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Samsung’s dark story went even deeper than a case of profit maximization at all costs – it proved to be a spectacular example of the unholy alliance between business and government that has become prevalent in capitalist economies around the world.
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This short documentary reveals the hazards of the electronics industry in China profiling workers poisoned by chemicals and their struggle for compensation. Thousands of young people in China enter export factories to make the West's favorite electronic gadgets, only to find they have contracted occupational diseases or worse, leukemia, by the age of 25.
The 1989 Labor Code amendments, also known as Herrera Law, has made Filipino workers more vulnerable to exploitation and suppression for 25 years according to a labor research group.
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) said Herrera Law created the legal grounds for contractual work arrangements that cheapened workers’ wages and for the Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) which is Labor Department’s signal fire for police-military crackdown of workers’ strikes.
“Bekasi Bergerak” (Bekasi Workers Fight Back)
This film documented workers’ struggles in Bekasi Industrial Zones, West Java, Indonesia, between 2011 and 2013. It describes the forms of workers’ resistance including marches, toll road blockade, shutting down the industrial zones, and factory raid. The documentary presents the views and voices from the ground, explains why workers and union leaders resisted against the capital.
Language: Indonesian with English subtitle
To activate the subtitle, please select the language button on the bottom
After the Court of Appeal denied bail to 21 jailed protesters on Tuesday, 16 labor unions and associations announced Wednesday that they will retaliate by calling a nationwide labor strike in the middle of March.
The unions, which mainly represent workers in the garment industry, said they will also call on their members to cease working overtime between February 24 and 28 to demonstrate to factory owners and the government the importance of taking their demands seriously.
“From [February] 18 to 23, our unions will gather in front of factories to disseminate information about our seven demands,” said Yaing Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions.
Joining international labor groups’ call for a Global Day of Action, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the Cambodian Embassy in Makati City this morning to call for the immediate and unconditional release of 23 workers currently imprisoned by the Cambodian government.
KMU said the imprisonment of the 23 workers, which stems from a national strike staged by Cambodian workers from December to January to call for increasing the minimum wage from $75 to P160, is most unjust and goes hand-in-hand with the killing of at least four workers by the Cambodian military in a crackdown last January.
Garment Workers Flag Rally held in DhakaAs part of the observance of the International Day of Action in Solidarity with Garment Workers in Cambodia10th February, the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), todaySundayFebruary 10, 2014 organized a Garment workers’ flag rally in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka city at 12:30 noon. The rally was followed by a procession that paraded different streets of the city.Presided over by NGWF President Amirul Haque Haque Amin, The rally was addressed by the Federation’s central leaders Ms Nurun Nahar, Md Faruk Khan, Md Kabir Hossain, Ms Sweety Akter and Md Rafique.The speakers said, “Garment workers of different countries of the world have become subject of repressions, including killing & imprisonment. Garment workers of Cambodia started struggles to increase their minimum wage to US$ 160 per month. The Cambodian authorities unleashed repression to suppress the struggles as part of which 4 garment workers were killed in last month by Cambodian police, 39 workers were seriously injured and 23 were arrested. The arrested 23 garment workers’ organizers are still languishing in prison without trial. Today, International Workers’ Solidarity Day is being observed throughout the world in support of the Cambodian garment workers under the joint initiative of ITUC, IndustriAll & UNI Global.”The speakers demanded of the Cambodian government to unconditionally release the 23 detained workers immediately, implement just demand of the Cambodian garment workers & increase wage as per their demand.After the rally, a Garment workers’ flag procession paraded different streets of the city, including High Court, Topkhana Road & Purana Paltan Crossing and concluded in front of the NGWF central office.
Royal Consulate General of Cambodia
Unit 616, 6F, Star House,
No 3 Salisbury Road,
Tsim Sha Tsui Kowloon,
Hong Kong, P.R.China
Tel: (852) 2546 0718
Fax: (852) 2803 0570
Mr. CHHEANG THYRA
Respect Workers Rights in Cambodia
On behalf of Hong Kong Social Organisations we write to condemn the violence perpetrated by members of the police and armed forces against striking garment workers.
