Hundreds of union members were forced to leave the production line at NXP Manufacturing in Laksi, Bangkok at midnight on 27 February. The workers were given only two choices: to sign a company form to accept a new work system and keep their job, or leave.
Since October last year the union and management had conducted negotiations in which NXP was pushing the union to accept a continuous production schedule which requires workers to work four consecutive days with two days off which can fall on any day in a week; no overtime pay for weekend work; compulsory overtime without advance notice; the reduction of annual holidays from 12 days to eight days; the elimination of a negotiated pay structure and positions of daily wage workers, to be left in the hand of management alone to decide.
The union president at NXP Manufacturing, Thailand, Wanlop Chujit, said the company has been interfering in union collective bargaining by threatening and forcing workers to accept the new work schedule:
NXP Manufacturing workers in Thailand were told that if they do not accept the new system, they would lose their jobs as the company would move production to other countries. We were furious to hear of management forcing out workers from the factory in the middle of the night with total disregard for their safety, particularly of the women workers, some of whom were pregnant.
NXP are threatening to move production to facilities in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines.
A woman worker at the factory stated:
This factory has been operating for 38 years. Most of us have worked here for more than 10 years. Most of the workers have families. The new work schedule proposed by the company means we lose weekends and time with our families.
On 1 March, union members went on strike and demonstrated outside the plant gate to voice workers’ problems including forced overtime, reduction of wages and the company’s discriminatory practice against daily wage workers.
On 13 March, the unionized workers demonstrated outside the Netherlands Embassy in Bangkok together with the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee under leadership of Chalee Loysoong.
NXP Manufacturing in Thailand employs 3,200 workers, the majority of whom are women. The average wage at the factory is 345 Baht (9 Euro) per day. NXP is the world leader in the design and manufacturing of integrated circuits used in smart labels, and supplies Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Dell, GM, BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Audi, and a number of airlines.
The Thai NXP Manufacturing Workers’ Union will soon officially become part of the IndustriALL Global Union affiliated TEAM, Confederation of Thai Electrical Appliances, Electronic, Automobile & Metalworkers.