Three Guangdong factory workers and labour rights activists staged a demonstration outside the Tommy Hilfiger flagship store in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong on Wednesday (09/30) asking the American clothes brand to pay their overdue severance after one of its contractors in Guangdong closed down. The workers said their Hong Kong bosses disappeared after the sudden closure of Huizhou SKS Manufacturing Company Limited in March this year. The trio, on behalf of about 100 workers, demanded Tommy Hilfiger, which was 80 percent of the factory’s businesses, to pay their severance, according to the labour rights NGO Globalisation Monitor. Globalisation Monitor and two other labour rights NGOs, Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour and Asian TNC Monitoring Network, are helping the workers.
A French scholar who took an MBA course about 20 years ago in Japan with Lee Jae-yong (also known as "Jay)", vice chairman and the heir apparent of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., urged Mr. Lee to negotiate with victims of the company's occupational disease cluster. In an open letter posted on Facebook Sept. 14, Paul Jobin, associate professor…
This training manual was produced by China Labor Support Network (CLSN) for their training workshop on the Reproductive Health of Women workers in the garments and electronics manufacturing industries, mainly because of the higher concentration of women employees in these industries.
To facilitate further probing into and the unearthing of more dimensions on women workers’
reproductive health problems, this workshop also shed light on the applications of epidemiology
in this issue, together with some examples.
The manual draws on the Chinese context and includes specific statistics and regulations relevant to this context.
We hope that friends working with women workers and advocating gender equity can adapt it to their own contexts and benefit from it.
The development of the labour dispute in Mizutani (Shenzhen) Toy Factory Co. Ltd., Japan Disney's supplier:
Mid 2014, the employer moved some machinery to its branch in the Philippines. Workers put out a notice, asking the enterprise to explain such a move but it was ignored.
Since October 2014, workers have been not required to work overtimes. Their monthly wages was 1,808 yuan and after deducting social insurance premiums, the income became very low. The less senior workers left the factory and the factory did not recruit new workers to replace them.
In the afternoon of 16 January 2015, workers launched a strike. At that time, their boss was not in China. Mr Mizutani negotiated with workers between 20 Jan and 22 Jan. He went missing again on 22 Jan.
On 24 January, the enterprise put out a notice, calling for a negotiation between workers and a consultancy, which represented the enterprise, on 26 Jan.
On 26 January, the negotiation failed and the enterprise posted a notice, demanding the workers to resume working before 30 Jan or they would be dismissed “for absenteeism” without compensation.
On 30 January, a new round of negotiation reached mutual agreement.
On 31 January, workers resumed working
On 1 February, the workers' representatives received a notice by fax, informing them that the compensation of each year’s services would be 1,000 yuan. The representatives did not believe that such a reply was coming from their boss. Some stated their objections and demanded the yearly compensation to be 1,808 yuan (the legal minimum wages). They signed and faxed their feedback to mr Mizutani.
On 2 February, other workers read the notice in the factory and were outraged. They protested in the streets outside the factory complex. Within minutes, police forced workers to return to the factory and detained 15 people on spot. Later the police detained another 6 people in the factory, including women workers who were injured in the clashes. A total of 21 workers were detained. Workers were forced by the police to delete all the photos they had taken.
At 2.30pm, the Japanese employer announced through an internet meeting, that he could only compensate workers their severance compensation on the basis of 300 yuan per year of services. He later offered 500 yuan compensation per year of services but demanded workers to resign and a clear-cut termination of their labour relations.
15 workers were released that evening, but the 6 workers who had been detained in the factory were held in custody.
On 3 February, one worker was released in the morning while the other 5 were administratively detained for 5 days. The labour bureau threatened workers that if they would not return to work the next day, the 5 workers would be detained for even longer. Workers could not stop the shipment that afternoon and to speed up the release of the 5 workers, they agreed to resume working the next day.
In April, workers wrote a joint-petition to complain about forced dismissal. The Walt Disney sent a facilitator to come up with an agreement with the enterprise.
At 5pm, 18 June, the enterprise announced its closure, quoting business difficulties. It demanded workers to sign an agreement to terminate their labour relations by 12 noon the next day. The agreement claimed it was achieved on the basis of “unanimity through consultation”. Workers were also asked to move out from their dormitory before 23 June.
On 19 June, workers' protest was in vain. All workers signed the agreement to terminate their labour relations. They identified some problems after receiving the severance payment. Workers' representatives collected and compiled the workers' demands and labour organization called for Disney's intervention.
