Philippines: Lakepower Converter union alleges management interference with workers' right to organise

In a blog posted 28 July 2018, Philippine-based labour organization Partido Manggagawa (PM) reported on a positive development regarding a dispute involving Lakepower Converter’s management and the company’s union. It stated that the company would take steps to respect freedom of association, recall armed guards in the production area, and resolve workplace grievances raised in a prior process. In return, the union agreed to remove a previous blog post detailing labour rights allegations, and withdraw formal complaints for union busting and unfair labour practices. The link to this blog is included below.

On 2 August 2017, PM posted another blog entitled, "Lakepower reneges on promise to respect freedom of association, promotes a ‘company union’ to compete with the independent union". Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Lakepower Converter to respond to this article. We have been in touch with Lakepower’s counsel, but the company has not sent a response to the piece. We will indicate on this page whether Lakepower responds or not.

We also sought comment from companies earlier identified as sourcing from Lakepower Converter. Responses from Asus and Arrow Technologies are included below.

On 30 December 2017, another report about the ongoing strike was published and this is linked below. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre sent an invitation to respond to Texas Instruments, another identified buyer of Lakepower Converter. The response of Texas Instruments is linked below.

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All components of this story

Article
15 January 2018

Philippines: Women workers go on strike and allege undue termination or suspension of union officers

"FOA issue at electronics supplier Lakepower Converter," 30 December 2017

Women workers of...Lakepower Converter Inc....have been on strike since December 7 and were repeatedly harassed by company and ecozone guards.

Company guards, export zone security guards and other men wearing ski masks but clad in ecozone police uniforms repeatedly tore down placards and makeshift tents at the picketline. The men arrived in motorcycles and bearing side arms. Two women workers—Maricar Orque and Magdalena Peña—were hurt in the commotion that followed the forcible dismantling of the picketline.

 
...They also set up barricades at two points leading to the factory and refused entry to workers going to the picketline. All these are violations of the official “Guidelines on the Conduct of Police and Security Personnel During Labor Disputes.”
 
The strike commenced after management refused worker’s demands that the termination and suspension of union officers and members be stopped.
 
Lakepower and CTC are suppliers to Texas Instruments, Arrow Electronics, Recom Power and A.M. Components. Striking women workers are calling on these companies to enforce their commitment to respect the right to unionize and freedom from discrimination all along their supply chain.

 

Read the full post here

Company response
15 January 2018

Response of Texas Instruments

Author: Texas Instruments

We have completed a thorough investigation into this case, and we are confident that Lakepower and Coil Technology Corporation are not TI suppliers. 

TI is committed to the rights and working conditions of all employees within our supply chain.  We routinely verify that our suppliers are compliant with our supplier environmental and social responsibility policy.

 

 

Download the full document here

Article
14 August 2017

Lakepower reneges on promise to respect freedom of association, promotes a “company union” to compete with the independent union

Author: Partido Manggagawa (Philippines)

Despite an agreement conciliated by the Labor Department last July 27 in which Lakepower Converter Inc. promised to respect freedom of association, management has continued to interfere in their workers’ right to unionize. While before, management was intimidating workers not to join or support the independent union, now Lakepower is promoting the formation of a company union.

Union officers learned just after the conciliation meeting on July 27 that managers, supervisors and line leaders started signing up workers for a new union on the very day of the agreement...

Read the full post here

Article
13 August 2017

Lakepower management and union settle dispute with an agreement to respect freedom of association

Author: Partido Manggagawa (Philippines)

The labor dispute at an electronics factory located in the Cavite economic zone was settled yesterday with an agreement between management and the union to respect freedom of association. The National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) called the management and union of Lakepower Converter Inc. to a meeting in a bid to resolve the complaint of union busting and unfair labor practice. 

Management agreed to...demands by the union. First, that the company will issue a memo to be posted on bulletin boards in the factory spelling out its respect for freedom of association and prohibiting management personnel from interfering in the workers’ right to unionize...

Second, that management wil not send any employees to protest the pending petition for certification of the Lakepower workers union as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent.

Third, the recall of roving armed guards in the production area.

And finally, the implementation of a previous agreement...management committed to resolve a list of 14 workplace grievances raised by the union including the women’s restroom doors that were kept open and airconditioners in the production area that remained closed.

...Lakepower management asked that the post in the Partido Manggagawa blog regarding the dispute be removed. The union agreed...

...The union withdrew the complaint for union busting and unfair labor practice in recognition of the settlement reached...

Read the full post here

Company response
4 August 2017

Asus response

Author: Asus

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Asus to respond to:

“Lakepower reneges on promise to respect freedom of association, promotes a ‘company union’ to compete with the independent union”, 02 August 2017

The company responded with the following statement:

"Upon completing our investigation into this case, we have confirmed that Lakepower and Coil Technology Corporation are currently not our suppliers.

ASUS remains committed to ensuring that the rights and working conditions of all employees within our supply chain are maintained according to our supplier Code of Conduct agreement, and we will continue to perform our due diligence to verify that our current suppliers remain in compliance with these standards."

Company response
3 August 2017

Arrow Electronics response

Author: Arrow Electronics

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Arrow Electronics to respond to:

“Lakepower reneges on promise to respect freedom of association, promotes a ‘company union’ to compete with the independent union”, 02 August 2017

The company responded with the following statement:

"As practice, Arrow does not speculate regarding the business processes of other companies, including customers, partners, and suppliers."