LAGUNA– Barely two days after the signing of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the Japanese-owned Keihin Philippines Corporation threatened Oct 29 to shutdown operations in its factory in Laguna Technopark Incorporated (LTI) in Biñan, Laguna.
That morning, company president Akihiro Takahashi talked to the workers from the production area at the factory canteen and announced the factory’s imminent closure.
“Mr. Takahashi simply said that Keihin will transfer to another country,” said Joel Isabela, union president of Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa sa Keihin (NLMK), an affiliate of Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture-Kilusang Mayo Uno (OLALIA-KMU).
“We don’t see any reason why the company would close down when we just ratified a new CBA on October 27. If the company had filed a notice of closure to the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), it would have been unreasonable for the company to proceed with the CBA ratification. Therefore, this closure is illegal,” said Isabela.
Until yesterday the workers were holed up in the factory cafeteria. An unverified number of Philippine National Police elements, deployed to the company that day, and company guards, have been barring the workers from going beyond the canteen and the adjacent locker area.
Workers reportedly saw an official from the Department of Labor and Employment in the company premises but the official evaded the workers.
Keihin has a total work force of 106 of which 30% are women. It produces intake manifold, an important part of the air conditioning system for Honda cars. It exports 98% of its products.
“We will stay here in the factory until the management talks to us about the closure threat. We will also insist for the immediate CBA implementation. Also, anytime today, we will file our notice of strike. We shall call the attention of the Japanese Embassy to look into this matter. We will stay here even beyond All Saints Day,” Isabela said.