The Asian Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network (ATNC) strongly condemns the closure of the Triumph International Philippines factory inside the FTI Complex in Taguig City and the nearby Star Performance Incorporated as well as the layoff of nearly 50% of the workforce in the Body Fashion Thailand (BFT), Triumph International's Thai subsidiary.
(Signatures are being collected in support of the workers in an online petition: http://gopetition.com/online/29350.html.)
The ground reality
Effective July 9, 2009, 1,660 workers of Triumph International (Philippines) will be laid off from its factories in FTI, Bicutan. Additionally, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is attempting to convince workers to accept the management’s offer of separation pay, despite reports that the company is shifting operations to Region IVA or CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon). This apparent relocation and hiring of new workers in the areas of relocation proves that economic crisis excuse for the layoffs is nothing short of a smoke screen. The company has consistently failed to prove that its operations are actually losing revenue.
Body Fashion (Thailand) Ltd. (BFT) in Bang Pli, Samut Prakan province, a subsidiary of Triumph International Headquarters in Germany and Switzerland, manufactures and distributes women's lingerie and swimwear. After employing 4,200 workers for the past several years, the company has now suddenly announced a dramatic layoff of half of its workforce without advance notice. 1,930 employees, roughly half the factory’s workforce, are to be laid off effective August 28th. The company claims that it will pay the workers a severance pay in accordance to a Labour Protection Law, but in reality the severance pay offered falls far short of other related laws, Labour Relation Act of 1975, and Triumph International (Thailand) Labour Union 's CBA of 1999. The layoffs are also concentrated in those plants which have a militant and strong union.
The economic downturn and consequent reduction in sales and demand have been cited as reasons for the layoffs, however, the company has refused to provide details of their financial status to prove this.
ATNC believes that these moves are blatant attempts on the part of Triumph International to gag and undermine the trade unions in these factories. The ruse of the financial crisis and its impact on the company is being used as a smoke screen, to enable Triumph International to relocate and through this neutralise the strong worker's unions which have been demanding fair wages and better working conditions. It is our collective opinion that the economic downturn has not affected the company so drastically so as to justify such actions. If cost cutting is a concern for the company, it has many other ways to do so, particularly trimming off the bloated pay packets the top level management receive, instead of depriving thousands of their livelihoods.
Triumph International has not only reneged on collective bargaining agreements it had entered into with the workers, but also shows scant regard for national laws.
The millions in profit that have lined the pockets of the management and the investors have been through the blood, sweat and tears of workers in these factories. We demand that
Unconditional reinstatement of all workers
Immediately stop the relocation of factories and production material