On 17 July, a Hong Kong NGO, Disney and Mizutani held a meeting.
On 5 August, Disney replied that it had found workers' demands groundless after its investigation.
7 August, Mizutani workers wrote to Disney, demanding it to compensate them on behalf of Mizutani, as follows:
1. Mizutani unilaterally terminated workers’ labour contracts. Legally speaking, it should pay a double-severance compensation and Disney should pay for the missing part of the compensation;
2. Mizutani closed the factory down without giving an one-month written notice prior closure, thus, it should compensate its workers one month’s wages;
3. Compensation should be calculated by wages payable (currently, the one month’s wages compensation is calculated by the average wages payable of the past 12 months, between June 2014 and May 2015), instead of the actual wages.
4. The missing premiums of workers’ social security insurance since their dates of commencement.
5. The missing contribution of workers’ housing provident fund since their dates of commencement.
Millions responded to a strike called by seven trade union centers in India. According to one union leader, "this is reflection of disenchantment of the working class. The government should learn its lessons from the strike. We are ready to discuss and reach a consensus. If the government does not take its lessons, the movement will be intensified.
150 million people participated in the strike today!
All India General Strike is a great success all over the country. Right wing groups finally opted out and did not join the strike. But more than 150 million people participated in the strike!
There are direct and radical actions at many places including train blockades in West Bengal. In industrial areas of Gurgaon, all workers in all plants of Suzuki took part in the strike, along with many other factories in the area. We will keep you updated
- Updated by Surendra Pratap of Centre for Workers Education, India - Photo by Surendra and Pranesh Sarkar
The working people of the country, from almost all the sectors, from all the states, have very well completed their preparation for the 24 hour strike on 2nd September. This strike is the 16th countrywide General strike after 1991, against the neoliberal offensive of the ruling classes and the fourth strike after all the 11 central TUs and also the National Federations came on a joint platform. All informations from various corners of the country indicate that most enthusiastic preparations have been there to make the strike a complete success.
Central Trade Unions All the Central Trade Unions have convened their national level meetings and chalked out programmes for independent and joint campaigns. All the Central Trade Unions have also, according to media reports, held their own organizational meetings at state level also. Those initiatives have resulted in successful holdings of the state level and sectoral conventions of all the Trade Unions and Federations.
State Conventions Starting from West Bengal, all the states have organized joint Conventions and adopted resolutions calling upon the unions and federations in the state to join the countrywide strike. National leaders of CTUs have attended these conventions, raising enthusiasm among the delegates participating.
An important development in these conventions are the participation of state level organizations, mostly guided by the regional political parties. These organizations include the Trade Union wings or guided organizations of Shiv Sena, Telengana Rajya Samithi, Telugudesam, MDMK, DMDK and VCK in Tamilnadu, JMM in Jharkhand. In Kerala all the regional trade unions including those attached to ruling parties in the state have been participating in the countrywide strikes conducted after 2009. There are also organizations at state level, not attached to any political parties, but led by individuals or functioning as independent organizations like Working Peoples Council in Tamilnadu, which are also participating in the strike.
Public Sector Unions The Convention of Public Sector Employees unions in Bengaluru on 25th July witnessed participation of unions form all over the country. Unions affiliated to all the major central trade unions and also the Joint Action Front of PSU unions Bengaluru and PSU Trade Union Co-ordination Committee, Hyderabad participated. 287 delegates from 28 major PSUs attended this Convention, which adopted a declaration criticizing the Government of India’s policies of Privatisation and denigration of PSUs. Adopting the 12 point charter of demands and also on issues of PSU Public Sector Workers the convention vowed to make the strike a total success.
CITU affiliated unions along with some of the fraternal unions in PSUs, had held a meeting in Hyderabad on 22nd June. 157 delegates from more than 50 units had attended this meeting, which was called by All India Co-ordination Committee of Public Sector Trade Unions.
State level workshops or conventions were also held in various centers where considerable number of PSUs are operating.
Sectoral Convention Coal workers, under the leadership of all the major federations held a national convention in Nagpur, on 11th July, resolving to make the strike a complete success. Local and regional conventions were held in different states.
Port and Dock The Co-ordination Committee of five national federations of Port and Dock Workers met at Paradeep on 21st June to plan out campaigns among the port and dock workers. Meeting again at Chennai on 8th and 9th August to review the preparations the committee decided to direct all the affiliated unions to issue strike notices to the management. Detailed programme of campaigning was worked out.
