Labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, sees tell-tale signs of darker days for trade unionism, following the termination of HSBC union president Raymund Aceña last March 30.
“This only goes to show that no industry is spared, no character of employee taken into consideration, and companies are ruthless in using low-handed tactics to weaken trade unions and to implement their profit-gaining schemes” EILER Executive Director Anna Leah Escresa said.
Various labor organizations have already condemned the dubious termination of the young HSBC union president, following a preventive suspension for merely using his company-designated e-mail for union communication.
Escresa emphasized that the use of company e-mail by employees for union purposes is globally recognized as a good practice, and is guaranteed under specific codes on fundamental freedoms of employees on the internet.
“The termination is obviously an attempt to remove Aceña out of the picture for the upcoming negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement and paralyze the union,” Escresa said.
Aceña, along with the executive board of the Hongkong Bank Independent Labor Union (HBILU) have been staunch criticizing the bank’s outsourcing program and campaigned against HSBC’s Project Green that outsourced 150 HSBC employees.
EILER also learned of HSBC’s machinations to depose the progressive labor union.
“The questioned termination happened on the same day as the filing for Certificate Election of management-sponsored union HSBCEA, which however suffered legal infirmities for not reaching the DOLE required minimum number of employee signatures,” Escresa disclosed.
HBILU in an interview with EILER said they recognize that a bigger outsourcing plan to be hatched this CBA period could be the real reason behind the termination.
“Outsourcing and contractualization have turned out to be cash cows for companies, they aren’t shamed to taint their reputation to have it implemented, they are ruthless and barefaced in taking out anything or anyone who lays obstacles to its implementation,” the labor NGO said.
Aceña has filed his case for illegal dismissal and unfair labor practice before the NLRC last April 19. His dismissal under contention, Aceña reserved his legal authority to remain chairman of the union CBA panel.
HSBC management however still refuses to recognize him and demands he be stripped off any representative authority to bargain for the union. Employees retaliated by launching four successful protest actions against the foreign bank.
“Trade union repression is here to stay and is only to get more elaborate, this by far shows its new face as it has reached even the supposedly professional arena of the banking industry. Outsourcing has burgeoned darker days for unionism, everyone opposed to it can fall prey. The young and competent employees of HSBC can only rely on their collective action to stop HSBC,” Escresa concluded.