Suffering from low wages, contractualization, and indecent working conditions, many Filipino workers who create the microchips used for smartphones, tablets, and other tech gadgets rarely get to use the tools that they themselves have produced in the assembly lines.
Yet Filipino workers that have made our cellphone calls, text messages, social networking, and online activities possible are now using these gadgets to fight union busting and other labor abuses.
The #bringbacknxp24 campaign by workers from an NXP Semiconductors plant in Cabuyao, Laguna, is one fight that has effectively combined an active online drive with on-the-ground protest. Laguna is a province located south of Manila, the country’s capital.
NXP Semiconductors is one of the world’s top 20 electronics manufacturers and supplies microchips and other parts for high-tech companies like Apple and Asus. In the Philippines, it employs over 1,600 regular workers and 1,700 contract employees.
Workers were demanding an 8 percent wage increase but management was only willing to grant a 3.5 percent raise during the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. The workers organized collective actions on April 9, 17, 19, and May 1 – which are all government-declared holidays – but the management described these activities as ‘illegal strikes’ and cited them as a reason to dismiss 24 union leaders on May 5, 2014.
Read more: globalvoicesonline.org Written by Karlo Mikhail Mongaya