Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Uphold freedom of association at metal factory in Philippines

Freedom of association is being suppressed at a metal factory in the Philippines that supplies parts to giant multinational companies such as Whirlpool, Electrolux, General Electric, Home Depot and Coleman Cable/Southwire. The management of Taifini Copper and Conductor Inc., a Taiwanese-owned factory in the industrial province of Cavite, is desperately seeking to destroy the union that is in the process being certified as the bargaining agent of rank and file workers.

Workers are being intimidated by supervisors and managers to desist from joining or resign from the union. Union officers have been repeatedly met by top management and recently by the owner himself in a bid to stop the unionization. Union officers and members have been told that its customers will stop their orders once a union is formed and that the company will be forced to shutdown if unionization continues. Overtime has been stopped and thus take home pay has been reduced as a way to harass workers. The union president has been demoted from machine operator to mere helper,

The labor union at Taifini Copper and Conductor appeals for solidarity from colleagues in the workers movement. Likewise it calls upon Whirlpool, Electrolux, General Electric, Home Depot and Coleman Cable/Southwire to uphold their supply chain code of conduct and commitment to freedom of association.

The union is demanding a stop to the union busting campaign of management, a public declaration by Taifini Copper and Conductor to respect freedom of association, and the reinstatement of the union president to his former position as machine operator.

The union was formed in order to better the working conditions of workers and so they can have a voice in the workplace. But they now face a vicious drive by the management to derail unionization to keep wages cheap, jobs insecure and workers docile.

This is a serious test of freedom of association under the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. The Philippines has recently come under scrutiny by the International Labor Organization for violation of Conventions 87 and 98 on the right to organize and bargain collectively.

Taifini Copper and Conductor has more than 100 regular workers but including contract employees, has a total workforce of around 500. The factory produces copper wire products for export to the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Japan. The company is headquartered in South Taipei, Taiwan.

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