NXP workers hold protest march and benefit dinner

In an update released August 8th, the Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP) reports on a protest march in front of the NXP plant on August 6th. Around 1000 workers and supporters successfully asserted their right to march inside the special economic zones, despite big steel bars installed at the gate. Furthermore, MWAP organized a benefit-dinner on August 5 to raise funds for the NXP campaign. Around 70 supporters and workers’ advocates attended the event. The labor dispute in NXP Cabuyao enters its 3rd month; the management refuses not to reinstate 24 dismissed union officers.

NXP workers hold protest march and benefit dinner

Protest-caravan

On 6 August, NXP workers marked the 3rd month of their labor dispute by holding a successful march inside the special economic zone and in front of their plant. Around 1,000 workers and supporters participated in the action. Some 20 vehicles joined the caravan from Manila to Southern Tagalog. They were later joined by other trade unions and supporters in Crossing, Calamba, Laguna.

En route to the Light Industry and Science Park 1 (LISP 1, special economic zone where NXP is located), protesters repeatedly educated the public on the situation in NXP. They urged the public to support the NXP fight and the struggle of other workers who are fighting for their right to unionize.

Once again, the workers and their supporters successfully asserted their right to march inside the special economic zones. Big steel bars installed in Gate 1 of LISP 1 did not stop the determination of the workers to push thru their action.

The workers tried to negotiate with the security guards and police elements to allow them to peacefully enter the special ecozone. A brief altercation ensued when security guards tried to stop them. Some protesters climbed the gate and removed the steel barriers to allow the march to continue towards NXP plant.

Representatives from various sectors expressed their support to NXP workers at the program held in the NXP gate. When the program was about to end, representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 4 (Southern Tagalog) suddenly came. They witnessed first-hand the strong support for the illegally-dismissed workers and the staunch clamor for their reinstatement. They witnessed the firm demand of the workers for a substantial CBA, for the regularization of contractual workers and for a stop to union-busting.

The workers later marched around the 7-km ecozone. Passing by the NXP lot, workers were seen peeping from the company windows with clenched fists in solidarity with their protesting co-workers outside. As protesters passed on various manufacturing and service companies in the ecozone, they repeatedly urged the workers to put up unions and fight for their rights.

Benefit dinner

On 5 August, MWAP organized a benefit-dinner to raise funds for the NXP campaign and against union-busting. Around 70 supporters and workers’ advocates attended the event. These include progressive parliamentarians, church people, peasants, women, health workers and NGO workers and other trade unions. The illegally-dismissed workers were of course present at the event. A number of those who bought tickets couldn’t make it due to heavy rains and huge traffic but sent messages of support thru SMS.

Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap delivered a solidarity message and said that Anakpawis is set to file a legislative inquiry on the NXP labor dispute. Gabriela Women’s Partylist Rep. Emmi deJesus, who couldn’t come because she was attending a budget hearing at the House of Representatives, sent a representative to express her support.

Three months

The labor dispute in NXP Cabuyao enters its 3rd month. The management persists on its stubborn refusal not to reinstate the illegally-dismissed 24 union officers. It continues to ignore the just demands of the workers and deny them of their basic rights. Protest actions by workers and their supporters continue. Support from the local and international community remains strong. Workers gear for an intensified fight. The major demands remain: the reinstatement of the 24 union officers, the conclusion of a substantial CBA, the regularization of contractual workers and a stop to union-busting.

Other actions

NXP workers joined the people’s protest during the 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the Philippine President last 28 July. Reden Alcantara, NXP union president and national president of the Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP), talked about their dismissal and the plight of the workers especially in the special economic enclaves. His speech also dealt on the workers’ situation in the country, particularly low wages, rampant contractualizaion and the attacks on workers’ rights.

The song rendered by the illegally-dismissed workers was widely-applauded by protesters at the SONA. Social media actions continue. In various social media sites, workers and supporters continue to post, like, share and tweet images, articles, write-ups and others about the NXP dispute using the hashtag #bringbacknxp24.

Conciliation meetings, stubborn attitude

Due to strong local and international actions and support, the NXP management was forced to talk with the union through conciliation meetings mediated by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Four meetings were held since last month. Next meeting is scheduled on 11 August. In all of the meetings, the NXP management is only paying lip service to the workers’ demands and refuses to reinstate the 24 officers.

To avoid outside protests, the NXP management only announces the venue of the meeting at the last minute. However, simultaneous with the meetings, protest actions are conducted by workers inside the NXP plant consisting of placard-wearing, noise barrage during break time and protest-march at the company’s ground.

Shifting meetings with workers are regularly done by the union to update them of the status of the fight and the corresponding plans.

Intensified repression

NXP is declaring martial law on its workers. Following the series of actions, and most especially the latest successful actions on 6 August, cameras were installed all over the NXP plant. Company security guards, on obvious instructions from the management, prevented the workers from wearing t-shirts with the print “REINSTATE THE 24 OFFICERS” inside the plant. The union also received reports that workers are being prevented to like, post, share and tweet messages regarding the NXP labor dispute on social media.

The management continues to ignore the demand for the reinstatement of the 24 illegally-dismissed officers. Instead, it is offering a compensation package.

But the 24 illegally-dismissed union officers are not biting the offer. “We want to go back to work” remains to be their firm stand. The union is strongly backed by its more than 1,500 members.

Local and international support

A new online petition was launched at SumofUs.org (http://action.sumofus.org/a/apple-supplier-nxp-union-busting/, arranged by IndustriALL Global Union (where MWAP is an affiliate). The petition raises concern on the labor dispute in NXP Philippines and urges Apple to demand to NXP the reinstatement of illegally-dismissed 24 union officials. NXP is one of Apple’s key suppliers. The online petition had over 140,000 signatures in less than 2 weeks. Distraught by the furor it is creating, NXP released a letter disputing the illegal dismissal and said that the petition is “based on incorrect and misleading information.” The letter was signed by Sean Hunkler, EVP Operations and Robert Rigby-Hall, EVP Chief Human Resources Officer.

The strong local and international support is definitely sending shivers to NXP. But at the same time, it is trying to counter the strong support by launching more attacks against the workers.

Until the management complies with the just demands of the workers, the union will continue to launch protest actions. The union is asking the local and international community to continue supporting their fight as they gear for an intensified struggle.

Some Plans:

  • Aug 11: Conciliation meeting between NXP union and management at the main office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Manila. A protest action outside will be conducted by supporters simultaneous with the meeting. There will also be support actions inside the NXP plant.
  • Sept 5: Social Media Action Day to mark the 4th month of the labor dispute. More details to follow. 

Source and more info: Reden Alcantara, NXPSCIWU union president and MWAP National President

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