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Labour Rights and Decent Work for Working Women in Asia - Regional Consultation Report

In September 2013, AMRC launched our Gender and Labour Rights programme by bringing together representatives from 28 organisations and twelve countries for a regional consultation. Participants were predominantly women activists from AMRC’s partner labour groups, as well as experts and researchers who have been working on labour and gender issues in the region.

This meeting was exploratory in nature, with the objective of identifying in a consultative and participatory manner a) experiences, challenges and best practices to promote the inclusion and leadership of women workers, and b) at the national and regional levels, possible strategies and activities that AMRC could implement with partners. 

Download the report to find out more about the enriching discussions we had in Bangkok.

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AHRC TV Human Rights Asia Weekly Roundup Episode 15

The AHRC releases today the 15th Episode, of the Human Rights Asia Weekly Round up with special reports from Cambodia. Fact Finding Mission and Solidarity Team from ATNC came to the country and soon will release their report.

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(Video) Doubt on agreement to improve safety conditions at Bangladesh's garment factories

(Video) Doubt on agreement to improve safety conditions at Bangladesh's garment factories | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it
Some of Europes biggest retailers signed an agreement to improve safety conditions at Bangladesh's garment factories. Asia Monitor Resource Centers Sanjiv Pandita tells the WSJs Deborah Kan why he doubts some of these guidelines will be regulated.
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Piden que multinacionales respondan por desastres como derrumbe en Bangladesh

Piden que multinacionales respondan por desastres como derrumbe en Bangladesh | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it
Activistas y sindicalistas asiáticos pidieron hoy que las multinacionales sean procesadas judicialmente por desastres como el derrumbe en el que han muerto más de un millar de trabajadores en un complejo textil en Bangladesh.
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Walmart’s Contested Expansion in the Retail Business: Differential Accumulation, Institutional Restructuring and Social Resistance

Walmart’s Contested Expansion in the Retail Business: Differential Accumulation, Institutional Restructuring and Social Resistance by Joseph Baines October 25, 2012 *** Winner of the Eighth ANNUAL STUDENT SCHOLARS AWARD of The Association for Institutional Thought *** ABSTRACT: This paper offers an analysis of Walmart's contested expansion in the retail business. It draws on, and develops, some aspects of the capital as power framework so as to provide the first quantitative explication of the company's power trajectory to date. After rapid growth in the first four decades of its existence, the power of Walmart appears to be flat-lining relative to dominant capital as a whole. The major problems for Walmart lie in the fact that its green-field growth is running into barriers, while its cost cutting measures seem to be approaching a floor. The paper contends that these problems are in part born out of resistance that Walmart is experiencing at multiple social scales. This resistance helps to explain why Walmart is nearing what appears to be an 'asymptote' – a distributional limit that the company might not be able to pass. Walmart’s power trajectory may give us clues about the future limits on the power of dominant capital as a whole. Download full paper in PDF: http://bnarchives.yorku.ca/358/02/20120925_baines_walmart_contested_expansion.pdf
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Protest Letter: Hong Kong Dockers' Strike for Pay Rise and Collective Bargaining Right

To:  "Mr. Gerry Yim Lui Fai" <com.cst@hit.com.hk>

CC:  

"Mr. Fok Kin Ning, Chair, Hutchison Port Holdings Trust" <info@hphtrust.com>,

 "Mr. Lee Ka Shing, Chair, Hutchison Whampoa Limited" <info@hwl.com.hk>,

 "Mr Matthew Cheung Kin Chung, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Hong Kong SAR Government" <slwo@lwb.gov.hk>,

 HKCTU <hkctu@hkctu.org.hk>

 

Date:  5 April 2013 17:48

 

Subject: Protest Letter: Hong Kong Dockers' Strike for Pay Rise and Collective Bargaining Right

 

Mr. Gerry Yim Lui Fai

Managing Director

Hong Kong International Terminals

Terminal 4, Container Port Road South

Hong Kong

 

Dear Mr. Yim,

 

The Asia Monitor Resource Centre expresses our staunchest support to the dock workers and the Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD), the affiliate of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), who are on strike in the container berths owned by Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT), the subsidiary of Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT) and Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL).

