IWC Solidarity message to the workers of Triumph International in the Philippines and Thailand

September 16, 2009

We at the Immigrant Workers’ Centre in Montreal, Quebec would like to extend a message of support and solidarity to the workers of Triumph International Philippines and thailand, the Bagong Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Triumph International (New Unity of Workers in Triumph International-Philippines) and Triumph Labour Union Thailand in their denunciation of the unjust practices and treatment of workers by Triumph International in both countries.

Under the guise of the global economic crisis, Triumph International declared on June 27, 2009 the closure of Triumph International Philippines and Star Performance Incorporated that resulted in the retrenchment of more than 1,660 Filipino workers. Also, on June 29, The Body Fashion (Thailand) Company, owned by Triumph International, had announced the collective dismissals of 1,959 workers or half the workforce of the Bangphi (Samutprakarn) factory. In Thailand, 13 union committee members were dismissed out of total 19 while the company’s plant in Nakhon Sawan province was expanded last year by acquiring land and enlarging the plant to be able to accommodate up to 2,000 workers. Currently, there are over 1,000 workers at Nakhon Sawan plant but it has no trade union. Proof that the closures are a form of union busting.

In the name of making money and profit, they are relocating and moving out factories to countries that offer the cheapest and most docile labor such as Vietnam and China.

All over the world, including Canada, countless factories are also closing their doors as a result of “restructuring” and cost cutting. Increasingly, workers who organize to defend their rights in the workplace find that their jobs are moved to other places where workers face even greater repression.

The Immigrant Workers’ Centre is engaged in a campaign that addresses this very issue: the closure of textile factories in Montreal and surrounding areas and the employers’ lack of accountability to laid-off workers. The campaign was begun by retrenched workers of the L’Amour factory, owned by a capitalist family who also manufactures ladies’ under garments. The L’Amour factory closed its manufacturing and moved its “hi-tech” machines that was partly funded by the Canadian public through government grants to develop these. The company has moved its operations to places like China, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, where workers’ rights to organize are continuously being attacked and the flexibilization of labour is in full swing.

We continue our struggle and encourage and support you in yours, and we understand that whether they occur in the Philippines or in Canada or anywhere else in the world, our struggles are one in the same.

In solidarity,

The Immigrant Workers’ Centre