Mr. M. Spiesshofer, Chief Executive Officer
Triumph International AG, Bad Zurzag, Switzerland
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,
The Secretariat Of the Prime Minister Office
Thai Government House
Dusit, Bangkok, Thailand
Fax: +662 282 8558 Email: email@example.com
Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President
Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila 1005
Fax: +63 2 736 1010 Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
Hon. Marianito D. Roque, Secretary
Department of Labor and Employment
2nd Floor, DOLE Executive Building,
San Jose Street, Intramuros
Manila NCR 1002
Voice:+63(2) 527-3000 loc. 701 to 704, 706
Fax:+63(2) 527-2121, 527-2131, 527-5523
Our undersigned organizations and social movements stand for the rights of women workers as women, as workers, and as human beings with the right to live and work in dignity.
We have been informed that Triumph International which makes lingerie and swimwear has dismissed 1,959 workers from its local subsidiary, Body Fashion (Thailand) Limited, located at Bang Pli Industrial Estate, Bang Sao-thong Subdistrict, Bang Sao-thong District, Samut Prakan Province. The workers were informed by Body Fashion’s management unilaterally on June 29th of the dismissal, to be effective August 28, 2009. Most of the laid-off workers are members of Triumph International Thailand Labour Union (TITLU), including thirteen (out of nineteen) union committee members.
Besides Thailand, in the Philippines also, Triumph International declared on June 27, 2009 the closure of Triumph International (Philippines) Ltd. and Star Performance Incorporated, resulting in the retrenchment of more than 1,660 Filipino workers.
Body Fashion’s management claims that these August dismissals will be part of a restructuring and cost reduction plan that aims to increase overall company efficiency and to build confidence in the brand’s viability. Nevertheless, the management reported no such need for drastic restructuring measures before announcing the massive layoffs. Furthermore, Triumph has in fact stepped up production in its new, non-unionized Nakorn Sawan plant in Nakorn Sawan province, buying land and building new facilities in order to accommodate an estimated 2,000 workers. This clear effort at busting the Bang Pli-based TITLU union was generously funded by an aid package from Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI). In Philippines, jobs have also been moved to another location where there is no union presence.
Thus altogether Triumph International has destroyed the lives of almost 4,000 of its most long-serving workers, most of whom have families depending on their income.
Corporations benefit from the dedication, skills and human giving of the workers, and the corporation becomes responsible for the livelihoods of its workers when it hires them.
Therefore we stand together with the unjustly dismissed workers of Triumph International in Thailand and Philippines and urge the corporation to do what is right and not only what it can get away with without violating laws.
We also express our severe disappointment with the governments of Thailand and Philippines, which serve international companies above its own citizens who get merely used and betrayed, without meaningful protection and assistance of their governments.
Thus from Triumph International we demand:
1. The company should rescind the dismissals and unconditionally reinstate all the dismissed workers back to their jobs or ensure equivalent jobs agreeable to the workers. It should stop making the lives of the workers more difficult in this time of crisis, but using dismissals for the greater profit of the company even when the company’s survival is not threatened.
2. The company should consult with the trade union and government bodies in order to find appropriate solutions and minimize negative effects on workers to the extent that it is possible, as Switzerland is in the group of OECD, and should follow the regulations strictly.
3. To conduct social dialogue with the trade union in order to discuss policies which may affect workers’ livelihood and to reduce the tension and disputes between the management and employees.
4. To follow Triumph International’s own Code of Conduct, which emphasizes human rights as defined by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, ILO conventions, and the UN Global Compact.
From both Triumph International and the governments of Thailand and Philippines, we strongly demand:
1. an end to the severe repression of the right to assemble and the right to organize.
When workers assemble in unions and act collectively and peacefully to assert workers rights’, they should be allowed to do so without threats and harassment. The police and company guards should not be used as a weapon for controlling workers.
On August 28 when the dismissed Triumph workers in Thailand assembled again in front of Parliament in Bangkok to demand justice, they were dispersed with a highly advanced weapon, the long distance audio device, and the police issued warrants for the arrests of three of the union leaders and activists. The company and government must recognize that the protest was peaceful and a legitimate response of the workers to being robbed of their livelihoods.
2. We strongly condemn the issue of arrest warrants for the three union leaders and activists of Triumph Thailand and demand their revocation.
Above all, the governments of Thailand and Philippines are responsible for their own citizens and should defend them and their interests rather than assisting corporations to dispose of their workers casually, without regard for their past dedication and their continuing right to and need for their livelihoods.
3. The governments of Thailand and Philippines should ensure that their workers are respected by the corporations whose profits they helped build. When multinational companies are allowed to easily leave workers behind at any moment, it worsens working conditions for workers everywhere, and destroys whole families and communities.
We are strongly concerned about the working women on whom so many lives depend in Thailand and Philippines as both breadwinners and family members, and we will monitor the situation until the workers have been fairly treated and proper amends made to them for the injustices they have suffered.
Working Women Academy (Korea)
Korean Women's Trade Union (Korea)
Korean Working Women's Association (Korea)
Asia Monitor Resource Centre (Hong Kong)
Cleaning Service Industry Workers Union (Hong Kong)
Worker Empowerment (Hong Kong)
Asian Women Workers Center (Japan)
Pay Equity Consulting Office (Japan)
Tokyo Young Contingent Workers' Union (Japan)
Maquila Solidarity Network (Mexico/USA)
International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG) (South Africa)
Sikhula Sonke (South Africa)
Thai Volunteer Service Foundation (Thailand)
Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (Thailand)