The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights slammed the unjust dismissal of 24 union officials of NXP Semiconductors Company Workers Unions (NXPSCIWU) saying such was a “deliberate move to weaken union organizing in export processing zones.”
“Export processing zones implements a no union-no strike policy. Despite this, NXPSCIWU is one of the few independent unions that managed to persist inside an EPZ. This management attempt to bust NXP-union is thus not only an attack to the local union itself but a deliberate move supported by the PEZA to weaken union organizing in industrial enclaves,” said Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director.
The group pointed out that the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has always upheld a very repressive policy in union organizing inside economic zones in order to keep a favorable and peaceful climate for business at the expense of workers’ legal and democratic rights. “Economic zones exist like ‘independent’ kingdoms without respect for Philippine labor laws. In many cases, even the Department of Labor and Employment cannot enforce the law inside these eco-zones let alone hold PEZA and companies responsible for their violations of workers’ rights,” Arago added.
On May 5, 24 of the 26 executive council members of NXPSCIWU was barred from entering the gates of the Light Industry and Science Park (LISP) in Laguna where NXP-Philips is located, apparently because they have been fired by the company for not reporting to work on three official holidays in the month April and on Labor Day, May 1.
The labor NGO said that NXP union has achieved gains and benefits for its workers as proven by its past collective bargaining agreements and has been gaining ground in organizing workers inside the LISP. “NXP [union] is reaching out to other workers inside the LISP by extending services and educating workers as part of its efforts to organize workers in other factories. Reden Alcantara, NXP union president is also the current head of the Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines, proof that NXP is actively pursuing solidarity work with workers beyond its local,” Arago added.
Noting that harassment on unions generally intensifies during CBA negotiations, Arago added that the timing of the dismissal is “certainly meant to undermine” the NXP union’s collective bargaining power. “But aside from the CBA issues, the assault on NXP union is also a warning that any attempt to organize independent unions in eco-zones will face similar attack,” Arago averred.
The group expressed full support to the fight of the NXP workers. “We demand that the sacked leaders of NXP union be brought back to work immediately and that CBA negotiations resume. We challenge the Labor Department to act for the workers’ interest and push the company and PEZA to stop violating workers right and uphold workers freedom to organize inside the economic zones.” Arago said.###