Thailand's Cobra International Locks Out Employees

Asia's largest surfboard manufacturing plant, Thailand's Cobra International Co. Ltd., is locking its doors. According to a letter sent to Cobra's international partners on Wednesday December 3, 2008, Cobra and it's labor force, Cobra Labor Union, have failed to negotiate a work compromise after five weeks of meetings.

Cobra International cited rising manufacturing costs in its letter, and stated that they are locking out the union employees beginning December 4th. The 55,000 square-meter factory will be shut down for at least five days, according to the letter.

Cobra International manufactures surfboards for one of the surfboard market leaders, SurfTech, as well as hardgoods for the sailboard and kiteboard world.

How this work stoppage will affect shipments to the US is still unclear. It's fairly safe to assume that most shops are already stocked for the Christmas season.

"This won't effect the holiday season at all," said Encinitas Surfboards owner Marc Adam, whose shop stocks a smattering of SurfTech models. "I guarantee you all the shops up and down the coast are stocked, and if they aren't, the SurfTech warehouse in Orange County has plenty of boards."

The Cobra International Co., Ltd letter is reprinted below:

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. –end letter–