04 January 2020
Besieged strikers decry food blockade as tension rise, appeals for humanitarian support
Entering their third day on work stoppage, employees of Cosmic Enterprises Inc. a paper products company based in Caloocan City today condemned the food blockade being imposed by their employer Anthony Von Ng and a private association of companies which owns and operates the industrial compound where the company located.
The strikers are also appealing for public support to pressure the association of employers to allow the entry of food, water and the access to their families and well-wishers. The refusal of passage in the compound has also made it difficult for them to relieve themselves.
The union allege that private guards under strict orders from their employer are denying the entry of basic neccesities in order to discourage the workers from carrying on with their work stoppage. The blockade is reported to be manned by Premid security agency.
The paper factory is located in NY compound in Bagbaguin, Caloocan and houses several other companies. The workers’ picketline is situated within the compound’s walls. Making the strikers virtually trapped and cut-off from the outside.
“Our strike is both just and legitimate. Despite our employer’s constant and undeniable undermining, interference and other illicit measures to disrobe us of our basic rights, we shall fight on. The continued harassment has only strengthened our resolve to carry on a righteous and principled struggle,” said Rico Marcellana, union president.
He reports that the blockade has increased the tension ten-fold and fear that the picketline maybe annihilated once their employer decides to use force against them.
The strikers, members of Cosmic Enterprises Inc. Independent Labor Union (CEILU), a duly organized union went on strike on seven in the evening of January 2 on the grounds of unfair labor practice and union-busting after the company terminated nineteen contractual employees in retaliation after a labor inspection findings determined that Cosmic Enterprises and Silvergreen Manpower Services were labor-only contracting, illegal under Secretary Silvestre Bello’s Department Order 174.
All nineteen laborers were employed in the company well beyond the prescribed six month probationary period. The shortest tenure was eighteen months and the longest pegged at eighteen years.
“No single worker would want to go on strike especially at the beginning of the year but the injustice and abuse inflicted on us and our families has become unbearable and has to see its end,” he explains.
The employees appealed to the public for support as well as patience and understanding from the company’s clients. They claim that they meant no harm with their strike. “We only seek the recognition of our constitutional rights and what is due to us,” the union president said..
CEILU is affiliated with Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.###
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