Saturday, April 9, 2016

Violations of freedom of association and labor standards in an electronics subcon in the Philippines

SYTIC workers in protest vs union busting
Workers of Seung Yuen Technology Industries Corp. (SYTIC), a Korean-owned plastics company that is part of the electronics industry supply chain, are facing issues of freedom of association and labor standards. The workers have recently formed a union in an effort to address workplace problems including violations of labor standards.

Last March, 20 union officers and members were terminated in a blatant attempt at union busting. Then a few days ago management filed for closure even as they inform non-union workers not to worry since they will be hired once the company opens for business again.

After successfully forming and registering a union in accordance with law, management started to subvert the freedom of association of SYTIC workers by talking separately to union leaders that unionization will lead to the closure of the company and thus it is better for them to accept separation now rather than wait for the shutdown. Union members were also individually met by management to be threatened with the alleged shutdown.  After which several union officers, including the duly elected union president and treasurer, were slapped with trumped up charges (about products that allegedly failed to pass quality control according to the evaluation of “trainees” and not the usual QA employees who happen to be union members or officers). Then the mass termination and later the notice of closure followed allegedly due to cancelled orders.

In response, the union has filed a complaint for union busting at the Labor Department. The FOA complaint follows an earlier compliant filed by the union for 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 provide for in the Labor Code of the Philippines.

The three biggest customers of SYTIC 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. All these companies are members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) which pledges to uphold freedom of association and labor standards in their companies and its supply chains.

SYTIC also exports part of its production to C-Pak Cergas in Malaysia. C-Pak is owned by Dou Yee International, a Singaporean investment holding company. Dou Yee owns the Eurostat Group, which manufactures and distributes electrostatic discharge protection products and is headquartered in Pont-de-Poitte, France.

SYTIC is located in the in the Cavite Economic Zone. A majority of the 50-plus regular workforce are already union members. It manufactures carrier tapes which are plastic products that provide protection to integrated circuits and electronic components from physical and electrostatic discharge during storage and shipping. It is thus part of the electronics industry supply chain.

April 8, 2016

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