Honda Cars closure ‘abrupt,’ workers demand dialogue

“The capitalists at Honda backstabbed the workers whose livelihoods are on the line. It’s clear that they’re sidestepping and twisting the law in order to serve their own interests.”

By JUSTIN UMALI
Bulatlat.com

SANTA ROSA, Laguna – Hundreds of workers from Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. are demanding a dialogue following management’s sudden announcement to close its entire manufacturing division, February 22.

The automotive giant, which sold 20,338 units last year, announced its decision to close down its Laguna manufacturing plant “to meet … customer needs in the Philippines for reasonably prices and good quality products”.

Lakas Manggagawang Nagkakaisa sa Honda (LMNH-OLALIA-KMU), the workers’ union representing HCPI workers maintained that the closure decision was abrupt and illegal.

In an interview with Bulatlat, Christopher Oliquino, vice president of LMNH-OLALIA-KMU, said, “There was no advance notice to us, nor did they show any proof that Honda was losing money within the past consecutive years.”

Oliquino stated that 387 workers will lose their jobs as a result of the closure, and will also affect suppliers and other companies with contracts to Honda Cars.

Oliquino said the workers were called to an abrupt meeting to discuss their “jikon”, or production status, where management informed them that they will be shutting down. Management has since declined to enter into any further negotiations with the union since.

“An impromptu meeting does not constitute ‘advance notice’,” Oliquino said. Following the meeting, HCPI went into lockdown and workers are not allowed to enter the facilities. The union estimates at least 70 guards posted around the premises, including event security supposedly hired by management to act as reinforcement.

Labor group Defend Jobs Philippines also condemned the move, urging Department of Labor and Employment secretary Silvestre Bello III to “directly intervene, conduct impartial investigation, and thoroughly look into” the reported closure.

Dandy Miguel, vice chairperson of Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (Pamantik-KMU), noted that the plant’s closure comes after months of negotiations with the union and guarantees that no workers will be laid off.

“The capitalists at Honda backstabbed the workers whose livelihoods are on the line,” said Miguel. “It’s clear that they’re sidestepping and twisting the law in order to serve their own interests.”

Miguel also stressed that the move by HCPI was tied to the Duterte and previous administrations’ neoliberal policies which “strengthened globalization and the Philippine market’s export-oriented-import-dependent configuration, while neglecting national industrialization and the creation of legitimate local industries.”

LMNH-OLALIA-KMU is currently demanding a dialogue with HCPI management, including its President and General Manager, Noriyuki Takakura. ()

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