12 April, 2013IndustriALL Global Union together with Swedish-based affiliate IF Metall are actively pushing for a just solution with full reinstatement of all union members at GFA partner Electrolux.
Within the mechanisms of the Global Framework Agreement (GFA) between IndustriALL and the Swedish household appliances manufacturer, which is also signed by IF Metall of Sweden, a process of negotiations and analysis has been conducted regarding the anti-union actions of the company’s management in Thailand. Workers at the company’s washing machine factory in Rayong formed a union in February 2011 and have been strongly persecuted by management since then.
IndustriALL reported on the imprisoning and then mass dismissal of 98 workers on 11 January 2013, and the various campaign tactics employed by the union subsequently in fighting for their jobs back. The plant-level union has been supported by IndustriALL’s Thai affiliate TEAM for a full reinstatement of all dismissed workers.
Through social talks with local level and international company management, IndustriALL, IF Metall and the Thai trade unionists achieved positive decisions at both levels with management agreeing to full reinstatement. However this is yet to occur.
An agreement was reached between IF Metall and Rayong management on 26 February whereby all dismissed workers, including eight union representatives, would be reinstated and back to their jobs as soon as possible. This agreement was then confirmed at a 27 March international meeting at IF Metall head office in Stockholm, involving senior international management, IndustriALL and IF Metall. The meeting also established joint work going forward including a delegation of international management and IF Metall to visit the plant later in the year and monitor labour relations there.
All sides pledged full commitment to building constructive and mature systems of industrial relations at the Electrolux Rayong plant, in line with the global agreement. However, although the 26 February agreement still stands, there has been a failure of local plant-level management to enact the solution and reinstate all workers.
The serious violation of labour rights at Electrolux Thailand has also concerned NGOs in Sweden and elsewhere. On 9 April, Swedish NGO Swedwatch lodged an OECD complaint regarding the violation of core international labour standards at the Rayong plant.
IndustriALL and its affiliate IF Metall continue to call on Electrolux to live up to its commitment and ensure full solution and reinstatement in Rayong as a matter of urgency.