Apple faces protests after supplier fires Filipino workers

by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Sep 15 2014 11:15 AM | Updated as of Sep 16 2014 07:10 PM

LOS ANGELES - While the world awaits the release of the iPhone 6, some communities are warning that the much anticipated gadget has a so-called "ethical glitch" as two dozen Filipino workers were believed to have been unjustly fired from one of the tech giant's suppliers in the Philippines.

"Apple can't make its product run without the work of Philippine workers at NXP," said Kuusela Hilo of the International League of People's Struggles.

Dutch based-NXP, who supplies parts for Apple, fired 24 union leaders at one of its plants in the Philippines, as they were beginning contract negotiations last May.

US-based unions, human rights activists and and Filipino-Americans are calling on Apple to make sure the workers are rehired and negotiations continue.

"One of their factories fired Filipino workers when they were trying to organize and demand for just conditions and this a huge problem. Union busting is illegal here in the United States and should be illegal in the Philippines as well," said Chanelle Yang of the United Students Against Sweatshops.

Bob La Venture, United Steel Workers District 12 director, said, " Apple is the one that contracts those 3rd party suppliers and Apple has all the power to do that."

The iPhone 6, which is believed to have semiconductors produced by NXP, launches this week. There is no call for boycott of Apple products, but a petition with 150,000 calling for the reinstatement of the Filipino workers has been circulating.

Apple has yet to respond to Balitang America's request for comment.

"We're calling on Apple to do the right thing with workers around the world especially in the Philippines where they wanted to voice their democratic right to have a union and Apple is squashing that opportunity to do that," La Venture said.

The Philippines Department of Labor and Employment is also reportedly looking into the firings at NXP, as protest actions have also taken place against another NXP client -- Samsung.