Honda Cars PH closure shocks workers

February 25 ------ More than a hundred workers of Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) were holed up on Sunday inside the car factory in Santa Rosa City, Laguna province, shocked at the announcement that the Japanese company’s 28-year-old production plant in the country would close down next month. They are the latest group of workers set to lose their jobs and soon join the ranks of 700 workers of Nokia Technology Center Philippines, which is shutting down operations, and 700 employees of Wells Fargo & Co., which is transferring its IT and business processing work in the country to India.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Sunday said he had ordered a review of the company’s procedures to find out the “basis” of the plant shutting down. “There are procedures (to follow before a company closes down) to be sure the employees are paid their salaries and [for us] to know what its reasons are,” he said in a phone interview. Bello made the remarks as labor group Defend Jobs Philip¬pines urged him to directly intervene, conduct an impartial investigation and thoroughly look into the announcement of HCPI to shut down its plant. The HCPI workers, many of whom have been with the company for over 25 years, refused to leave the premises inside the Laguna Technopark. “We will stay here until somebody from the top management comes down and talks to us,” said union vice president Christopher Oliquino, 42.