Chong Won Trading V Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and Chongwon Union (Philippines)

Overview

NCP Decision Rejected
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 03/09/2007
Case Duration Not known
Host Country Philippines  (Non-adhering country)
Sector Textiles, Leather and Garments 
Issue(s) Threat to close down the factory should the union be formed: right to trade union representation; bribery
Provisions Cited I.7  IV.1-a  IV.2-a  IV.2-b  IV.7  VI.1   
Case Description In September 2007, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), together with NGOs and the Chongwon Union in the Philippines, submitted a case to the Korean NCP concerning Chongwon Fashion, a subsidiary of the Korean company Chong Won Trading based in the Philippines. This was the first case to be submitted to the Korean NCP.

In 2001, the workers sought to stablish a trade union at the Chongwon Fashion plant in the Philippines, whereupon the management threatened to close down should the union be formed. As a result, the union lost the election.

In 2004, a new election was held, which the union won. Nevertheless, the company continued to question the election result by filing several court petitions, each of which they lost.

The management tried to make the union leaders resign through various threats. This, together with other harassments, lead to a strike in August 2006. The workers were violently dispersed by police and security guards. New strikes were held the following month. Workers, most of them women, were then beaten by police and security guards. In addition, the management decided to dismiss 71 of the workers on strike. But the strikes continued and in June 2007 workers received death threats if they did not stop the strikes.

In February 2007, the Philippine Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) declared that the union did no longer represent the workers. The union believed that the company offered a bribe. It also brought charges against the mediator of the National Relations Commission for taking bribes.

In June 2007, the company filed for bankruptcy.

Outcome The Korean NCP rejected the case on the grounds that bankruptcy made "arbitration needless".

Organisations

Lead NCP South Korea NCP : Independent Expert Body 

Companies

Multinational Company Chong Won Trading (Home country: South Korea)
Subsidiary Chong Won Fashion (Home country: Philippines)

Complainants

Lead Complainant Chongwon Union : Local Union 
Lead Complainant KCTU- Korea : National Centre 

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 decision not take up cases where the company involved has filed for bankruptcy