Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stop union busting at a supplier to big electronics firms

Photo by Rappler

The management of a Taiwanese-owned factory located in the biggest export zone in the Philippines is trying to bust the newly-formed union of workers. Lakepower Converter Inc. in the Cavite Economic Zone makes electronic transformers for computers, appliances and even airplanes, and is a supplier to multinational firms like Recom Power of Germany, Arrow Electronics of US and Asus of Taiwan.

Lakepower management individually interrogated workers who were suspected of being active in the union. In a mediation meeting in the Labor Department, Lakepower promised to respect freedom of association. But even after the mediation, managers harassed union leaders who attended the Labor Department meeting. Workers are being told that the factory will close because of the union. The union believes the rumor is fake news meant to intimidate workers. In fact, the factory is operating at full production thus contractual workers are being regularized and employees are working for seven days a week without a day off.

A majority of the 200 hundred workers of Lakepower joined a union in a bid to improve working conditions. Another hundred more workers are contractual. In the Labor Department mediation, the union presented a list of more than a dozen workplace grievances. Among those issues included disciplining a pregnant worker by putting her in the hottest work area in the factory; airconditioners at the shopfloor kept shut and turned on only for visitors like Labor Department officials; and keeping the women’s restroom door permanently open.

None of the workplace grievances has yet been resolved by Lakepower. Almost all of the Lakepower workers are women.

Mercy Tanginan, union president and a worker for some seven years, is calling on Lakepower to uphold its promise to respect freedom of association and negotiate with the union in good faith to improve working conditions. She also called on Lakepower customers like Recom Power, Arrow Electronics and Asus to remediate the violations by Lakepower.

Lakepower is 100% Taiwanese-owned according to the records of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and exports all of its production to Coil Technology Corporation that is based in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. Coil Technology Corp. calls itself a “service provider for technology and supply-chain management in power electronics.”

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