Sunday, April 10, 2016

Union calls for reinstatement of fired workers to avert strike

A labor union demanded the reinstatement of terminated workers to avert a strike in an electronics subcontractor in the Cavite ecozone. Last March, 20 union officers and members were terminated by the management of Korean-owned Seung Yuen Technology Industries Corp. (SYTIC). In response, the union filed a notice of strike for union busting and a majority of union members have authorized a strike in a vote conducted last week.

“We call on SYTIC management to heed the call of their workers. Reinstate the workers they illegally fired for union activities. Stop busting the union and respect freedom of association,” averred Frederick Bayot, union president.

Two mediation meetings convened by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ended inconclusively. In the last mediation hearing, management informed the workers that the company will shutdown on May 4. SYTIC workers have been conducting protest actions for the past several days. And last Friday, some 100 SYTIC workers and their supporters from nearby factories marched inside the Cavite ecozone to drum up solidarity for the fight.

“The mass retrenchment and company closure are obvious attempts to bust the union. Non-union employees are being told they will be hired once the company opens for business again. Since the successful formation of a union, management has harassed workers, threatened them with closure, offered them separation pay, and employed other dirty tricks used to bust unions,” stated Dennis Sequena, an organizer of Partido Manggagawa, a partylist group which is assisting the SYTIC workers.

SYTIC manufactures plastic products that provide protection to integrated circuits and electronic components from physical and electrostatic discharge during storage and shipping. Its three biggest customers are ON Semiconductor Philippines Inc. in Carmona, Cavite, Analog Devices General Trias Inc. in the Gateway Business Park in General Trias, Cavite and Texas Instruments factories in Baguio and Clark ecozones. All are local subsidiaries of US multinational companies. ON Semiconductor is a spinoff of Motorola. SYTIC also supplies to Cavite-based factories of local subsidiaries of US electronics companies Maxim Integrated and Cypress. It exports part of its production to C-Pak Cergas in Malaysia.

The workers formed a union in an effort to address workplace problems including violations of labor standards. . Among the most egregious violations are that part of their wages are not paid in cash but in the form of meals, non-payment of overtime due to an illegal compressed workweek schedule, and the lack of a company nurse, doctor and hospital bed, as provided for in the Labor Code.

“We reported these infractions to the provincial office of the DOLE but no action has yet been taken. We just asking for what is ours according to law yet SYTIC management has stubbornly resisted recognizing the rights of their employees,” insisted Bayot.

April 10, 2016

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