 

We could not imagine that dock workers employed at the berths you own and operate work in such hazardous conditions. It is unacceptable that these workers face health and safety risks daily, work extremely long shifts, and are not given meals and toilet breaks nor fair pay equivalent to their work. We find it surprising that dock workers in Hong Kong, one of the top container ports in the world, are employed in conditions so shamefully below international labour standards.

 

HIT, belonging to Hutchison Whampoa, has sought a temporary injunction, to be heard in the court for the granting of an official one on 5 April, to ban the striking workers and members of the union to enter HIT’s berths; and finally that this injunction is sought without negotiating for a settlement with UHKD that represents the majority of the workers. These are not practices the international community would expect from a responsible employer that owns and operates 320 berths in 26 countries.

 

The Hong Kong SAR government has ratified Convention No.87 on Freedom of Association and Convention No.98 on Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). These conventions protect the right of workers to organise and negotiate with the employers over their working conditions free from retaliation.

 

Observance to the international laws and the core labour standards is fundamental to protecting the well-being of the people in Hong Kong and the status of the territory in the international business and civil community. Your respect, and the respect of Hutchison Whampoa and HIT for these fundamental labour standards is not only a matter of importance to the dock workers and the trade unions in Hong Kong, but also of great concern to the international trade unions all over the world that represent workers where you and your companies operate. The international trade unions and the members are watching the development and expect to see a fair settlement over the strike under due procedure of ILO standards.

 

We hereby urge HIT, Hutchison Port Holdings Trust and Hutchison Whampoa Limited to respect the fundamental right of the dock workers to strike, and demand fair remuneration and decent working conditions. We also ask HIT to respect UHKD in representing their members for collective bargaining with the management.

 

We wish to see that HIT will negotiate in good faith with the striking workers and UHKD. Collective agreement should be signed between the union and HIT. No worker and member of the trade union will be punished for their participation in the strike.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Asia Monitor Resource Centre

Flat 7, 9th Floor, Block A, Fuk Keung Industrial Building

66-68 Tong Mi Road, Kowloon Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2332-1346, Fax: (852) 2385-5319

Website: www.amrc.org.hk

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Workers in the Supply Chain of Electronics Industry in India: The Case of Samsung

 

Surendra Pratap

Abstract

This paper attempts to analyse the dynamics of the electronics industry and the fate of electronics workers in India in the broader context of the problems of India’s economic development in the new global politico-economic regime. The electronics industry recorded a significant growth after liberalization. However, the nature of this growth is raising serious concerns. The growth is mainly in IT services, and not in electronics manufacturing. Moreover, whatever is the growth in electronics manufacturing, it appears to be more import intensive. The value added in this industry in India is merely 5-10 per cent. All electronics giants with manufacturing bases in India, such as Samsung, LG, Dell and Hewlett Packard, import 90 per cent of parts from overseas. In the case of Samsung the majority of the components are imported from Korea, Singapore and China.Current government initiatives in the form of a new electronics policy and the new manufacturing investment zones policy are an attempt to accelerate the growth in electronics manufacturing. The size and scale of operations of the majority of electronics manufacturing units in India remain small, and the huge majority of them are in the informal sector. Moreover, a significant portion of jobs in the formal sector are also informalised. The huge majority of units engages less than 40 workers each and therefore is exempted from various labour laws including the Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers statute. Further relaxations in labour laws are extended to electronics industries under various schemes in most of the states of India. The expansion of this industry in India is comparatively new and therefore the majority of the workforce in this sector is mostly first generation workers.

There are rarely any trade unions in electronics sector. However, recent strikes in some electronics manufacturing plants show that the process has started. The working conditions in the industry are some of the worse. The majority of workers receive only minimum wages. There are serious problems of occupational health and safety. Samsung in Noida (Uttar Pradesh) is using the strategy of exploiting the apprentice workers in a big way. There are no agency workers in this factory. However, the ITI apprentices constitute about 50 per cent of the workforce. There is a significant difference in wages of regular workers and apprenticeship. It seems that this is going to be a general trend in the industry. To organize the electronics industry workers, it is necessary to focus on the cluster of electronics manufacturing plants emerging in various regions. Awareness building campaigns among workers in these clusters and among the students of ITIs that are supplying the apprentices to these clusters can be used as an initial strategy to create common platforms of electronics industry workers and ITI students.

