Malaysian electronics manufacturer Renesas Semiconductor criticised for union busting

87 civil society organisations, trade unions and groups are calling on Malaysian electronics manufacturer Renesas Semiconductor to respect the freedom of association and the right to effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. Renesas must immediately accord recognition to the Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region (EIEUWR), and reinstate Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah and all other worker leaders terminated.

Malaysian electronics manufacturer Renesas Semiconductor criticised for union busting

87 civil society organisations from Malyasia and abroad are calling on Renesas Semiconductor KL Sdn Bhd (formerly known as NEC Semiconductors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd] to stop obstructing or delaying, and immediately accord recognition to the union. It has been more than 3 years since the Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region Peninsular Malaysia (EIEUWR) first applied in January 2010 for recognition by Renesas. Renesas must stop its delaying tactics so that workers at Renesas can at last begin to enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining agreement.

In Malaysia, after being registered, recognition by the employer is needed before the UNION can start negotiating and enter into any Collective Bargaining Agreement with the employer company. The UNION has to submit a claim for recognition, and within 21 days, the company can accord recognition or not. If not, then the Director General of Industrial Relations (DGIR) steps in and start the process of conducting   a secret ballot to ensure that more than  5o% plus one of the qualified workers is for the union – then the union is accorded recognition, and thereafter can effectively represent the workers. 

Even though  about 70% (1,300) of Renesas ’s workers eligible to be members of the  union were already members of EIEUWR when the first application was made by the UNION to the company for recognition, Renesas did not accord recognition and after more than 3 years and Renesas still refuses to recognize the UNION.

On 18 January 2010, EIEUWR submitted the 1st application for recognition to Renesas . The company responded that there was a pro-tem in-house union, which was unregistered, also seeking recognition. The Director General of Industrial Relations (DGIR) rejected this reason. Then, Renesas claimed  that they did not receive the claim for recognition, when the application had been hand delivered personally by Wan Noorulazhar, the Union President, and Renesas acknowledged receipt. The DGIR later asked the Union to send again their claim for recognition.

The 2nd claim for recognition was submitted on 17/8/2010, this time by acknowledged receipt registered post, and again Renesas claimed they did not receive it, and the UNION also did not receive back the duly signed acknowledged receipt card from the postal services.

The 3rd claim for recognition was submitted to Renesas on 8/10/2010, and this time using the National Courier Poslaju. After receipt of the UNION’s  letter, Renesas send it back to Poslaju asking that the letter be returned  to the UNION. Poslaju provided a letter confirming this. Renesas could not deny receipt this time, and rightfully the DGIR should have done the needful which was to the conduct of a ‘secret ballot’. But, there was inaction on the part of the DGIR for many months despite repeated demands by the UNION, and finally on 12/8/2011, the UNION had a picket in front of the Ministry of Human Resources. The DGIR then informed the UNION that the said relevant documents had been misplaced, and the blame was put on the Deputy DGIR responsible, who allegedly has since then been removed from that position. The DGIR  then asked the Union to submit yet  another  claim for recognition.

The 4th claim for recognition was made on 8/9/2011. Renesas ’s now challenged the validity of the registration of EIEUWR(the UNION) itself, and the qualification of the UNION’s General Secretary, one Bruno Gentil Pereira. When the Minister rejected this objection on 9/4/2012, Renesas proceeded to filed a High Court case to challenge the Minister’s decision on 8/5/2012, whereby on 28/6/2012, the High Court dismissed the Renesas ’s  application. Renesas then appealed to the Court of Appeal who also unanimously dismissed the case on 5 December 2012.

 

After the High Court dismissed Renesas application on 28/6/2012, there was no court order stopping the DGIR from proceeding with the secret ballot but the DGIR did not do anything.

After much protestation by the Union, the DGIR finally started the process by writing to Renesas to submit Form B, as required by law, on about 14/12/2012. Renesas did not comply and a second letter  was sent by the DGIR  on 14/1/2013. Renesas again did not comply, and now it is believed that  a third letter has been sent by the DGIR.

When, and if the day finally comes for the ‘secret ballot’, the workers entitled to vote would be the workers as of the date the claim was submitted, being 8/9/2011 but with the existence of short-term contracts, many of the pro-union workers may  no more be employees of Renesas , and this will prejudice the UNION, who still will have to show that it has the support of at least  50% plus one of the number of qualified employees as per the list of qualified employees on 8/9/2011. The tactic of delaying the secret ballot works in favour of the employer, and prejudices the UNION.

Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah, an employee of Renesas who is the President of the UNION was dismissed on 26/8/2011 by Renesas whereby the alleged misconduct, was that his actions were ‘contrary to explicit company policies’. He allegedly made statements about treatment of workers in a closed Facebook Group, whose members were fellow workers. The alleged misconduct It had nothing to do with his work performance. The wrongful dismissal case is now before the Industrial court.

