Thai Women Workers abused by MMI Precision Ltd

Posted by Sinapan Samydorai under Breaking News on 16 December 2003

MMI Precision (Thailand) Ltd is a subsidiary company of MMI Holdings (Singapore) Limited. The Computer Part and Electronics Labour Union released information on 12th and 15 December 2003 that the management of MMI Precision (Thailand) Ltd abused their employee's, mostly Thai women workers.

The Computer Part and Electronics Labour Union released information on 12th and 15cDecember 2003 that the management of MMI Precision (Thailand) Ltd abused their employee's, mostly Thai women workers.

On 9th. December 2003, MMI locked-out 1300 women workers after refusing to negotiate the Collective Agreement for 2003 with the trade union. In 2002, the Union won a bonus dispute in the Thail Labour court and the compnay was make pay two months bonus for regular workers.

The women workers prefer a negotiated settlement. They have request MMI to call-off the lock-out and allow them to return to work. They want MMI to redress the problems faced by the workers and issues raised in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation. The Union's demands includes a change in the status of "contract workers" into regular workers; and to stop the practice of labour agency supplying workers to the company.

The workers want MMI to respect and practice fundamental labour rights and freedoms, the core labour rights of ILO, and norms of the UN Human Rights charter. They call on Multi-National companies like MMI Holdings (Singapore) not to have discriminative practices and standards, one in Singapore and another in Thailand or Malaysia or China.

In summary, the complaints refer to the following violations of the woman workers:

Systemic Violence: Women workers abort their unborn babies due to the discrimination of the rights of women workers. Women workers from the labour supplier are forced to abort their unborn babies due to fear of being dismissal. The women workerw are told that if they become pregnant they will be dismissed. The current mode of production which is male dominated does not recognize the role that we play in society and we are unpaid. We are also discriminated by way of wages and benefits. This is violence per se in terms of not only physical but psychic and as well as in terms of our dignity as women. The workers are suffering in forced labour like condition.

Structural Violence: The neoliberal economic policies has out sourced them from the factory system, this has made them insecure and has caused anxiety. MMIíŽs running away from social responsibility has marginalized and make the workers endure the terrible oppression of money lenders (loan sharks) who are the labour supplying companies themselves. The workers are make to suffer like bonded labour.

Freedom to organize and collectively bargain: The only way the women can overcome to some extent their problems is by organizing ourselves and to demand their rights, even this has been denied to them.

Moreover, the labour suppliers do not pay the workers in time, giving various excuses that MMI (Thailand) has not paid them. Then they loan the workers money with an interest of 20%, for the worker to meet their commitments. To the worker they are bonded to the company, as they have to return the loan.

There are currently two categories of employees in the company. Both are doing the same work but getting different benefits. The working conditions of the regular employees and employees of labour supplier is discriminative [see below MMI Precision (Thailand) Limited: Working Conditions] The Union had raised the issue of labour supply but MMI (Thailand) did not responded.

During the period of negotiations the company removed 20 CNC Chiron machines from the factory and the company informed us that they were shifting to China.

ON GOING DISPUTE: Working conditions and Collective Agreement

2002 The Union had a dispute with MMI (Thailand) over annaul bonus

Last year (2002) the Union had a dispute with MMI (Thailand) over the issue of two months bonus as per the collective agreement, but after protracted negotiations the company paid two months bonus with conditions.

This conditions were not in the collective agreement and was refer to the labour court and the union won its case. At that time and now the company cites looses of profits as a reason. The Union also insisted that the casual workers working in the factory should be also paid bonus, but it failed. The company has been trying to frustrate the union by unfair labour practices.

2003 Collective bargaining dispute: The UNION negotiated:

  • To abolish Labour supplier practices and sub contracting.
  • That workers who perform the same job must be paid the same and all must have job security, as regular employees of MMI (Thailand). The Union views the practice of Labour supply as unfair labour practice on the part of MMI (Thailand) and MMI Holdings Singapore Limited.
  • Child care facilities will be provided by the company.
  • Bath 300 per month for pregnant mothers for a period of 6 months. And medical check up for pregnant mothers to a sum of Bath 1000 per pregnancy. To provide proper sitting toilets for pregnant workers as the squat type toilets are very inconvenient.
  • Retrenchment of workers should be announced six months in advance. Workers who volunteer must be retrenched first. The retrenchment payment to be paid will be double to the respective Labour Law and paid as one lump sum payment.
  • All union members will have their union dues deducted by the company and such sum will be remitted to the union within one month.
  • Attendance allowance to be increased by Bath 50 per month from the current.
  • Continue to paid 2months Bonus as is the current practice.
  • None of the existing benefits and practices to be reduced or changed.