For the full paper, please download the attachment below

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Statement of Asia Monitor Resource Centre on the Sentencing of Somyot Pruksakasemsuk

 

Hong Kong, 23 January 2013

Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC) issues the following statement on the sentencing of Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, a labour activist in Thailand.

AMRC is deeply concerned by the court’s decision to sentence Somyot Pruksakasemsuk for 10 years imprisonment for violating the Article 112 of the Criminal Code. The verdict is serious set setback for freedom of expression and severely undermines the rights to freedom of expression in Thailand, as the country ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1996.

AMRC strongly condemn the verdict and urge the Thai authorities to immediately release Somyot and all other prisoners of conscience without conditions. The authorities should grant Somyot reparations for the time he has spent in pre-trial detention.

Asia Monitor Resource Centre

Flat 7, 9th Floor, Block A, Fuk Keung Industrial Building
66-68 Tong Mi Road, Kowloon Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2332-1346, Fax: (852) 2385-5319

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Joint Statement on - Towards a Caring and Sharing Asian Society Social Security for All in ASEAN/Asia

This is a joint statement on universial social security  from the participants of “Sub regional workshop on Movement Building towards Social Security for All” consisting of 17 labour organizations, trade unions from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam

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Another failure of CSR in Indonesia

This research has shown that PT International Nickel Indonesia (PT INCO) investments in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, have failed to contribute to the economic, social and environmental progress of the region, and neither do they promote the development of the local economy. Community development programs implemented through CSR do not lead to economic, social and environmental advancements”. On the contrary, PT INCO has made use of community development programs to secure corporate profits for the smooth running of company operations, and to this end has opted to downplay economic and social impacts affecting local communities, quell public resistance and divert attention away from environmental, social and economic issues confronting local residents.

 

Local communities have applied the proverb “menarik benang dalam tepung” (literally “pulling the thread from a bowl of flour”) to illustrate the company’s political strategy in using community development programs to accumulate profits for their investment plans under the pretext of fulfilling their social responsibility, albeit through dishonest and insincere implementation. Through this research, it is also found that the paradigm which the provincial and local government have adopted with regard to community development funds is for the purpose of shifting government responsibility to improve the people’s welfare, among others by silencing the people from demanding for their rights in mining concession areas.

 

http://www.infid.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Report-Research-INCO-revisi.pdf

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Protests Rising Within China

Tens of thousands of residents in a Chinese city took to the streets last week to protest, forcing the government to scrap plans to build a copper plant. The incident is the latest in a rising number of localised protests as expression of public anger aimed at over-ambitious or corrupt officials in China over-boils.

Thousands of anti-riot police were deployed to Shifang city, located in China’s Western Sichuan province last week during the protests which turned violent as residents smashed police cars and stormed the government headquarters. Two protestors have since been reported to have died, according to NGO Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

In a highly unusual compromise, the local government announced that plans for the metals plant, which locals said would result in heavily polluting factory emissions, would be stopped. Twenty-one of 27 people detained during the protests have been released.

A number of high-profile protests have erupted in the last few years. In December 2011, the village Wukan made international headlines after villagers rose against corrupt local officials they claimed were stealing their land. Following a stand-off, senior government officials intervened. Local officials were sacked and – in a surprising twist – Wukan residents were given the right to vote for their own village chief and officials.

In August 2011, around 12,000 residents protested against a chemicals plant in the northeastern city Dalian, leading to the plant’s closure. In September of the same year, villagers in Haining, located in Zhejiang province, protested for three days against a solar panel factory which had dumped toxic waste into a local river killing fish. The factory has since been closed.

“Official reports do chart a rising number of protests over the past five years or so,” Michael DeGolyer, professor in the Department of Government and International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University, tells IPS. “Social volatility (the potential for sudden outbreaks of mass behaviours demanding structural change) is rising due to a number of factors. Then, all it takes is a triggering event or events to unleash it.”