Petroleum Workers National Federations of Petroleum Sector Workers held a national Convention on 18th August, in Mumbai, where Trade Unions representing all major Oil and Gas undertakings participated. Leaders of CITU, AITUC and INTUC led federations participated along with worker representatives from different centers.
Telecom Workers BSNL employees who went on a two-day strike with a demand of Save BSNL, are fully prepared for the strike on 2nd September. All the Unions of employees have jointly served strike notice and campaigns have been well organized.
Road Transport Workers Road Transport Workers will be participating in the strike enmasse. After the most successful countrywide strike of Road Transport Workers on 30th April, when workers from State Government undertakings, private and also of self employed sections participated, the enthusiasm among the Road Transport Workers have increased manifold.
A national convention on 4th August in Mavalankar Hall in New Delhi witnessed participation form all over the country including Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. All Central TUs and independent federations form various states participated in the Convention which decided to organize successful strike of the Road Transport Workers on 2nd September.
Electricity Workers The National Co-ordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE) have been on country wide campaigns against the new electricity Bill, which will in effect be a death knell to the demands of Electricity as a human right. Affordable and quality energy to the domestic consumers will come to an end if the new Bill is passed. NCCOEEE had decided to go on a countrywide strike it the new Bill is introduced in Parliament. Though it was listed to be introduced, it could not be introduced in the Monsoon Session. Now, the unions have decided to concentrate on the 2nd September strike.
Central and State Government Employees Central Government employees under the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers, is on a countrywide campaign to make he General strike a powerful Day of protest by mobilizing all sections of employees –Postal, Income-tax, Audit and Accounts and various departments.
As far as the State Government Employees are concerned All India State Government Employees Federation leaders are on tour to mobilize employees for the strike after a formal decision to go for strike was taken on 11th July. State and local level Conventions have been organized in various states.
Defence Employees Civilian employees of the Defence department are in full preparation for the strike. All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF) and the INTUC and BMS led federations have jointly appealed to the workers to go on strike. Strike Ballot was taken by the 3 federations, independently form 4th to 6th.
Financial Sector Major Unions in Banking and Insurance Sector are, as usual, actively preparing for the strike, which will be a total success on 2nd September. Reserve Bank and NABARD will also be on strike.
Medical Representatives As has been the tradition, in all the previous struggles, medical representatives under the banner of FMRAI are well prepared in every state to go on strike this time also.
Scheme Workers In the Anganwadi Sector, all the federations have jointly decided to participate in the strike. Asha workers. Mid-Day Meal workers, NCLP workers etc. are also in the campaign to make the strike a powerful protest against the Government’s attitude towards the Scheme Workers.
The reports reaching from different parts of the country show that enthusiastic campaigns are going on in all the Industrial Centres in the country. Organised Sector workers, both in Public Sector and Private Sector, along with the huge Sections of unorganized sector workers, daily wage earners and all Sections of toilers are preparing for the strike.
House to house campaigns, Panchayat level Conventions, torch light processions are being held in different parts of the country with thousands of work spot level meetings with massive participation of men and women. In many centres, General strike will turn into a total hartal.
Country is on the move On 15th August, we saw, country wide celebrations of the Independence Day. India has entered the 69th year of Independence. The lofty goals at the time of the freedom struggle and the dreams of thousands of our Martyrs and millions who languished in the jails facing torture and hardships still remain a very distant even to-day.
Our Kisans and Agricultural Workers are on the path of suicides, not able to withstand the blood sucking policies of the ruling class. Various sections of Kisans and Agricultural workers are already on struggle. The distress the Indian villages are facing are the result of the inhuman and exploitative policies being pursued by the rulers. It is for the working class of the country to be in the forefront of struggles against these policies and give confidence to all other sections of toiling masses in their struggles. The solidarity of all sections of toilers have to be strengthened.
The unity of the Trade Unions on the basis of an agreed charter and the struggles being conducted have to be developed in to a massive struggle against the anti-people, neo-liberal policies. The countrywide General strike on 2nd September, should mark the beginning of a new phase of struggle. This one day strike will turn into a massive action to warn the ruling class against their policies. We should force a change in the policy trajectory of the country and working people should unitedly move towards that.
For social protection to be truly rights-based, the manner by which it is financed should also be rights-based. A rights-based financing for rights-based social protection would mean that financing should come primarily from the government funds to counter IFIs’ involvement in social protection and the financialisation of social protection funds. This would entail realignment of public funds from defence spending and debt servicing to social protection programmes as well as exit from loan-induced social protection models. Overall, a rights-based social protection prioritises the needs of the marginalised workers over the capitalist interests. In this regard, the states should ensure that its economic development agenda is people-centred and not biased towards the interests of big capitalists that disregard people’s rights, lives, and livelihood.
