Cobra, for those who don’t know yet, is the factory in Thailand where the production boards from pretty much all brands are made. Last December 4th, it was reported that the plant had been shut down, stopping the production of the 2009 boards and leaving the brands wondering how long would this delay their production.
The reason for the shut down was the dispute between the company and the employees, but Danu Chotikapanich, chief executive officer of Cobra says the disagreement was the result of a misunderstanding.
Svein Rasmussen, owner of Starboard, replies to the Beach Telegraph that the plant is back in full production and that they expect delivery delays of approximately 2 weeks for some of their export markets.
Here you have the whole story, starting with the article published by The Nation on December 4th:
Leading water sports gear maker Cobra (Thailand) has shut down its operation in Chon Buri, leaving security officers to advise 2,000 workers this morning of the closure.
The shut down reportedly followed a request from the 2,000 workers last month for a bonus of Bt20,000 per head and awage hike of 6 per cent. The company replied it could pay only Bt5,000-bonus per worker and a wage hike of 4 per cent- a response which prompted the workers to plan strike action.
Chon Buri deputy governor Pisit Boonchaung said he had been told of the factory\'s closure and talked with the Labour Ministry to negotiate with workers and the company.
Danu Chotikapanich, chief executive officer of Cobra International, told The Nation the disagreement was the result of a misunderstanding. He declined to say more.
Following negotiations with Cobra, labour union president Nawin Simaphan said the workers proposed the firm pay the bonus of Bt20,000 per head, an across-the-board wage hike of 8 per cent, work incentive of Bt1,200 per month, living cost allowance of Bt1,200 per month, risk allowance of Bt20 per day, a parent funeral allowance at Bt6,000, with a day off every other Saturday, and medical treatment allowance of Bt3,000 per year. The firm\'s representatives said they would consult with the executives and give an answer on December 4, he said.
A worker, who asked not to be named, said she worked with the firm since its opening 28 years ago. She said the bonus was lowered eventually from Bt40,000 to Bt30,000, to Bt20,000 and finally to Bt5,000, and so the workers ran out of patience. What angered them most, she said, was that they heard the firm lent Bt95 million to its subsidiary to extend business and then told the workers it had no money to pay for their wage requests, she said.
And this is the letter from Cobra International to many of his partners, to warn them about sure delays on the shipments in place:
The current political and world economic climate makes it is necessary for Cobra International to control rising manufacturing costs. After the failure of 5 weeks of negotiations between the two parties and after the Cobra Labour Union did not accept Cobra Internationals final offer the Union deemed the negotiations a failure.
The management regrets that the current situation could not be resolved thru mediation and hopes to resolve this situation as soon as possible.
To ensure the safety for the non Cobra Labour Union affiliated staff and to avoid any intentional damage to the companies plant the Cobra Management called for a Special Paid Holiday effective December 3, 2008, and have no other choice but to announce a lockout effective 8 am December 4, 2008. Cobra International will welcome Employee’s who wish to work back into the factory as early as Monday, December 8, 2008.
Unfortunately this issue will affect all shipment plans currently in place. As soon as physically possible we will supply you with a current finished goods list and revised production output plans.
Please inform your Customer Service person of any specific PO’s in your shipment plan that should take first priority, so that we can work with you to lower the impact on your business.
After receiving your priorities and/or partial shipment instructions we will get back to you ASAP with revised shipment plans.
We are happy to hear that the factory is back to normality and we can get our brand new 2009 babies!!!!