“NXP’s cynical strategy to draw out proceedings and break the resolve of 24 loyal workers and trade union leaders, some of whom have been with the company for 20 years, is an overtly aggressive case of union busting, contravening all international standards on labour legislation.” – IndustriALL
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – An organization that brings together affiliates of global union federations spoke this week in behalf of the unionists from NXP Semiconductors in Cabuyao, Laguna. NXP Semiconductors, the billion-dollar electronics manufacturer with testing plants in other countries, is reportedly further intimidating its workers and using delaying tactics to break trade union demands to reinstate 24 illegally fired workers in the Philippines.
The Dutch multinational, which is reportedly supplying technology for Apple’s new iPhone 6, sacked 24 trade union leaders from the Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP) on 5 May for not working on a series of public holidays. They did this while in talks with the said union officers for a new contract or collective bargaining agreement (CBA). They were deadlocked on the issue of wage hike.
Since the allegedly illegal dismissal, the union has struggled to continue with the CBA talks even as union members and officers found it harder to meet amid the company’s intensified use of surveillance and “security” in and out of the workplace. Now, the global union IndustriALL is condemning reports that NXP is said to have conveyed through the Department of Labor and Employment that “it wants to try and pay off the illegally sacked workers, effectively removing the trade union leadership from the plant. MWAP has rejected this offer.”
The company and the union continued to hold talks facilitated by representatives of the labor department. IndustriaALL bewails how, despite assurances, NXP has failed to bring a new negotiating team to the table for talks with IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, MWAP this week, delaying what it calls a critical conciliation meeting. In the meantime, the 24 fired trade unionists face yet another week without work and without pay.
Adding to the intimidation already felt by workers in NXP Cabuyao plant, the company has reportedly even increased further the number of security guards at its plant.
Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL’s general secretary, said in a statement last July 16, “NXP must end the delaying tactics, stop the intimidation and bring back the workers now. NXP’s cynical strategy to draw out proceedings and break the resolve of 24 loyal workers and trade union leaders, some of whom have been with the company for 20 years, is an overtly aggressive case of union busting, contravening all international standards on labour legislation.”
The global union leader also criticized the “insulting attempt to pay the illegally fired workers, warning at the same time that this would set a dangerous precedent of trading corporate cash for worker rights.
“You cannot put a price on fundamental worker rights,” Raina said.
The existence of a union in NXP, a leading member of MWAP, which is allied with IndustriALL, is considered in the labor sector as an against-all-odds success, considering that NXP’s Cabuyao facility in the Philippines is located inside a special economic zone notorious for having an unwritten policy of no-union, no-strike. This policy has a record of being enforced yet denied by a multi-tiered combination of local government, locator firms, and armed forces ranging from the police, the economic zone’s security guards, the firm’s own security forces including what the union describes as “hired goons”, and finally the regional police and the military.
This year, when MWAP workers started negotiating for a new collective bargaining agreement with NXP, the company responded by firmly refusing to budge in their wage decision, hiring double its usual temporary or contractual workers, and eventually, firing all 24 members of the union’s leadership under the pretext that their failure to work on a number of public holidays amounted to an illegal strike.
As the union perseveres to achieve its new CBA and reinstate the sacked union leaders, there is a growing global campaign calling for their support, according to IndustriALL. As well as protests around the world, it announced in a statement that 15 IndustriALL affiliates in the Philippines have signed a powerful statement of solidarity in support of MWAP.
NXP has operations in over 25 countries. Formerly a Philips division, in 2013 NXP reported revenue of US$ 4.82 billion. Aside from being a key supplier to Apple, its customers include major employers of IndustriALL members including Bosch, Continental and Samsung among others.