The rapid rise of social media has played a significant role in growing civic awareness among the populace. China’s micro-blogs have helped inspire large gatherings of protestors. Users, many who were born in the post-1990s and are well-educated, have quickly spread details and images of protests around the country, forcing the hand of the government.

“I see Chinese people’s civic consciousness budding,” says Li Yonglin, 19, an entrepreneur who travelled to Shifang from Mianyang city in Sichuan province to take part in the protests. “Several years ago when a city government decided to implement an environmentally-unfriendly project, citizens would probably bear with it. Shifang people’s fight is just the beginning. Resentment among people has been suppressed for too long.”

Li claims to have witnessed police using batons to break up gatherings. When matters escalated they used tear gas and stun grenades. Li has repeatedly tried to post reports online of what he witnessed. But they have all been deleted.

Last week, the word “Shifang” (which the government did not block online) was the most widely searched term on China’s micro-blogs. Protestors relayed details of incidents as they happened, including complaints of police brutality and the liberal use of pepper spray against protestors. Graphic photographs of protestors with blood pouring down their faces and chests – reportedly after been beaten by government forces – went viral on the micro-blog Sina Weibo. The posts have since been deleted.

“Talking about the Shifang incident, it is the government’s fault,” wrote a Weibo user named ‘Skaterboy’. “If they communicated right, would we have gone this far? The people are reasonable, the police are not bullies, it is the government who has made the wrong moves.”

Cultural commentators have waded in to fan the fires. Han Han, the millionaire race-car driving author and blogger, wrote a widely-circulated blog post supporting residents of Shifang and condemning the brute force of the police.

“People’s requests for improving their environment must be respected,” wrote Han Han in the post. “You leaders change every few years. You take on environmental destruction with nice-looking certificates of achievement. If you do well you get promoted, if you don’t you get jail. The best of you emigrate, the worst of you are shot. But none of you actually live in the pollution. Only ordinary people live there.”

“Thanks to the spread of information, more people are aware of their rights,” the 19-year-old protestor Li Yonglin adds. “The people have drawn a line between them and the government. The people will not continue believing what the government feeds them and simply follow it. I hope that the influence of Shifang will travel around. China will improve little by little.”

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Book for download: The Reality of Corporate Social Responsibility

Book for download: The Reality of Corporate Social Responsibility | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it

As Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been practiced in many different ways, this book tries to present its Asian context by investigating how it has been impacting people on the ground. The book provides case studies from China, South Korea, India and Indonesia, disclosing the ugly face of CSR. The biggest problem with CSR is not that it has limitations, nor is it concerning its questionable ability to sufficiently address the problems it intends to ameliorate. Rather, it is the fact that it takes people to a completely wrong direction.

 

For many large corporations, CSR is primarily a strategy to divert attention away from the negative social and environmental impacts of their activities. In the Asian context, CSR mostly involves activities like adopting villages for what they call a ‘holistic development’, in which they provide medical and sanitation facilities, build school and houses, and helping villagers become self-reliant by teaching them vocational and business skills. Such corporate strategies have been effectively hegemonic, providing a strong legitimacy and license for corporations to sustain the exploitation of human and natural resources. More importantly, it leads people to wrongly assume that the business houses, and not the states, are responsible for citizens' basic rights to better education, clean water, healthcare, etc. It disciplines the un-informed poor motivating them to behave in ways that make state regulation obsolete, while leaving them at the mercy of market forces. 

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Research | ATNC

Research | ATNC | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it

Mobility of Capital

The mobility of capital is a major challenge for labour movements in many countries. Capital is now moving into other spaces, times, and aspects of social life. Capital can move easily to those places that offer the best condition for accumulation. It is gaining more power and able to transform itself easily from productive into financial capital, and vice versa. More than ever, the power of capital can determine people’s lives. The work of “Mobility of Capital” develops the model of ‘Triangle Solidarity” which intends to strengthen the relations between campaign and movement building by developing triangular solidarity between labour organisations in the home countries of manufacturing capital, those in buyers’ countries and workers in manufacturing countries. It would also examine existing methods to campaign against run-away capital, used by organisations in different countries.