In December 2013, the government announced a new minimum wage increase, one that fell far below a living wage. The original offer of $95 (now $100) per month is truly insufficient to satisfy the basic needs of any Cambodian worker. It is also incompatible with Article 104 of the Cambodian Labour Code, which guarantees the payment of a wage that “must ensure every worker of a decent standard of living compatible with human dignity”.
Workers decided to withhold their labour on 24 December, as is their fundamental right under international law and the Cambodian Labour Code, to campaign for a higher minimum wage. Instead of negotiating with workers, the government decided to resort to violence and intimidation. Heavily armed police and soldiers have repeatedly mobilized in early January to quash the protests, leading to violent and bloody clashes. Four workers were killed and 38 injured. 23 workers were arrested. Legal summonses have been issued for union leaders.
The Hong Kong Social Organisations calls on the government to immediately release all arrested workers, to ensure the provision of medical treatment for the injured and to return to the bargaining table, with the representatives of workers and employers, to reach an agreement on a just minimum wage for the textile and garment industry. This requires the following actions:
Release the 21 workers (list attached)Undertake a prompt and thorough investigation into violence used against protesters;Respect the right to freedom of association, in line with ILO Convention 87 which Cambodia has ratified;Introduce of a legal framework consistent with Convention 87 and with the collective bargaining Convention 98; and,Institute a sound and inclusive process for determining the living wage USD160 per month as demanded by workers and unions.
As a member of the ILO and having ratified ILO Convention 87 in 1999, the government must also respect the right of unions and workers to exercise their right to freedom of association, including the right to strike, without threat or intimidation.
There is no question that the conduct of the authorities constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights, including freedom of association. We await your immediate action to restore industrial and social peace based on respect for fundamental human rights.
Hong Kong, 10 February 2014
Asia Monitor Resource Centre
ITUC/GUF Hong Kong Liaison Office
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Union
Labour Action China
Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour
Interfaith Cooperation Forum
Asian Migrant Coordinating Body
Network of Indonesian Migrant Workers
Filipino Migrant Workers' Union
The United Filipinos In Hong Kong
Indonesian Migrant Workers Union
Last week, on a busy sidewalk in Times Square, a hunched figure in a surgical mask labored at a hand-operated sewing machine. This anonymous worker was Khmer-American artist Kat Eng.According to her website, she sat in front of the flagship location of clothing giant H&M sewing for eight hours, to make a point about conditions for garment workers in Cambodia.
Eng was stitching together two and two-thirds dollar bills. That is the amount of money that a Cambodian garment worker makes in a day. The sum gives the project its name, “</3” or “Less Than Three.” She went back and forth over the papers using black and green thread, and affixed an H&M tag.
On Friday, around 3 million workers in 20 provinces and 150 regencies continued their nationwide strike, which has paralyzed activities in around 40 industrial areas in Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan. Their demands include a 50 percent hike in their minimum wages, which should be implemented simultaneously in January 2014, and an end to job outsourcing and the contractual system. They also want the government and House of Representatives to immediately pass the bill on housemaids into law and revise the newly enacted law on mass organizations, which they claim has been devised to silence labor unions. The Jakarta administration office was surrounded by thousands of protesting workers on Friday when the administration announced a 11 percent increase in the province’s minimum wage from Rp 2.2 million to Rp 2.4 million.
AHRC TV Human Rights Asia Weekly Roundup Episode 20
In this week’s programme we covered following stories
01. International Women’s Day Special from Nepal, Bangladesh, and Hong Kong
02 .Fact finding report on Cambodia riots released
03. Baloch Long March on its 107th day
04. Two men tortured and shot in, Sumatra Indonesia
05. Hong Kong demonstration for press freedom
Link to video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3HciMPfG0Y
In September 2013, AMRC brought together representatives from 28 organisations and twelve countries. 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.
Download athe report: http://amrc.org.hk/node/1364
South Korean auto company, Ssangyong Motor fabricated its accounting books to justify the mass layoff of 3000 workers in 2009. The labor union protested the layoffs with a 77 day long sit-in strike, but its desperate outcry was brutally crushed by riot police. Due to economic hardships, post-traumatic stress, and severe depression, 24 workers and family members have died since, 13 committing suicide.