The current trend at the Industrial Courts when it makes a finding the worker has been wrongfully dismissed by the employer is not to order reinstatement, but to rather order compensation.  If not reinstated, workers of Renesas would be deprived of a leader. Renesas can at any time reinstate  Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah  without  loss of benefits. 

On 14/3/2013, EIUWR and the workers of Renesas again had a protest picket at Putrajaya.

We call on Renesas Semiconductor KL Sdn  Bhd to immediately accord recognition to Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region (EIEUWR), and  immediately reinstate Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah and all other worker leaders terminated.

 

Full list of organisations that subscribed to the call:

  • ALIRAN
  • Andhra Pradesh State Domestic Workers' Union, India
  • Asia Monitor Resource Centre(AMRC)
  • Asia  Pacific  Forum on Women , Law and Development ( APWLD)
  • Asia Floor Wage Alliance- SEA Office
  • Building and Wood Workers International Asia Pacific Regional Office (BWI APRO)
  • Center for Migrant Advocacy ,Philippines
  • Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) Sri Lanka
  • Center for Orang  Asli Concerns (COAC)
  • CIMS- Centre for Indian Migrant Studies
  • Clean Clothes Campaign
  • Committee for Asian Women, Bangkok
  • Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia
  • Confederation of Free Trade Unions of India
  • Dignity International
  • GoodElectronics
  • GoodElectronics Thailand (GET)
  • Hope Workers' Center, Taiwan
  • Hsinchu Catholic Diocese Migrants and Immigrants Service Center (HMISC), Taiwan
  • Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
  • IDWN( International  Domestic Workers’  Network)
  • IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
  • International Campaign for Responsible Technology, US
  • International League of Peoples' Struggle – Canada
  • Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW), Cambodia
  • LIPS (Lembaga Informasi Perburuhan Sedane/Sedane Labour Resource Centre) Indonesia
  • MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
  • Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • MAP Foundation, Thailand
  • Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network, Berkeley, CA  USA
  • Migrant Care
  • Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
  • Migrant Forum India (MF India)
  • Migrant Forum Lanka (MFL)
  • Migrants Rights Council India
  • Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)
  • NAMM (Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia)
  • NDWM -  National Domestic Workers' Movement, India
  • NLD-LA (National League for Democracy-Liberated Areas), Malaysia
  • Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization (PRWSWO)
  • Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)
  • People & Planet, UK
  • Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
  • PINAY Quebec
  • Progressive Labor Union of Domestic Workers- Hong Kong
  • PSWS (Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor)
  • Pusat KOMAS (KOMAS)
  • Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Bangladesh
  • SALT (School of Acting Justly Loving Tenderly and Walking Humbly)
  • SBMI (Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia)
  • Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW), Philippines
  • State Enterprises Workers' Relations Confederation (SERC), Thailand
  • State Railway Workers' Union of Thailand (SRU), Thailand
  • SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia)
  • Tenaganita, Malaysia
  • The Alliance of Progressive Labor - Hong Kong
  • Tourism Employees Association of Maldives
  • Women's Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) Nepal
  • Workers Assistance Center, Inc, Philippines
  • Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)
  • Women Workers Lead
  • Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
  • Youth For Peace/Peace Institute of Cambodia (YFP/PIC)
  • Malaysian Unions
  • Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Timur Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWTSM)
  • Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan Semenanjung Malaysia
  • Kesatuan Sekerja Pekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Utara
  • Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja MHS Aviation Berhad
  • Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific
  • Paper & Paper Products Manufacturing Employees' Union Of Malaysia (PPPMEU)
  • TNBJOU (TNB Junior Officers Union), Malaysia
  • Malayan Technical Services Union (MTSU)
  • NUBE (National Union of Banking Employees), Malaysia
  • Association of Maybank Executive
  • Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja Pekerja Perusahaan Alat Alat Pengangkutan Dan Sekutu(NUTEAIW)
  • Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Dalam Perkhidmatan Perubatan Dan Kesihatan Swasta-[Union Of Employees In Private Medical And Health Services]
  • Kesatuan Eksekutif Canon Opto (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
  • Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn.Bhd.
  • Electrical Industry Workers' Union (EIWU)
  • Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Fujikura Federal Cables Sdn Bhd
  • Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Kelab Semenanjung Malaysia
  • Kesatuan Eksekutif Airod (KEA)
  • UNI Global Union-Malaysia
  • MTUC Pahang
  • MTUC Penang Division
  • MTUC Bahagian Melaka
  • Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Cawangan Pulau Pinang
  • MTUC Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan