FSBL and IUF stop illegal union verification by Phillips Seafood
US-based company Phillips Seafood has reacted to the international campaign calling for the reinstatement of unfairly terminated workers and union recognition by introducing a new product in their factory in Lampung, Indonesia: a management-manufactured union. CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO PHILLIPS SEAFOOD!
The factory management created the fake union, then threatened and harassed workers into joining. With the vast majority of workers on daily standby waiting to receive a text message to report to work, the company easily used the threat of "no text message, no job" to coerce workers into joining the management-created union.
Phillips Seafood then conducted a "union vote", instructing workers to choose between the real union and the newly manufactured management union. Two local labour department officers were brought in to make the proceedings look official.
Deliberately misleading workers into believing the verification was legitimate, while making threats about job security, management forced workers to vote on November 25 and 26. A final vote was planned for December 16 and 17, but with the support of the IUF-affiliated Federation of Lampung Workers' Unions (FSBL) the union rejected the verification as illegal. Workers refused to vote on December 16 and the verification was cancelled.
When FSBL intervened the provincial labour department confirmed that the verification was unlawful because a private company cannot conduct a union vote without oversight. The role of the two labour department officials, and Phillips Seafood's role in the arrangement, is now under investigation.
The IUF and FSBL renewed their calls for the immediate reinstatement of 205 unfairly terminated workers and recognition of the union. "Phillips Seafood should stick to making canned crab meat and stop making fake unions, " said Eko Sumaryono, General Secretary of FSBL. "The workers already have a union. What they need is for Phillips Seafood to respect their human rights by recognizing the union and enter into collective bargaining."