An appeal was immediately filed with the Supreme Court. In the meantime, however, the investigative judge will set a trial date, which could be weeks but perhaps months from now. Some of the jailed workers recently started a hunger strike to protest their detention.
“Trade unions around the world have sent a clear message to the government that these workers must be released. We are deeply disappointed that the government continues to detain these workers for their participation in the strikes and protests that took place in January this year. We remain particularly concerned for Vorn Pao, the president of IDEA, who remains in jail despite serious health concerns. We fully expect the government to release the workers and drop the charges,” explained Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC.
The ITUC undertook a high-level mission to Cambodia in January to call for the release of the jailed workers, for an independent investigation into the killing and wounding of workers in January, for all parties to respect freedom of association, and for the government to increase the minimum wage from the unsustainable $100 per month as soon as possible. The ITUC, together with IndustriALL and UNI, and with international and Cambodian NGOs, will continue to work to until these goals are reached.
“Free the 23" " Respect Labour Rights"As a part of the Global Day of Action to Free Cambodian Garment Workers, KCTU, together with FKTU and KTNC Watch staged a protest action in front of Cambodian Embassy in Seoul.More than 30 people from different KCTU affiliates including KMWU, KHMU, KGEU, KPTU, KTU held pickets and chanted together: " Free the 23!" "Respect Labour Rights" "Living Wage for Workers Now"Yoo Ki-soo, Secretary General of KCTU said "One month ago, we were here to ask the government's responsibility for the bloody repression against the workers' strike for higher wage. Trade unions, civil society, UN and ILO, even the global major fashion brands have demanded a through investigation on the killings and a fair and inclusive process for determining a new minimum wage. However, while the government is keeping silence, not the perpetrators of the killing but workers are still in jail. Korean workers who joined strikes are facing the same repression. Imprisonment, Damage compensation claim, dismissal... Today's action is more than giving solidarity. Workers in two countries are in the same situation. We want to struggle with Cambodian workers to solve the common problems together. We are one!"Mikyung Choe, Executive Director of Korean House for International Solidarity(KHIS) denounced the collusion between Korean Companies operating in Cambodia and the military forces who engaged in the bloody repression. After the action, 4 representatives of the groups met Mr.SAMEN SOKHA, counselor in charge of labour affairs to deliver our concerns and demand. The government representative repeatedly said "In democratic society, anyone who want to enjoy their right to strike or right to protest should respect laws. The 23 violated laws by blocking roads." "the opposition party, CNRP is behind the protest." "Our government should respect the international standard but we also should protect the property rights of those who do business in Cambodia." mentioning nothing about the death of the 4 workers.
- Release the 21 workers
- Undertake a prompt and thorough investigation into violence used against protesters;
- Respect the right to freedom of association, in line with ILO Convention 87 which Cambodia has ratified;
- Introduce of a legal framework consistent with Convention 87 and with the collective bargaining Convention 98; and,
- Institute a sound and inclusive process for determining the living wage USD160 per month as demanded by workers and unions.
According to a report by the Thai Nguyen People’s Committee to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the fight, which occurred at the Yen Binh Industrial Zone in Pho Yen at around 7 a.m. January 9, involved thousands of construction workers.
Construction of Samsung’s US$3.2-billion hi-tech complex, reportedly the South Korean electronics giant’s largest mobile phone factory in the world, started at the zone last March.
Cambodia's garment factory workers will return to holding strikes next week if the government fails to make a decision on their demands for a doubling of minimum wages and refuses to release 23 people arrested in a recent bloody labor crackdown, a union leader warned Tuesday.Ath Thon, the president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union, effectively set a Feb. 5 deadline to the government for a decision on the union's call for minimum wages to be raised to U.S. $160 a month.
Sign the petition to support Cambodian workers
Workers across Indonesia begin a two-day strike Thursday to demand higher salaries, the latest industrial action in Southeast Asia’s top economy as people push for a greater share of the profits from stellar growth.
Calls have been growing in recent months for a hike in the minimum wage as the cost of living skyrockets due to high inflation.
Unions estimate that almost three million workers will take part in the action, although the numbers have come in lower than such forecasts in previous nationwide strikes.