Several groups filed complaints against Chongwon Trading and Il-Kyoung Co. Ltd. for labour rights violations.
The workers rights problems started in when management threatened to close Chongwons fashion plant in the Philippines in 2001 after workers attempted to establish a union. In 2004, after the unions won elections at the Phils Jeon (a subsidiary of Il-Kyoung Co. Ltd.) and the Chongwons plants, the company filed several unsuccessful court petitions challenging the results.
In August 2006, the union president at Phils Jeon was dismissed along with 63 other members. The following month, workers at Phils Jeon and Chongwon went on strike despite managements warnings. The strike at Phils Jeon was violently dispersed by police and security guards who attacked and injured 25 mainly female workers. At Chongwon, 71 striking workers were dismissed and workers received death threats.
In February 2007, the Philippine Department of Labour and Employment suddenly declared the unions no longer represented the workers. The unions accused the mediator for the National Relations Commission of taking bribes from the companies.
The complaint also notes in August 2007, two women workers sleeping in front of the Phils Jeon factory were attacked by masked men, abducted and then thrown out at a highway close to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
- Version 2000 Chapter I
- Version 2000 Chapter I Paragraph I.7
- Version 2000 Chapter II
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.2
- Version 2000 Chapter IV
- Version 2000 Chapter IV Paragraph IV.1 Subparagraph IV.1.A
- Version 2000 Chapter IV Paragraph IV.7
- Version 2000 Chapter VI
- Version 2000 Chapter VI Paragraph VI.0
After assessing the complaint, the Korean NCP rejected the Chongwon case, because the company no longer exists. However, the NCP did accept the Il-Kyoung/Phils Jeon case.
In November 2007 the complainants submitted additional field research at the Phils Jeon factory at a meeting with the NCP. Il-Kyoung agreed to enter into a dialogue with the union. The complainants pushed to have the dialogue facilitated by the NCP.
In April 2008, an informal meeting took place between the union and Phils Jeon management (the NCP played no role). In that meeting, Phils Jeon management and Il-Kyoung stated that they would not enter into a dialogue with the workers, because they no longer work for the company. The complainants insisted that since the workers dismissal is part of the dispute, they should maintain their union membership.
The NCP has organised two meetings with the complainants at their request. However, no meetings with all the parties has been organised by the NCP despite the complainants request.
In April 2009, after the complainants asked a progress report on case, the NCP responded that it would take no further action on the case until parallel legal proceedings (a case between Phils Jeon and its employees) in the Philippines had concluded.
The NCP did agree to a meeting with the complainants in April 2011, but again reiterated its position that it will not proceed with the case until the parallel legal proceeding in the Philippines is concluded.
In 2014, OECD Watch learned that the NCP closed the case without publishing a final statement or even officially informing the complainants.