SAN SIMON -- Representatives of the Stronghold Steel Corporation here are allegedly wooing workers of the plant to stop their protest and sign a waiver regarding their separation pay.
The workers of the firm have been promised separation pay since the former firm known as Milwaukee Steel Corporation--believed to be partly owned by alleged businessman Antonio Tiu--permanently shut down last January after ceasing operations on December 15, 2014.
Tiu is the alleged dummy of Vice President Jejomar Binay, based on the Senate hearings on the alleged anomalies involving the Binay family.
Union leader Allan Pangilinan said their group has already been trimmed down from 170 members to just 110, after 60 others were "swayed by company representatives."
"Ginugulungan nila ang mga kasamahan namin. Binayabayaran nila dun sa 15-17 tapos papapirmahin nila ng waiver. Ang sabi nila wala silang pera pero nagbabayad sila ng ganyan patalikod," Pangilinan said.
The negotiation is still ongoing at the Department of Labor and Employment where both camps are working on an amicable settlement.
"Sa last na meeting namin, tumatawad sila sa 15-17. Yun pa din ang pinipilit nila," Pangilinan said.
He said that based on their collective bargaining agreement, they were promised a P10,000 separation pay each for the regular workers, whose extent of service range from five to 26 years.
"Yung 15 years to 17 years of service pa din yung ina-advise nila kaya 15-17. Yung regular rate ng worker multiplied by 15 days tapos i-multiply ulit sa length of stay mo. Yun ang makukuhang separation pay. Pero applicable lang daw yun sa mga 15 years above ang serbisyo," Pangilinan said.
Representatives of the steel plant made their way to the back of the building as the union refused to let them enter the main gate.
"Sinarado na nga namin ito para wala na silang magawa pero yung mga security guard, nagbutas dun sa likod," the union leader said.
As of now, the group is still seeking help from their friends and some government officials to continue the fight for their interests.
"Syempre may mga trabaho kami pero hindi permanente, pangsuporta lang sa mga pamilya namin," Pangilinan told Sun.Star Pampanga.
The workers continue to urge the management of the firm to release their separation pay soon.
"Sana ibigay na nila yung nararapat samin kasi habang tumatagal, lalo lang lumalaki yung damage namin pareho," Pangilinan said.
The union is now calling the attention of the authorities to help them claim what is right for the workers.
"Galing din kami sa Securities and Exchange Commission at sabi hindi naman sila [Stronghold Steel Corporation] nalulugi," Pangilinan said.
The reason for the shutdown of the plant is also still unknown to the workers until now, he added, claiming that the Tiu siblings, who are the owners of the firm, do not allegedly "share the same interest now."
Another worker said that the company is reportedly under investigation, as Tiu is part owner of the firm, an alleged reason for the shutdown.