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A Week that Shook #Cambodia

A Week that Shook #Cambodia | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it

A Week that Shook Cambodia

A Fact-Finding Report on the General Strike and Violent Crackdown in Cambodia (Dec 2013-Jan 2014)

 

The demand of Cambodian workers to lift the minimum wage to US$ 160 is fair and reasonable, as their real wages have been stagnant despite their tremendous contribution to Cambodia’s economic growth. The ineffective response of the Labour Advisory Committee in meeting this demand has compelled the majority of workers to strike and protest. The disproportionate use of force by the government to suppress these legitimate protests demonstrate that the government is more concerned with protecting the interests and profits of the employers of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia than protecting the workers’ rights to a decent living wage, freedom of  association and other basic human rights.

 

A Joint Report by:

Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong • Asian Labour Study Group, The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK • Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong • Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, Philippines •  Korean Confederation of Trade Union, South Korea • Korean House for International Solidarity, South Korea • Oxfam Solidarity Belgium • Serve People Association, Taiwan

 

Fact-Finding Team:

Christal Chan, Dae-Oup Chang, Danilo Reyes, Eunji Kang, Fahmi Panimbang, Hilde Van Regenmortel,

Jane Siwa, Lennon Ying-Dah Wong, Mikyung Ryu, Samuel Li Shing Hong, Sanjiv Pandita, Yoo Ki-soo

 

Download the report:

http://amrc.org.hk/node/1363

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AROSS Declaration 2013 - Reclaiming our Future, Restoring the People’s Dignity

Social problems are raging across Asia, a region deemed the world’s global economic locomotive.  Poverty is high and pervasive amidst so much wealth for a few. In fact, inequality is deepening everywhere, within and across countries. Joblessness and near-joblessness are widespread. And majority of those who have jobs are trapped in precarious work arrangements and hostile working conditions.

It is against this backdrop that we in the labor and social movement are demanding the right of all citizens to social protection that restores dignity and balances the economy. Social protection is more than ensuring that no one in society falls without any social assistance but it is first and foremost a program to secure the people’s well-being. Social protection is all about ensuring a dignified living for all and securing a future freed of uncertainties arising from job, income, social, economic and environmental insecurities.

We, participants of the 4th Asian Roundtable on Social Security, call for social protection that goes beyond safety nets for select segments of society.  Social protection should be inclusive and transformative. It is non-discriminatory and encompasses all individuals, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, race, citizenship, religious belief, caste, political affiliation and employment status. We believe that the current social protection systems across Asia should move away from the prevailing neoliberal policies that prioritize financial investment over the citizens’ benefits.

We call for the adoption of macroeconomic policies that support social protection, living wage and sustainable livelihood, health care and pension benefits for all, family-centered social services and labor market policies, provision of tools for working in a highly globalized economy, and unemployment insurance.

We condemn corruption in social protection implementation and we oppose privatization and marketization of the delivery of social protection services. We call for greater government subsidy and allocation for social protection programs; in particular, we demand that our respective governments to raise their expenditure on social protection programs to an amount not less than 7 per cent of the gross domestic product. We demand for a social protection legislation and implementation that is initiated by a democratic institution of governance with the active participation of its constituents, including the vulnerable and marginalized.

As advocates for social protection for all, we will work aggressively on information building through further research and awareness-raising about social protection through intensified advocacy and campaigns. We will work together and embrace new forms of organizing towards a cross-sectoral collaboration of working peoples’ movements across Asia in the struggle for social protection reforms in our respective countries and collectively, in the Asian region.

We commit to getting our acts together towards reclaiming our future and restoring the people’s dignity!

