Nissen Electronics workers’ struggle
Nissen Electronics Philippines is a Japanese company that produces automotive fuses. The companies supplies these to various car manufacturing multinationals in the country including Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Isuzu. The company is a local subsidiary of the multinational company Nippon Seisen Cable, Ltd which reported a sales of 10 billion yen (P4.6 billion) in March 2018.
The operations of Nissen Electronics Philippines in Southern Tagalog started in 2009 at the Laguna Technopark Incorporated, before relocating at the Daiichi Industrial Park in Cavite, in 2016. After relocating, workers’ wages were pulled down as the minimum wage in Cavite (P351.50) is lower than that in Laguna (P378.50).
Workers are further exploited as they are compelled to render overtime work, under the “six to six scheme” wherein they are to work for 12 hours a day. Holidays and days-off are unpaid, and employees are required to shoulder the costs for their uniforms and safety equipment.
In 2018, 468 of its 493 total employees are contractual. Majority of the workers are female (412) and only 56 are male. Nissen outsources its contractual employees from manpower agency Career Power Professional Mgt. Services. The said agency is owned by Edgardo Etac. Nissen makes it appear that it has no direct obligation to the employees, claiming that they are employed under Etac’s agency.
Assertion of rights
Aspiring to address their plight, the workers organized Manggagawang Regular at Kontraktwal sa Nissen Electronics Phils.–Liga (Marekonep-Liga) in 2018. This served as the vanguard of their struggle for regularization which sparked in July 2018, when employees filed a petition for inspection at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Calabarzon.
The letter contained the workers’ complaints regarding the violations and maltreatment committed by the Nissen management against them. Their complaints included the company’s practice of contractualization; non-compliance with the legislated minimum wage; and non-payment of overtime, 13th month, holiday and night differential pay. The employees protested in front of the office of DOLE in Trece Martires City on December 11, 2018 to demand for immediate regularization.
In response, the Nissen management fired 21 workers for participating in protests since January 3, 2019.
Instead of being cowed, Nissen workers became even more courageous. They posted their placards and streamers on the walls of the factory. They shouted out their demands in front of police operatives and soldiers inside and outside the Daiichi Industrial Park.
Nissen workers continued to pressure DOLE until it released an order for regularization on February 2019. The order declared the 502 contractual employees of the company, including the 21 who were fired, must be regularized. The workers considered this as a victory of their collective action amid harassment attempts mounted by capitalists.
New mass lay off, new struggle
Labor rights violations have continued unabated despite the issuance of the toothless DOLE order, as the company appealed against it. On September 13, 2019 the company laid-off 89 of its workers, majority of whom have been working in the company for years.
In response, workers mounted a new wave of protests in front of the Daiichi Industrial Park. They also regularly conduct mobilizations and programs simultaneous with the entry and exit of workers to and from the enclave. They demand the reinstatement and regularization of their co-workers who were illegally terminated by the company.
The struggle of Nissen employees carries on. On the other hand, Nissen continues to employ various forms of attacks to suppress their struggle. It may take workers a long time to win their struggle, but one thing is certain: the end of capitalists’ exploitation has begun as the workers have already been roused.