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Global Unionism At Work: Fisher & Paykel Union Formed In Thailand

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Global Unionism At Work: Fisher & Paykel Union Formed In Thailand

The Fisher & Paykel Labour Union of Thailand was launched in Rayong, Thailand this morning with support from National Distribution Union (NDU) and Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union (EPMU), which represent F&P workers in New Zealand.

NDU General Secretary, Robert Reid, said the New Zealand unions were "very excited that a union had been established at F&P's Thailand operation." Robert Reid has been liaising with union organisers in Thailand and encouraging the formation of a union since November 2007 when F&P announced that it was relocating white ware and electronic production to Thailand.

He has visited the industrial zone, including the factory, three times over the last three years. "We were very concerned when Fisher & Paykel decided to close its New Zealand manufacturing operations in 2007/2008 with over 1,000 workers losing their jobs," Robert Reid said.

"In the spirit of worker internationalism, we decided to make contact with workers and unions in Rayong to ensure that a Labour Union was established in the Fisher & Paykel Thailand plant."

"Over the years our unions have developed good working relationships with Fisher & Paykel in New Zealand. However we are aware that some companies that maintain a good relationship with the unions in their home country do not practice such good employment practices in their factories in other countries." "It was for this reason that we took the pro-active step in doing what we could to assist in the formation of the Fisher & Paykel Labour Union of Thailand," he said.

"Interestingly, in seeking support for the formation of a Fisher & Paykel Union in the Rayong industrial zone of Thailand, we came across workers from another New Zealand owned company, SIG Combibloc (Rank Group). We were able to assist the SIG Labour Union to achieve the reinstatement of one of their union committee members through international solidarity. Members of the SIG Labour Union have assisted Fisher & Paykel workers establish their union."

"We continue to support the unionisation of SIG factories elsewhere in Asia," Robert Reid said. "I have just returned from China where I visited the Suzhou Industrial Zone, north of Shanghai. I met with the leadership of the Suzhou Federation of Trade Unions who committed to organizing the SIG factory in the near future." The NDU and EPMU has sent a congratulatory and solidarity letter to the Fisher & Paykel Labour Union of Thailand which was translated and read out at the launch.

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