On behalf of the dismissed Sony Technology (Thailand) workers and the Sony Union

(Thailand) On July 12, 2007, 18 workers of Sony Technology Thailand[1] were dismissed, one day before the general congress of the ‘Sony Union’ (Thailand), the new union they had organized. They are the second group of workers’ leaders at Sony Technology which have been dismissed this year due to their attempt to organize a union. Four workers’ leaders who tried to organize a union on May 24, 2007 were dismissed after they had processed the registration of the union. However, their struggle to form a union was carried on with success: the union was officially registered on the 12th of June 2007.

The code that was developed by the electronics industry, the Electronics Industry Code of Conduct (EICC), also signed by Sony, states that “suppliers are to respect the rights of workers to associate freely, join labour unions, seek representation and or join workers’ councils in accordance with local laws.” This right of union freedom is not being respected by Sony Thailand, considering the frustration of earlier attempts to establish a labour union.

In a testimony to the Thai Ministry of Labour Sutheera Jitrawan, one of the union leaders that was dismissed, stated “after 11 years of working for Sony, my monthly salary is still only 6,500 baht [145 Euro]. Do you think this is justified? This is such a small amount compared to the profits made by the company. With my salary I could never buy any of the products that I produced.”

In their first demands, jointly submitted to Sony Technology on 13 June 2007, 282 workers requested that Sony follow the labour protection laws of Thailand on the following issues

1) Workers should not be required to submit a medical certification within three days of missing work (due to sickness).

2) Sony provide appropriate protective equipment to all workers.

3) Sony stop forcing workers to work overtime.

4) Workers should not be required to provide a doctor’s certification when they request annual leave.

At Sony Technology, there are only 1,300 workers employed directly by Sony, but a larger number of workers, 3,500 workers, are supplied by nine manpower companies. The sub-contracted workers receive a daily wage of only 175 baht (3,8 Euros) and less benefits than Sony Technology workers. It is known among the workers in the Eastern Seaboard Union that women workers in Sony are not allowed to get pregnant. “If the company knows that women workers from subcontracted companies get pregnant, they will dismiss the girls and tell them to re-apply for the job again after their delivery. Thus, pregnant workers have to hind their pregnancy and do not tell Sony if they are pregnant in order not to be dismissed.” One of a dismissed workers told the Ministry of Labour officer.

The Sony Union (Thailand) and the dismissed Sony workers are asking for your support and request Sony The Netherlands the following;

1) To order the Sony Technology (Thailand) to reinstate all the dismissed workers to the same position and benefits. In addition, Sony Technology (Thailand) should give compensation to all and pay for the back wages to these dismissed workers.

2) Sony Technology (Thailand) must not, either directly or indirectly, block their union to conduct their activities.

3) Sony Technology (Thailand) should not punish or dismiss the leaders of their union.

4) Sony Technology (Thailand) must engage, fairly, in the Collective Bargaining Negotiation.

[1] * Sony Holding (Asia) B.V., Netherlands and Sony International Singapore are both large shareholders in Sony Thailand. Sony Thailand has a total revenue of nearly 200 million Euros.