    The union has send appeals to US based Seagate,as a business partner of MMI,to practice corporate responsibility for the labour-management dispute at MMI Precision (Thailand) Ltd. The Union has submitted appeals to the Singapore Embassy in Bangkok, MMI Holding Singapore and to the Thai Labour Minister.

    "We the workers of MMI Precision (Thailand) Limited, who have been locked out over the dispute on collective bargaining, would like to bring to your Kind attention and appeal to you to intervene and redress our grievances."

    MMI Precision (Thailand) Limited: Working Conditions

    Categories of employees

  • It currently employs 1700 regular employees (who are Unionized).

  • 1300 employees who are been supplied by seven labour supplier companies and who work in the factory along with the regular employees and who carry out the same jobs. Labour supply started 3 years ago, when regular employees were dismissed and the practice of labour supply was introduced. The Union protested to this practice, but the company did not bother.

  • On top of that the company has sub-contracted out some parts of its operations, outside the factory. The sub contract workers face even very extreme conditions of employment, basically without any Labour Law protection.

    Regular employees and employees of labour supplier [contract workers]

    The working conditions of the regular employees and employees of labour supplier is discriminative:

    Regular Employees
    Wages: 180 - 250 Bath per Day
    Annual Leave: Follow Labour Law with pay
    Sick Leave: Follow labour law with pay Over Time: Follow Labour Law. One and Half times payment
    Maternity: Benefit Follow the Labour Law. 3 months payment
    Labour Laws: All labour Law benefits are applicable

    Employees of Labour Supplier
    Wages: 1. 169-175 Bath per Day. Minimum Wages in Bangkok and in Pathun Thani is 169 Bath. 2. The Labour supply companies get 250 Bath per worker per Day. They Make a profit of 70 bath per worker per day. 3. The regular workers train the casual workers but the Labour supplier deducts from the casual workers Bath 1000 for providing training. 4. There is no uniform supplied etc.

    Annual Leave: No paid annual leave entitlement.
    Sick Leave: No sick leave payment and entitlement
    Over Time: Overtime payment is paid below the labour Law. Only the normal payment.
    Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women workers are dismissed.
    Labour Laws: Some Labour Law Benefits are applicable.

    Background Information:

    Micro-Machining Industries (MMI) was established in 1989 and listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange in 1997. MMI is headquartered in Singapore and has operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and China.

    According to the press release dated 24 February 2003, the Singapore main board listed MMI Holdings Ltd, turnover for 1H2003 rose 28% to $207 million from $162 million in the previous corresponding period. MMI, an electro-mechanical contract manufacturer serves the data storage, semiconductor, wireless, photonics, imaging and automotive industries, reported 1H2003 results ended 31 December 2002.

    The Group managed to achieve yet another record of sales revenue in year 2003 which is $455 million, representing a 31% growth from the previous financial year. Of the $455m sales revenue, $386 million was generated by the Contract Manufacturing Group (CMG) and the remaining 15% from the Systems Group (SYG). The increase in revenue is the result of continued growth in the core HDD business.

    MMI Holdings Limited, Singapore, had purchased 18% shares in year 2000 of what was then called TWP Industries Ltd [in Thailand]. The Directors remuneration for year 2001 was nearly half of the profits after Tax.. From September 2002, it took over completely from TWP and called the new company MMI Precision (Thailand) Limited. MMI Holdings is fully aware of the business and the situation of workers when it took over.

  • For more information contact:
  • President Witchupol Suwannawat
    Computer Part and Electronics Labour Union
    53/29, Soi 7 Thaithanee, Navanakorn Industrial Colony, Klong Luang Klong Nung, Phatumdhanee 12120,
    Thailand, Tel. 0-1509-5902.

    You could also get more information from the Company:

    Mr. TEH Bong Lim, Managing Director, MMI Holdings Limited
    29 Woodlands Industrial Park E1,
    #01-16 Northtech Building,
    Singapore 757716, Tel: (65) 6767 8276 Fax: (65) 6762 7238
    Email: BL Teh

    Sources and Relevant Links:

    MMI MMI Information

    MMI Corporate Factsheet

    MMI MMI achieves 28% growth in interim revenue to S$207 million EMCM model generated net cash from operations of S$15 million

    ST Alex Chan SWIMMING LEGEND: MMI Executive Director

    NUS The puzzle of Singapore's dominance in HDD assembly

    Business Times MMI seeks to diversify amid loss

    Business Times MMI unit buys 25% stake in Chinese company 13 Dec 2002

    NP Strategic Partnership with a Competitive Advantage

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