We condemn the spate of harassment being done by the military on trade unionists and activists. We find this renewed harassment, red baiting and threatening of trade unions based in Metro Manila very alarming
Nearly 200 Cambodian garment workers have been hospitalised after a new spate of mass fainting at factories this week, officials said Wednesday, renewing concerns about conditions in the kingdom's crucial textile industry.
This meeting report discussed the prospect of labour organising in Asia. The objectives of the meeting are (1) to provide a space for an exchange of knowledge and experiences between labour scholars and activists in the Asia on the issues of capital mobility, global production networks, and the current status of transnational corporations and their role in the region; (2) to identify the impact of the capital mobility and the global production networks on the marginalisation of the workers in the region; (3) to define areas for the labour movement in challenging the capital mobility and the global production networks, and to draw the priorities and strategies of labour organising in the region.
2nd Year of Rana Plaza Tragedy: Status of Rana Plaza Victims: Compensation and Rehabilitation
“I do not understand why compensation amount differs from one victim to another and why was I paid less compensation than someone else who was not injured as seriously as I am. I know another worker who was not present on that tragic day but has received money” said Mr. Shafiqul Islam, Member of the Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions Accidents Victims Rights Network while he showed his right hand which was permanently disabled during the fire in addition to describing other severe injuries on his body.
A daylong nationwide strike impacted normal life on Wednesday in various parts of India with coal production, banking operations and transport services being hit the most, while violent clashes erupted in West Bengal resulting in arrest of more than 200 people.
Union leaders claimed more than 150 million organised sector workers went on strike, the call for which was given by 10 central trade unions against changes in labour laws and PSU privatisation along with their other demands. The Bharatiya Janata Party-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and NFITU, however, stayed away from the strike.
The impact was most visible in West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry and Odisha, while partial impact was seen in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Normal life was affected in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan as well, but there was not much impact in the country’s financial capital Mumbai except for the banking operations.
Banking services were among the worst hit as 23 public sector banks, 12 private sector banks, 52 regional rural banks and ore than 13,000 cooperative banks joined the stir. However, staff at the State Band of India, Indian Overseas Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank choose to stay away from the strike.
The All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary, C.H. Venkatachalam, said nearly 500,000 bank employees and officers joined the strike.
The state-run Coal India saw nearly half of its 1.7 million tonne daily production hit by the strike, as a majority of around 400,000 coal workers across the country joined the strike. Union leaders, however, said the impact could be 90 per cent at Coal India, which accounts for 80 per cent of the country’s total coal production.
Release of Investigative Report on Labour Rights in Hong Kong Enterprises in China 2014-2015
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:
A vast number of Hong Kong enterprises have set up factories or established businesses in China. Many of them are suppliers for international brands such as Marks & Spencers, Disney, UNIQLO, etc. Yet, the labour conditions in these enterprises have long been neglected, without an efficient monitoring mechanism.
HKCTU continued to run its “Monitoring Database of Labour Rights in Hong Kong Enterprises” since 2013. The key findings of the Investigative Report as as below:
Nearly 70%, a significant growth of collective labour disputes: Between May 2014 and April 2015, the HKCTU collected 25 cases of documented collective labour actions in Hong Kong enterprises in China. Nearly 90% covered strikes and the rest were large-scale protests. Compared with the previous years, there is a nearly 70% growth of documented collective labour actions. This is related to the Hong Kong management’s refusal to engage in collective bargaining and its unprofessional manner in handling labour conflicts. Workers have no choice but to strike to force employers to negotiate.
Missing social security premiums is the cause of over 55% of the collective labour disputes: Compared with last year (<15%), disputes caused by missing payment of social security have increased significantly. Missing or under-payment of severance pay at relocations, and missing wages are the two other reasons for collective labour actions, accounting for 44% and 40% respectively.
Affecting an estimated 150,000 workers: It is estimated that these 25 cases of collective labour action, affected about 150,000 workers. Since 28 May 2010, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China has banned Chinese media from reporting or discussing strikes. Therefore, it is believed that the actual number of strikes is a lot higher than those documented.
