Case story

  • Philippines

OECD NCP Switzerland - Thai and Filipino labour unions vs Triumph International

2009

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Case Status

Relevant OECD Guidelines:

  • Part 1 Chapter II Paragraph II.9

  • Part 1 Chapter IV Paragraph IV.3

  • Part 1 Chapter IV Paragraph IV.1 Subparagraph IV.1.A

  • Part 1 Chapter IV Paragraph IV.2 Subparagraph IV.2.A

  • Part 1 Chapter IV Paragraph IV.2 Subparagraph IV.2.B

  • Part 1 Chapter IV Paragraph IV.2 Subparagraph IV.2.C

  • Part 1 Chapter VII Paragraph VII.4

Story

Triumph International is a Swiss-based producer of undergarments. The Complainants allege that in August 2009, nearly 2,000 workers at a Triumph factory in Thailand were suddenly retrenched, cutting the factory’s workforce in half. In the same month, two Triumph factories in the Philippines were closed, resulting in 1,663 job losses. In all three factories, the majority of the workers who were laid off were union members, including union leaders.

The Complainants, who are a coalition of labour unions, NGOs and labour support groups, allege that factory management has repeatedly demonstrated anti-union behaviour and that the massive layoffs are management’s retaliation in a long conflict with the unions.

The Complainants claim that by not consulting the unions regarding the layoffs and failing to negotiate a social plan for the workers, Triumph has breached OECD Guidelines.

The local unions’ attempts to contact top management at the headquarters in Switzerland, including an invitation for direct talks with Triumph CEO Markus Spiesshofer, were denied.

Procedure

The Swiss NCP acknowledged receipt of the complaint, and conducted an Initial Assessment. As part of the Assessment, the NCP discussed issues of confidentiality with all parties.

Since January 19, 2009 Food Terminal Inc., has taken control of the Triumph International Philippine Incorporated factory and Triumph has relinquished tenancy to FTI. On April 23, 2010, FTI issued a Temporary Restraining Order of the Regional Trail Court, ordering the workers to vacate their picket lines, while stating the workers' actions are unlawful, illegal, and embarrassing.

The Complainants call on the Philippine government to lift and stop the implementation of the Temporary Restraining Order. They also call for the FTI and the Philippine government to support their call to operate the closed Triumph factory.

Outcome

In February 2010, the Swiss NCP accepted the complaint and is currently consulting with both parties to establish the terms of its handling of the case.

References

Contributor(s): This article was modified by Kyle (3), Ejfturnbull (2), and Akozak (1).