary. However, in 2017, a new supervisor made them get paid for just over P10,000 (minimum wage) instead of P16,000, even if they work more than 16 hours everyday.
It was even worse when the supervisor would turn off the machines during break time, hence, they could not get far from the line to savour their lunch or even go to the restroom to pee.
“Dapat nga po, dahil tuloy-tuloy ‘yung machine, dapat tataas ‘yung sahod namin,” Bat-anon said.
The protesting workers stated that they would continue fighting for their rights as they believe their case is stronger than their employer’s.
Although, they believe it would be a tough battle, seeing that even a mayor could not compel their company to resist.