“The sudden closure of Honda Cars Phils. Inc. (HCPI), without informing its workers is irresponsible, unjust and illegal. The management and the workers thru their union are bound by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and yet everyone was caught by surprise. It is the workers’ right to be informed of such drastic actions, especially as it costs them their jobs which their families have been depending on for years,” said Daisy Arago, Executive Director of CTUHR.
On February 22, a supposed normal workday for the Honda Cars Phils. manufacturing workers, became a nightmare when they were called for a general meeting wherein HCPI’s President and General Manager Noriyuki Takakura appeared on a video message announcing that Honda will cease operations in the Philippines. Before the workers could absorb the devastating news, HCPI immediately stopped its operations and other workers were refused entry to the plant’s premises. Around 70 guards were reported to be watching the plant and police were subsequently assembled at the Gate 1 of the Laguna Technopark Inc. (LTI). A firetruck was also deployed near HCPI.
“This is so unfair. We didn’t have any idea that the company will be closing down. We demand that the company management to sit down with us and explain the illegal closure and what it intends to do with the workers. We have families to feed and children to send to school,” says Christopher Oliquinio, Union Vice President of Lakas Manggagawang Nagkakaisa sa Honda (LMNH-OLALIA-KMU).
LMNH-OLALIA-KMU, in its statement, noted that prior to Honda’s sudden closure, they have been conducting dialogues with the management regarding the downsizing of their production. The management told them that it will lessen its production from 35 cars per day to 18 and that it will no longer be manufacturing the Honda City model. The management even assured them that no one will lose their job, as those who will be displaced from the downsizing will be transferred to a new department. That’s why they were completely surprised with its sudden closure.
“It is difficult to understand the claims of Honda Cars that it is closing its manufacturing operations in the Philippines, ‘to meet Honda’s customer needs in the Philippines for reasonably priced and good-quality products…’ It is putting a highest premium to customer’s satisfaction at the expense of the jobs and welfare of the very workers who labored very hard to make the costumers satisfied,” added Arago.
Honda’s closure will impact not only its 387 workers and their families, but also the workers of its 60 companies supplying parts and materials to Honda that are in the country. Most of the HCPI workers have been serving the company for 15-20 years. Some even served them for 28 years.
A day after the closure, Malacanang commented on the closure of the manufacturing plant of Japanese automaker Honda in the country. “It is very insensitive and uncalled for,” avers CTUHR on Malacanang’s statement that the closure will not affect the national economy and that affected workers can find jobs in country’s Build, Build, Build projects. It added that there are other foreign companies in the country apart from Honda Cars.
“Malacanang seems to be out of touch as it undermines the welfare of workers and their families. It also seems to ignores the reality that Honda Cars Phils. has Php1.9 billion investments in the country. It continues to boast its BBB projects which has cost the government Php 43 billion debt, while it fails to provide decent jobs it has promised. 5.1% Filipinos remain unemployed,” CTUHR added.
CTUHR calls on HCPI management to have a heart, face its workers, respect their rights and conduct a dialogue immediately. CTUHR also urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to exercise its power, intervene immediately and take appropriate measures to protect the jobs of those affected and ensure that foreign investors respect the rights of Filipino workers. CTUHR appeals to the public to support the illegally locked out workers. Guards and police are preventing supporters and fellow workers from bringing in food and other needs for the protesting workers.
Currently, hundreds of workers are still holding vigil inside the factory, as they demand a dialogue with HCPI management, which they rightfully deserve.###