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WEA's Jol Miskin fundraising for AMRC

WEA's Jol Miskin fundraising for AMRC | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it
The WEA's Jol Miskin, Regional Education Manager in Yorkshire and Humber, is set to take part in a sponsored half marathon. This is in honour of his friend Simon Pickvance, a pioneer in occupational health, on behalf of the Asia Monitor Resource Centre which Simon supported. --- Jol said: "It’s a long time since I did a sponsored run. In fact the last one was the full marathon in Sheffield back in the 1980s when I raised funds for the Miners. "This time it is a little different. For a start I’m a bit older and it’s a half marathon rather than the full thing! It is on Sunday 12th May in Sheffield. The run is in honour of my friend and comrade Simon Pickvance (See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2012/dec/20/simon-pickvance-obituary ). Simon, a pioneer in occupational health services, died aged 63 at the end of last year, two years after being diagnosed with mesothelioma – a legacy of working with asbestos in the building trade. Simon, a scientist, dedicated his working life to workers’ rights and helped set up the Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service, a model copied elsewhere. He worked internationally as well and was hugely liked and respected by all who knew him. Simon was a good friend of the WEA and had helped some staff in the Yorkshire and Humber Region who required occupational health advice. He was always willing. ---- "When Simon died his family asked that donations be made to the ASIA MONITOR RESOURCE CENTRE (AMRC http://www.amrc.org.hk/ ), an NGO Simon had worked with and supported. So this is the organisation I am raising funds for: ---- "The Vision of AMRC is to become a strategic research, education, and information resource partner of the broad Asian labour movement in the struggle for decent jobs, equality, and dignity for Asian working men and women. The mission of AMRC is to support and contribute towards the building of a strong, democratic, and independent labour movement in Asia by understanding and responding to the multiple challenges of asserting workers’ rights to jobs, decent working conditions, and gender consciousness, while following a participatory framework. "Because the AMRC is based in Hong Kong I am unable to organise sponsorship through ‘JustGiving’. I have set up a special account with the Coop Bank instead." To donate to Jol's run, please transfer money into this special account: ---- Account Number: 17101390 Sort Code: 08-92-86
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Apparel Retailers Weigh Tough Options

Apparel Retailers Weigh Tough Options | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it
The recent spate of garment-factory disasters in Bangladesh spotlights the poor working conditions there. For too many Western brands, "it's the ugliest race to the bottom because the financial crisis in America and Europe means that people are getting very scared of buying expensive things," says Sanjiv Pandita, executive director of the Hong Kong-based Asia Monitor Resource Center, which tracks labor conditions across the region. Read more on: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323687604578468912873242332.html
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Walmart’s Contested Expansion in the Retail Business: Differential Accumulation, Institutional Restructuring and Social Resistance

by Joseph Baines *** Winner of the Eighth ANNUAL STUDENT SCHOLARS AWARD of The Association for Institutional Thought *** ABSTRACT: This paper offers an analysis of Walmart's contested expansion in the retail business. It draws on, and develops, some aspects of the capital as power framework so as to provide the first quantitative explication of the company's power trajectory to date. After rapid growth in the first four decades of its existence, the power of Walmart appears to be flat-lining relative to dominant capital as a whole. The major problems for Walmart lie in the fact that its green-field growth is running into barriers, while its cost cutting measures seem to be approaching a floor. The paper contends that these problems are in part born out of resistance that Walmart is experiencing at multiple social scales. This resistance helps to explain why Walmart is nearing what appears to be an 'asymptote' – a distributional limit that the company might not be able to pass. Walmart’s power trajectory may give us clues about the future limits on the power of dominant capital as a whole. FULL TEXT:
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In the Belly of the Beast: Samsung Electronics’ Supply Chain and Workforce in South Korea


Jiwon Han, Wol-san Liem, and Yoomi Lee

This paper discusses Samsung Electronics’ importance to the South Korea economy, its ownershipstructure and its system of supply and production. It centres on an in-depth analysis of the organization of Samsung Electronics’ supply chain, assessing the electronics giant’s specific relationship to the companies that compose each layer of this complex system. It focuses on the domestic South Korean supply chain, but makes references to overseas production sites and suppliers. Through this analysis, the report demonstrates Samsung Electronics’ almost absolute dominance of the South Korean electronics industry and the meaning of this dominance for less influential companies and their workers. The paper also discusses the no union policy of Samsung Electronics and its parent company, Samsung Group and the way this policy combines with the organization of the supply chain to enable production flexibility and maximum profits for Samsung, while keeping downward pressure on wages at most points in the supply chain. Finally, the report assesses various current efforts to organize Samsung workers, and argues that the time is now ripe to carry out a full-blown campaign for their health and labour rights.

