MANILA – Hundreds of workers in the Philippines of Triumph International, one of the world’s leading underwear manufacturers, will lose their jobs as the company closes its two production facilities here, the workers’ union said Sunday.
The union said 1,660 employees in the two facilities – the Triumph International Philippines factory inside the FTI Complex in Taguig City and the nearby Star Performance Incorporated – will be affected by the closure.
According to Isabelita dela Cruz, president of the Bagong Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Triumph International, the company decided on the closure during a meeting on June 27 and that the workers would lose their jobs on July 9.
The move by Triumph International, dela Cruz said in a statement, “is unjust and illegal. It is unjust because company closure only means mass layoff or destruction of the lives of more than 1,000 workers who are breadwinners.”
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It is illegal, she added, “because it violates the Philippine laws and the collective bargaining agreement between the workers’ union and Triumph International.”
The workers have earlier expressed concern that the company was trying to find a way to get rid of them, first by re-exporting raw materials for underwear from the Philippines to other countries, thus depleting the materials at the local plants. Less raw materials means less production, which in turn means less working hours and possibly lesser number of workers, the union said.
They also said that Triumph was considering moving its plant to another area, effectively becoming a runaway shop, which could mean massive layoff of its workers.
Triumph International earlier notified its workers that the global financial crisis had severely affected the company.
“The workers denounce the management’s position that closure must be done to save the company from the effects of the global economic crisis and maintain its profitability,” the union said.
“For the workers who feed and raise money to the German multinational company, it is a brazen attack on their rights and welfare and dignity. Year after year, Triumph International profited million and millions of dollars from the fruits of labor of more than 40,000 Triumph workers worldwide.”
Dela Cruz said Triumph International had threatened to file cases against the workers and deny them benefits if they resisted the company’s decision to close.
“Superprofit and cost-cutting are the reasons why Triumph International declared closure in the Philippines and massive layoff of Triumph workers around the globe,” dela Cruz said.
She said workers should not suffer the brunt of the global financial crisis “because they are the ones making money for the company. In fact, they only get a very small share from the company’s income, despite the fact that high-quality and high-class lingerie were molded and created by the hardworking and creative workers of Triumph International.”
She denounced as well the Arroyo regime for allegedly guarding the interest of the company instead of the workers. Dela Cruz said the Department of Labor and Employment “connived with Triumph International management, supported the closure and convinced the workers to accept the offer of the management.”
The workers will hold a meeting at 1 p.m. today to plan their next course of action. (Bulatlat.com)