About 80 stevedores, members of the First Arrastre and Stevedoring Services Employees Union, who were terminated by the First Farmers Holding Corp, staged a 13-hour picket in front of the mill in Brgy. Dos Hermanas, Talisay City yesterday, temporarily hampering the entry of several truckloads of sugarcane.
Ian Evidente, spokesperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno, said the members of FASSEU blocked the two gates of the mill and placed huge rocks to block the trucks so the management will heed their call for their reinstatement.
Evidente said they are wondering why, until now, the petition for back wages filed by the members of the FASSEU is still pending before the office of Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
Evidente added that the tension started when the security guards of the mill and the members of the Talisay City Police arrived and attempted to disperse them.
Chief Insp. Joeresty Coronica, head of Talisay City Police, denied attempting to disperse those who were holding the picket.
FASSEU members and the management of FFHC are set to meet at the National Coalition and Mediation Board in Bacolod City today to resolve the issue.
If no settlement is reached, the stevedores will hold another picket until the management of FFHC will heed their call.
In October last year, 92 personnel of the sugar and molasses division were retrenched from their jobs, allegedly for no apparent reason, prompting them to file charges before the DOLE office in Bacolod that was later forwarded to the agency's national office
However, until now, DOLE has not resolved the issue.*APN