For the full paper, please download the attachment below

 

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An Overview of the Growth of Samsung Group Malaysia

 

Nganyin Lai

Abstract

The electronics and electrical (E&E) industry in Malaysia has grown to become a prime industry, accounting for 6 percent of the country’s gross national income and 41 per cent of its total exports. Key players in the electronics industry are multinational corporations (MNCs) which exercise great influence over the organization of production, labour practices, and development trends of the industry both locally and globally. Labour laws and regulations remain biased in favour of employers. Additionally, MNCs operating in the country have kept labour costs low by employing greater percentage migrant workers who are paid much less than Malaysian nationals. While the industry registers hundreds of billions of ringgit in terms of value of output, the workers are still being denied benefits in spite of the huge profits these companies have been making year after year. This report attempts to provide insights into these aspects of the E&E industry by taking the Samsung Group in Malaysia as a case study. It discusses the expansion of Samsung Malaysia, investigates the organising of production at one of its subsidiaries, and provides a glimpse into the working conditions of the workers. 

For the full paper, please download the attachment below

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“Les autoritats fan els ulls grossos”

“Les autoritats fan els ulls grossos” | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it
queixes “Cada cop hi haurà més treballadors que organitzaran protestes per defensar els seus drets elementals” freqüència “És típic trobar jornades de treball de durada superior a la permesa, de fins a dotze hores diàries”...
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Factory deaths highlight flaws in global supply chain

 

As Bangladesh mourns the death of more than 100 workers killed in a factory fire over the weekend, attention is turning to the labels found among the charred debris and what role they could have played in preventing the worst industrial disaster in the country's history.

The factory, owned by Tazreen Fashions, produced clothing for U.S. supermarket giant Wal-Mart, European clothing retailer C&A and produced garments for several other companies, including Hong Kong sourcing firm Li & Fung.

It is just one of about 4,500 apparel factories in Bangladesh that employ an estimated 3.4 million workers, usually young women who work long hours dyeing, cutting and stitching for a minimum wage of approximately $43 a month.

Campaigners say that workers' safety is being put at risk by the complex and fragmented nature of global supply chains used by many of the world's top clothing brands, which largely rely on cheap labor to turn a profit.

In some cases, companies are unsure which factories are producing the clothing that ends up in their stores, making it impossible for a brand to know whether safety standards are being met.

And workers' rights groups say factory bosses in places like Bangladeshoften have little incentive to improve working conditions when contracts are short and orders not always renewed.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/27/business/asia-factory-deaths/

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Indonesia factory workers protest

Indonesia factory workers protest | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it

Tens of thousands of Indonesian factory workers have gone on a one-day strike to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

They want revisions to a law that allows companies to hire temporary workers for a year without benefits.

More than two million factory workers joined the strike in 24 cities, labour union leaders say.

But an official from an association of employers said that the actual number was lower.

The strikers also want an increase in the minimum wage.

Yoris Raweyai, head of the Confederation of the Indonesian Workers' Union, said they also oppose a proposal for workers to pay 2% of their wages toward health insurance.

"Today's strike is a warning to the government to act quickly and firmly to respond to what workers want," union member Nining Elitos told Agence-France Presse news agency.

"Don't blame us if workers lose patience and disrupt airports and toll roads."

More than 700 companies were affected by the protests, police spokesman Col Agus Rianto told the Associated Press news agency.

In January a court ruled that hiring contract workers without benefits was unconstitutional. A government spokesman said on Wednesday that the labour law was still being revised.

Although the minimum wage in Indonesia varies depending on the province and sector, the average is still significantly lower than China's - a comparison many businessmen in Indonesia often make.

The standard minimum wage in Jakarta is about $170 (£105) a month.

