By RAYMUND B. VILLANUEVA
Men wearing face masks attacked two separate camps of striking Peerless Products Manufacturing Corporation (Pepmaco) workers in Laguna at one o’clock this morning, injuring 11 workers.
In an alert, the Pepmaco Workers Union said that hundreds of “goons wearing face masks and in full battle gear” arrived on board two vans and container vans and swooped down on their camps while most of them were resting or sleeping.
“They immediately swung with batons and fired jets of water at the workers who were prone on the ground,” the union said.
“Not contented with their initial attack, Simeon Tiu’s goons also threw big rocks at the workers,” the workers said.
Tui owns Pepmaco, manufacturer of detergent brand Champion, as well as Systema toothpaste, Calla fabric conditioner, and Hana shampoo and hair conditioner.
Most of the workers suffered head injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital.
“The picket lines were destroyed, along with our food stash,” the workers added.
After the attack, the attackers left on board the vans while their shields and batons were taken inside the factory premises, they added.
The workers also reported that one of the suspects was seen loitering outside the hospital where the injured were taken in an obvious attempt to intimidate the workers.
The workers launched their strike Monday complaining of mass termination, contractualization, union busting, low wages, 12-hour workdays, seven day workweeks and unsafe working conditions.
Earlier, the union posted photos of workers with skin injuries resulting from the harsh chemicals used in manufacturing the company’s products.
Pregnant women also suffer miscarriages resulting from their unsafe working conditions, the workers complained.
The company has yet to issue any statement on the strike as well as on the attack on its striking workers.
The striking workers vowed to continue with their strike despite the incident. (Kodao Productions)