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Factory making CK, Gap to close, lay off 3,600

/ 12:12 AM February 24, 2014

SAN PEDRO CITY, Philippines—At least 3,600 workers of a multinational garments factory that supplies famous international brands would file a case of illegal closure in the labor department today against the company that “suddenly” stopped its operations in Biñan City, Laguna province.

The complaint will be filed against Carina Apparel Inc., a British-owned lingerie factory located at  Laguna International Industrial Park, by  Carina Apparel Inc. Labor Union-Independent (Cailu), said Gina Cedron, a union member and spokesperson of the militant labor alliance Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan-Timog Katagalugan.

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She said the company unilaterally decided to permanently cease operations without informing the employees and by writing instead to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The company supplied products to known brands such as Marks & Spencer, Calvin Klein, Gap, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, Uniqlo and Toray, said Cedron, a machine operator in the company for 14 years.

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She said the letter  the company sent to the DOLE stated that it would completely cease operations effective March 27 and would “dissolve the corporation by shortening the corporate term, subject to approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

A copy of the letter, dated Feb. 20, a copy of which was furnished to the Inquirer by Cailu, was signed by Carina’s senior operations manager Anthony Wong.

Wong said the company was “incurring significant losses” since December 2011, when Carina, a subsidiary of British ACE Style International Ltd., was placed under receivership.

In 2012, the company received financial support from another party, Eastside Holdings Ltd., in order to make it “commercially viable” but “has continued to incur heavy trading losses largely due to its low production efficiency arising from a consistently high rate of employee absenteeism and their unwillingness to embrace greater flexibility in the workplace,” the letter read.

The management blamed the closure on Cailu for the union members’ alleged lack of “cooperation and support” and “reluctance” to adapt to the company’s new measures.

The letter did not specify what these measures were but Cedron said these referred to adjustments on the employees’ working schedules.

She denied absenteeism was even an issue, saying that in the last six months, “they asked us to report on holidays, extended the working hours that some had to spend overnight at work.”

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Cedron said the shutdown came without warning as they had tons of shipments months prior to the closure. She said the company had also hired new “casual” workers and “regularized” 50 employees early this year.

But on Feb. 14, she said the management forced all workers to go on a weeklong leave, supposedly until Feb. 21. The company, she said, announced that this was because raw materials did not arrive on time.

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TAGS: Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan-Timog Katagalugan, Labor, News, Regions, Unemployment
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