Four Irish trade unions including Mandate Trade Union, Unite the Union, the Communications Workers’ Union and OPATSI – the plasterers’ union, have called on Galway based multinational C&F Group to reinstate 98 workers sacked in the Philippines for joining a trade union.
On May 26, 2016, the workers, many with 3 to 12 years service, registered their Trade Union with the Department of Labor and Employment and the very next day, on May 27, the company abruptly offered a redundancy programme.
The Union obtained its Certificate of Registration on May 30, 2016 and on June 6 filed for representation rights for the workers for collective bargaining purposes. On the very same day, management at the company said they were subjecting 98 workers to "retrenchment," or laying-off, of which more than 63 are union officers or union members.
Three days after the lay-offs, the company replaced the sacked workers with 55 new agency staff on top of the 50 agency workers already employed in the plant.
Since the workers were dismissed, they have been on strike outside the factory. It is the first ever industrial action in the economic zone in the Philippines and has been in place for more than 8 weeks now.
Speaking on behalf of the workers, Esmereldo Ison said, “What has happened to us is very disappointing. Many of us have worked for this company for several years and we have been sacked for trying to avail of our international human rights.”
He explained that the workers have filed for illegal dismissal cases but that process could take up to 10 years.
“We need our jobs so we can feed our families. We cannot wait three or four years for this to reach the courts. We want to be reinstated immediately.”
Mandate Trade Union General Secretary John Douglas, speaking on behalf of four trade unions in Ireland including Unite, the Communications Workers’ Union and OPATSI, said the actions of management at C&F are deplorable.
“This is a clear case of union-busting and it’s embarrassing that it’s an Irish firm with Irish management involved in this type of exploitation.”
He added, “The Managing Director of C&F, John Flaherty, needs to do the right thing and ensure these workers are reinstated immediately and compensated for any losses they have incurred due to the illegal and discriminatory behaviour of his management team in the Philippines.”
C & F Manufacturing Phils. Corporation is an Irish-owned subsidiary of C & F Tooling Ltd. of Galway, Ireland. They have operations in Ireland, Germany, Czech Republic, USA and the Philippines. According to the company website, C&F Group had a turnover in excess of $100m in 2007 and the company supplies components to multinational corporations including IBM, EMC, APC, Ingersoll Rand, Glen Dimplex, Sanyo and Hitachi Koki.
The unionised workers are demanding that the company:
1. Reinstate unconditionally all the 98 workers summarily and discriminately terminated.
2. Recognize and respect the rights of the workers to organise and to collectively bargain;
3. Respect the right of the workers for a one-day rest in a week and stop the inhumane practice of continuous and excessive long hours of work.
4. Investigate and impose disciplinary action on managers Paul Hynes and Damian Gavin for their attitude towards the Filipino workers.
5. Lastly, for management to make corrective actions to address the violations of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct.
Please sign the petition to have the workers reinstated by clicking here
NOTE: C&F Group’s code of ethics include:
“FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
In conformance with local law, participants shall respect the right of all workers to form and join trade unions of their own choosing, to bargain collectively and to engage in peaceful assembly as well as respect the right of workers to refrain from such activities. Workers and/or their representatives shall be able to openly communicate and share ideas and concerns with management regarding working conditions and management practices without fear of discrimination, reprisal, intimidation or harassment.