Anakpawis condemns Honda’s total disregard of workers


As Honda Motors Philippines announced its plan to close its assembly plant in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna, threatening to displace at least 380 workers from their jobs, Anakpawis Party-list condemned the motor giant for its total disregard of its workers and apparent “sham corporate social responsibility.”

On one of their websites, Honda’s corporate social responsibility statement said that, “We believe we have a responsibility to apply our innovation, influence and initiative to making our communities and the world better places to live and work. The cornerstone to our philosophy is Respect for the Individual.”

“Obviously, the Honda management never gave it a thought to discuss their decision with the workers, whose household incomes rely on the wages they get from work. This is obviously not ‘a world better to live and work,’” Ariel Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative, said in a press statement.

The management only cited “market forces” as basis for its decision, particularly the low rate of production, obviously from low market demand.  

“The company is trying to avoid blaming government policies such as rising non-productive taxes, and those that led to increased cost of production and shrinking market. In any way, it failed to at least inform their workers, essentially disregarding their labor rights,” he added.

He supported the demand of the workers under the Liga ng Manggagawa ng Honda – Olalia – KMU for the Department of Labor and Employment to immediately intervene, as their just claims fall on uncertainty brought about the announced closure. Some of them worked at the company for 25 years and they are demanding formal talks with the management.

“If the management continues to deny the workers of their rights, we will declare Honda as a runaway shop, rid off of any integrity or a dishonorable company,” the former lawmaker said.  

He urged other workers of the automobile sector, and located in industrial estates in Laguna and region, to organize and assert their rights. He added that under Duterte’s flawed economic policies that depresses the purchasing power of the consumers in the market and bias to Chinese firms, manufacturing companies are more probable to close down, leaving workers’ just claims unaddressed.

“The serial closing down of companies in the country, clearly screams that investors are not confident to the political and economic situation in the country with the Duterte government at the helm. If fundamental policies are not addressed, these will lead to the mass diaspora of foreign companies out of the country,” he said.  

Meanwhile, the  Kilusang Mayo Uno deplored Malacanang Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s response to the plight of 700 car workers abandoned by the Honda Cars Philippines Inc. after the car manufacturer announced its own shutdown last Saturday.  

“Ang pagmamaliit ni Panelo sa biglang pagkawala ng trabaho ng 700 manggagawa ay malaking insulto sa bawat manggagawang Pilipino na nagpapagal araw-araw para marangal na buhayin ang kanyang pamilya,” said Jerome Adonis Secretary-General of KMU.

The KMU leader said that instead of belittling the effects of the Honda closedown, the government should respond with more sensitivity and sense of responsibility to the beleaguered workers.

The labor group demands the Department of Labor and Employment and President Rodrigo Duterte himself to act swiftly on the sudden shutdown and look after the plight of the 700 workers.  

“Dapat mabilis na aksyonan ng gobyerno sa sitwasyong ito: malalimang alamin ang naging dahilan at proseso ng biglaang pagsasara, itulak ang anumang pananagutan ng kompanya ng Honda sa batas ng bansa At sa mga manggagawa’t, at tiyakin ang kabuhayan ng 700 manggagawa’t kanilang mga pamilya,” said Adonis.

KMU also warned that thousands of workers will lose their livelihoods as well upon the closure of Nokia and Wells Fargo operations in the Philippines, which is already scheduled for the year.

The Honda Workers are on a stand-down protest inside the plant as they demand accountability of the car company.

KMU blamed the lack of Filipino owned and controlled industries and the over-dependence on foreign investment for sudden close downs of manufacturing companies in the country such in the cases of Honda and the scheduled closure of Nokia and Wells Fargo operations in the Philippines as well, and for the economic insecurity of Filipino workers./Stacy Ang

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