By Ellson Quismorio
Militant lawmaker Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Ferdinand Gaite on Friday dared Metro Manila officials to follow the example shown by Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, who went out of his way to defend the rights of local workers staging a strike.
“Hats off to Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto for recognizing the rights of the workers of Zagu,” said the progressive solon, referring to the popular pearl drink brand.
“We challenge other local officials to emulate Mayor Vico and for once show their genuine concern for the working class,” added Gaite, who is a neophyte solon in the current 18th Congress.
The Zagu employees went on strike last month to protest contractualization and alleged union-busting. Part of the workers’ demands was the regularization of some 600 employees.
Sotto, who toppled the mighty Eusebio clan during the May polls, was seen in a video telling Zagu management and staff to respect workers right to protest on Monday night after the company allegedly tried to forcibly break the picket. The video footage has since gone viral.
“Bakit niyo sila pinapaalis? Karapatan nila’ yun ayon sa batas (Why are you shooing them away? It’s their right according to law),” the young mayor was quoted as saying.
“He can truly ‘educate’ other government officials such as those in the Department of Labor and the PNP of the basic rights of our laborers who create capital but are deprived of it,” he noted.
The Makabayan Bloc, which Bayan Muna is a part of, has long fought for the end of “endo” practices or the contractualization of workers that only last for a five-month cycle.