Employer associations have warned that foreign investors will stay away from Indonesia or relocate their businesses because of the recent increase in industrial action in South East Asia's largest economy, says the BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta.

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[S Korea] Hyundai Motor workers vote for first strike in four years

[S Korea] Hyundai Motor workers vote for first strike in four years | AMRC - Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong | Scoop.it

Workers at South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co voted to stage their first strike in four years after annual wage talks collapsed over working conditions, a union spokesman said on Wednesday.

The union plans to stage an eight-hour strike on Friday at the carmaker and will decide on any future action on Monday, the spokesman said.

The union at affiliate Kia Motors also voted to strike and planned to join their Hyundai colleagues on Friday. Workers at General Motors' South Korean factories had already launched a partial strike on Tuesday.

The most contentious issue at stake is a union demand to scrap overnight work, which has raised concerns among automakers about potential production losses.

Any strike action at Hyundai Motor would be a return to the labor conflicts of past years. The company has managed to avoid industrial action for the past three years, but before that had suffered stoppages every year for about two decades except for 1994.

In 2008 alone, a 12-day strike resulted in lost production of 44,645 vehicles worth 690.5 billion Korean won ($603.7 million).

The country's once-militant labor unions have been more accommodating recently and the incumbent conservative government has been tough on striking workers.

But militant labor leader Moon Yong-moon took over from his moderate predecessor at Hyundai last year and organized labor has been agitating for concessions ahead of the December presidential elections.

Shares in Hyundai Motor closed down 1.1 percent on Wednesday prior to the vote results and have lost 16 percent of their value since hitting a record closing high on April 30.

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SHARPS in Korea is reporting yet another death of a young Samsung worker

SHARPS in Korea is reporting yet another death of a young Samsung worker and is asking for international solidarity support:


1. Please write a brief letter of support (see below for details)

2. Please help to circulate this message through your networks, web sites, social media, etc

 

  

Dear Friends and colleagues,

 

Sad to speak, but I cannot but inform you another sad and heart-breaking news of Samsung worker.


We lost another life of young Samsung worker at 7th May. This is the 55th Death from Samsung.

 

Lee Yunjeong, who had been born in 1980, worked in Samsung semiconductor Assembly & Test factory in Onyang for six years from 1997 to 2003, and got diagnosis malignant brain cancer at 2010. After two-year suffering from the brain surgery and chemotherapy, finally she passed away at 7 May 2012, in her age of 32, leaving the loving husband and two children.

 

Lee Yunjeong had applied for Workers’ Compensation to the Governments, which is one of Korean social insurances, but the Governments refused to compensate her because she could not prove which toxic chemicals she had been exposed to.

Lee raised lawsuit against the Governments’ decision at 2011, but could not survive long enough to see the result of lawsuit. Samsung has involved the lawsuit by hiring lawyers to support the Governments and to prevent the workers and the families from getting compensation.

 

Her funeral will be held at the morning of 10th May(time in Korea). You can see some photos of her from the attached file.

 

It is very sad news, just breaking our heart to see another young death of worker from the work she had devoted. However, no time to cry. Lee and her husband have been fighting to achieve the just right of them against the company and the government. We know the best way to make her death meaningful, is to show our will to continue her struggle..

 

Korean Government and Samsung should apologize in front of the death of Lee, and should guarantee the solemn funeral ceremony can be finished in peace at May 10th. In addition, Samsung should stop undermining the just right of workers to be compensated, and respect the labor rights. Korean Government should compensate to all the victims from electronic industry including Samsung... before it will be too late.

 

We need solidarity responses of you urgently; protest messages against Samsung and/or the Korean Government, solidarity message for the family and/or SHARPS will be welcome a lot, especially before the funeral ends(early morning of 10th May in Korean time). Also it will be great to raise awareness of the public or global media, by circulating this news through your webpage or newsletter, or listserver.

Please feel free if you have any question or suggestion on this.

 

In solidarity,

 

Jeong-ok Kong

SHARPS(Supporters for Health and Right of People in Semiconductor Industry)

anotherkong@gmail.com

+82-10-9140-6249

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