Hoya Glass Disk (Thailand) dispute - will the union get an equal say?Photo: Dismissed Hoya workers are removed, August 4, 2008

Please join GoodElectronics in its Urgent Appeal and call upon Hoya Thailand, parent company Hoya Japan and the buyers to ensure that the labour union has an equal say in the resolution of the conflict, and that the dismissed workers are reinstated and compensated.

Hoya Glass Disk (Thailand) dispute - will the union get an equal say?Photo: Dismissed Hoya workers are removed, August 4, 2008

Since April 2008, in total 64 union activists were fired by the management of Hoya Glass Disk (Thailand), in a disproportionately strong response to the trade union activities of EEALU. The trade union strongly objects the grounds on which these workers were dismissed. Besides the dismissals, the union has also been experiencing general obstruction. The mass dismissal of 43 union activists on August 4th last, took place at virtually the same time as the announcement of the revocation of the trade union’s registration at the Ministry of Labour. The EEALU is calling upon the management of Hoya Thailand to reinstall the dismissed workers and to respect the workers’ freedom of association. EEALU is also objecting the revocation of its registration as a trade union.

The very recent involvement of a number of buyers at Hoya Thailand, lead by HP, seems to have created a window of opportunity for the union to finally be recognised as a partner for dialogue by Hoya Thailand.

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History of anti-union incidents at
Hoya Glass Disk (Thailand)
in 2008

In February this year, the management of Hoya Thailand barred
the union from carrying out its normal union activities within the compound of
the company, as one of a series of measures to obstruct the union. EEALU has
informed GoodElectronics how the management has distributed leaflets among
workers and has posted messages on the internet discrediting and attacking the
union.

Between April and July 2008, 6 union
activists were dismissed, according to EEALU for unfounded and fabricated
reasons. Two of the workers were pressured to resign; the other four cases were
taken by EEALU to the Labour Court (LC) and the Labour Relations Committee
(LRC) with complaints about unfair dismissal and unfair practices respectively.
According to EEALU, the chances are that both the LRC and LC will grant the
EEALU’s complaints. This, however,  does
not necessarily result in the demanded reinstatement, but will most likely
bring about the payment of damages to the workers.

On May 28, Hoya Thailand asked for
a court order to fire EEALU’s president, vice-president and secretary. This
order has not been issued, but is still being processed.

On August 4, this series of
events culminated in another dismissal order issued by the Hoya Thailand management,
to fire 21 workers on the spot. All workers concerned are actively involved in
EEALU, both as members of the EEALU Council Board as well as members of the
Employment Committee. The workers did not immediately follow up on the
dismissal order, fearing that leaving the factory’s
premises could lead to them being accused for neglecting their duties.
Subsequently, the Hoya Thailand management ordered security guards to forcefully drag
and pull the dismissed union members outside the factory.

In addition, 22 other workers were sacked the same
day, again on false grounds, according to the union.

A demonstration outside the
factory announced by the union for the evening of August 4, to protest the
unlawful dismissal of the union activists was
obstructed by factory supervisors. Workers were told that those who joined in
the demonstration before the end of the overtime period would be fired
immediately.

Since August 4, another 15 union activists have been dismissed
and several others have left the company, reportedly in frustration over the
situation. reportedly, the factory returned to using forced overtime by
making workers sign up for overtime work one week in advance.

Non
respect of CBA, as well as national and international labour regulations

GoodElectronics supports EEALU in its efforts to have
the dismissed union activists reinstated and to respect freedom of association.
GoodElectronics points out that workers are protected by the Thai Labour Law as
well as by ILO conventions. EEALU considers the August 4 dismissal order as a
clear breach of Section 121 and 123 of the 1975 Thai Labour Relations Act, as
workers serving on the Employee Committee can not be dismissed without an order
from the Labour Court which has not (yet) been issued.

Also, GoodElectronics considers this case a clear
example of the non-respect for ILO Convention 87, relating to the Freedom of
Association and the Protection of the Right to Organise, as well as Convention
98, relating to the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention.

Moreover, the dismissals are in violation of the
letter as well as the spirit of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was
reached and signed on January 25, 2008, between the HGD-Th management and
employee’s representatives, including the current Chairperson of EEALU, Mr
Srithon Pruangwichatorn. Clause 13 of the CBA reads literally: “No persecution, demotion, or dismissal will
be imposed upon workers who participate in making these
demands.”

Union
demands

EEALU is calling upon the management of Hoya Glass
Disk Thailand

  • to reinstate the
    dismissed workers and compensate them for any loss of income
  • to respect the Collective
    Bargaining Agreement of January 2008
  • to respect freedom of
    association as stipulated by the Thai Labour Law as well as by relevant ILO
    conventions.

EEALU is calling upon the relevant departments of the
Thai Ministry of Labour

  • to reconsider the
    revocation of the trade union’s registration
  • to carefully look into
    the complaints filed by EEALU in the past months.

EEALU is calling upon suppliers and customers of
HGD-Th

  • to convince HGD-Th to
    comply with the CBA as well as to national and international labour regulations
  • to publish information on
    any steps taken to redress the risen conflict.

Trade
Union Profile

The EEALU application for registration as a labour
union was approved by the Ministry of Labour on December 19, 2007. This was
preceded by the petitioning of the management of Hoya Thailandby 3,286 workers on
December 11, in
an effort to bring about improvements in the employment conditions. A general
Assembly was called on January 17, 2008, which was attended by 2,960 people,
all workers of Hoya Thailand. Currently, the EEALU membership sits at 3,470 workers.
In December 2007, the workers who set up EEALU engaged in intense negotiations
with the management of Hoya Thailand. The Collective Bargaining Agreement that was
reached and signed as a results of these negotiations includes 13 clauses
dealing with wage, payment of bonuses, leave regulations, provision of drinking
water, petrol allowances etc.

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This GoodElectronics Urgent Appeal is coordinated by Fair Trade Center Sweden.