Triumph International V Triumph International Thailand Labour Union, Bagong Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Triumph Int’l. Phils. Inc, Defend Job Philippines Organization Inc. and the Thai Labour Campaign

Overview

NCP Decision Accepted
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 02/12/2009
Date Closed 14/01/2011
Case Duration 58 weeks and 2 days
Host Countries Philippines  (Non-adhering country)
Thailand  (Non-adhering country)

Sector Textiles, Leather and Garments 
Issue(s) Dismissal of workers without notice or consultation; violation of the collective bargaining agreement
Provisions Cited II.9  IV.1-a  IV.2-a  IV.2-b  IV.2-c  IV.3  IV.6  IV.8  VII.4   
Case Description In December 2009, trade unions and NGOs in the Philippines and Thailand - Triumph International Thailand Labour Union, Bagong Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Triumph Int’l. Phils. Inc, Defend Job Philippines Organization Inc. and the Thai Labour Campaign - submitted a case to the Swiss NCP concerning the activities of Triumph International, a leading undergarment manufacturer based in Switzerland, following the sudden retrenchment of 1959 workers (nearly half the total) at a plant in Samut Prakan, Thailand, and the closure of two factories in the Philippines and dismissal of their 1663 workers.

Thailand
In Thailand, the dismissals began in July 2009, after being announced for the first time on 27 June 2009 without any prior consultation with the unions and in opposition to earlier statements by the company. The company paid out severance pay according to Thai labor law but not according to the terms of its collective bargaining agreement with the TITLU signed in July 2008. Moreover, the layoffs seem to be in violation of article 18 of Thailand’s Labor Relations Law. Among the retrenched were many pregnant women (not in itself illegal in Thailand) as well as 13 of 19 union committee and subcommittee members. Meanwhile, Triumph’s plant in Nakhon Sawan province, employing about 1000 people but not unionized, was not affected by the layoffs.

On 20 July, the workers asked the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok to intervene with Triumph management and oversee fair and open negotiations. (The Swiss Embassy’s response is unknown.)

The local subsidiary management also commenced court proceedings, resulting in a court ruling on 26 November affirming that the dismissal of the union members was legal.

Philippines
Two factories, one belonging to Triumph International Philippines (TIPI) and the other to Star Performance, both subsidiaries of Triumph, were closed in July 2009 following a unilateral announcement on 27 June. Previously, the union at TIPI had requested meetings and staged protests when the materials used by the factory suddenly began to be exported to other sites in May 2009. The company offered severance pay but a Triumph lawyer also threatened workers with individual court cases and the loss of benefits if they sought to resist the closure.

The union rejected the separation package on the grounds that the company’s reasons for closing the sites were unsubstantiated. No evidence or documentation pertinent to the closure was produced despite numerous requests.

After pickets were established, suspicious individuals, including 15-20 individuals with rifles on one occasion, were spotted near striking workers and the union office.

The union has taken action on a number of fronts. It lobbied the embassies of Switzerland and Germany, but was told that the closures were at the discretion of the company. A Congressional inquiry has been requested of the House of Representatives, with no hearing yet set. A mediation process and negotiations have been started through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), but no progress has been made, with the company resolute in its position. Finally, the High Level Mission of the ILO to the Philippines in September 2009 investigating union repression in the country heard a presentation on the situation an issued a general press statement, although without further recommendations.

Developments In February 2010, the Swiss NCP accepted the case and offered its good offices to solve the issues.

In its 2010 Annual Report to the OECD, the Swiss NCP reported that the proceedings were ongoing.

Outcome In January 2011, the Swiss NCP closed the case after the company refused to participate in mediation.

Organisations

Lead NCP Switzerland NCP : Single Government Department 

Companies

Multinational Company Triumph International (Home country: Switzerland)
Subsidiary Body Fashion Thailand Ltd. (Home country: Thailand)
Subsidiary Star Performance Incorporated (Home country: Philippines)
Subsidiary Triumph International (Philippines) (Home country: Philippines)

Complainants

Lead Complainant Thai Labour Campaign
Lead Complainant Defend Job Philippines Organization Inc.
Lead Complainant Bagong Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Triumph Int’l. Phils. Inc : Company Union 
Lead Complainant TriumphTInternational Thailand Labour Union : Company Union 
Supporting Complainant TIE Bildungswerk

Related Documents

Triumph International Labour Movement  'News & Movements of Triumph International (Thailand) Labour Union'
   http://triumph-union.blogspot.com/ [Date URL accessed: 22/6/2010]

'New Union of Workers of Triumph Int'l, Philippines'
   http://www.bpmti-ind.webs.com [Date URL accessed: 22/6/2010]

Defend Job Phillipines  'Defend Jobs Philippines'
   http://defendjobphilippines.webs.com/ [Date URL accessed: 22/6/2010]

Swiss NCP  [Publication date: 14/1/2011] 'National Contact Point of Switzerland Closing Statement: Specific Instance regarding Triumph in the Philippines and in Thailand'
   http://www.seco.admin.ch/themen/00513/00527/02584/02586/index.html?lang=en [Date URL accessed: 22/8/2011]

TUAC Analysis

Did the NCP publish its initial assessment? status-icon
Did the case involve parallel proceedings? status-icon
Was the existence of parallel proceedings an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Was the businsess relationship other than that of a subsidiary? status-icon
Was the nature of the business relationship an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its acceptance of this case? status-icon
Did the NCP offer mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the company accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the complainant(s) accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation held? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation conducted by a professional mediator? status-icon
Did the parties reach agreement? status-icon
If yes, did the NCP publish this agreement following the consent of the parties? status-icon
If mediation was refused or failed did the NCP make an assessment of whether the company had breached the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP conduct in-host country fact finding? status-icon
Did the NCP make recommendations to the company on the future implementation of the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP publish its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP provide for follow-up of the agreement/recommendations? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP inform public pension funds about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP apply any consequences in this case? status-icon
Did the NCP follow the indicative timescales set out in the procedural guidance? status-icon
Was there a positive outcome for the workers involved in this case? status-icon
Did the filing of the case under the Guidelines have a positive impact for the workers involved? status-icon
Did the lead NCP play a positive role? status-icon
If different, did the home NCP play a positive role? status-icon

Implications

The company refused to participate in mediation.