Nearly 85% of labour disputes triggered by violations of Labour Contract Law: As shown in these cases, the Hong Kong enterprises often violate multiple labour laws simultaneously. For example, an enterprise might refuse to pay both severance compensation and social security premiums at the same time. The Chinese authorities tend to side with the employers. They avoid responsibility by claiming that workers’ missing pension insurance is outside their administrative jurisdiction. This opens the door for the Hong Kong employers to avoid paying pension insurance for workers indefinitely; For those areas which are not clearly stipulated in the Labour Contract Law, the court gives judgement guidelines to judges, that open another door for the Hong Kong employers to avoid severance compensation.
(India) About 150 million workers are on a nationwide strike and essential services like banking and public transport have been hit in many places. There is major impact in West Bengal and cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram.
Here are the latest developments:
Rival parties clashed in many places, including capital Kolkata, in West Bengal, where unions enjoy significant clout. In Kolkata, women activists from the Left were seen being dragged by the police. Banks, shops, and many schools are closed and all public transport is off roads.
The bandh has also impacted Southern states. Around 3,500 government-run buses are not running in Hyderabad and public transport has also been hit in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. Schools and colleges are closed in Bengaluru.
Ten major trade unions have called 'Bharat bandh' over the government's pro-business initiatives, after talks with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley broke down.
The unions are demanding that the government dump plans to sell off stake in state-run companies to boost the public purse and to shut down unproductive factories.
They are also opposed to the government's proposed labour reforms expected to diminish the influence of trade unions and make the labour market more flexible.
Many banks have shut their doors for the day all over the country.
Long lines of commuters and school children were seen waiting at bus stops in many cities across the country, including national capital Delhi, while passengers were stranded at airports as taxis and rickshaws stayed off the streets.
Unions like Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), which is backed by the ruling BJP, and the National Front of Trade Unions are not participating in the strike.
PM Modi won a landslide election victory last May, promising a string of business-friendly reforms to attract foreign investment and revive the economy. But the opposition has blocked flagship tax and land reforms, aggravating investor concerns, while the unions are increasingly angry over the reforms.
India's economy grew by a slower than expected seven per cent in the first quarter of the financial year and experts say, reforms are needed to create jobs for millions of young people. Previous strikes have shut down cities and cost the Indian economy millions of dollars in lost production.
As the entire nation braces to bear the brunt of the nationwide 'Bharat Bandh', 2nd September 2015 may witness what the trade unions have called 'the biggest strike in the country ever'.
Turning a deaf year to the central government's appeal to call off the strike, ten central trade unions have decided to go ahead with 'Bharat Bandh' on September 2, protesting against the reforms in labour laws proposed by the government, which they have described as anti-worker economic policy.
The central trade union refused to call off the strike after recent meetings with central ministers did not end satisfactorily. A 12-point charter of demands has been put forth by the trade union leaders.
Normal life may be hit badly with strike disrupting essential services like banking and public transport, and also supply of power, gas and oil.
The strike by 11 trade unions was originally planned for July 11 after talks between Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreyat, however it was postponed for September 2.
In a last moment and rare act, the BJP-backed Bhartiya Mazdoor and National Front of Trade Union withdrew out of nationwide strike.
However, the remaining 10 union trade, that claim a combined membership of 15 crore workers from both public and private sector, including bank and insurance companies have decided to go with nationwide strike after their proposal was failed by Central ministry.
Ten central trade union participating in the nationwide strike are CITU, INTUC, AITUC, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and LPF.
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, however, downplayed the impact that would be caused by the strike.
"I don't think essential services will be affected by the strike. I feel that the impact will not be much. I appeal them to call off strike in the interest of workers and nation," Dattatreya told reporters.
General Motors Co (GM.N) employees in South Korea voted in favor of a wage deal on Thursday, averting a strike for a second consecutive year in a country whose auto sector is renowned for industrial action.
A union spokesman told Reuters that 55 percent of workers approved a tentative deal reached on Monday, under which GM Korea would raise the basic monthly wage by 83,000 won ($71) and pay each worker 10.5 million won in bonuses and incentives.
The deal includes a plan to make next-generation Chevrolet Malibu sedans on a second production line at GM's Bupyeong plant west of the capital Seoul, likely ending speculation of production at the plant being scaled back.
The union earlier this month said members refused to work overtime and staged a partial strike over pay, in action that did not affect production volume.
Asian Labour Reviewis prepared to provide a forum for a new generation of labour researchers who are willing to work with ground movements and be part of it. We are pleased to offer an outlet to make a stronger network of new generation academics and activists working on Asian labour.
The editors ofAsian Labour Reviewwelcome submissions of paper from those who work for different research institutions, universities, development agencies, NGOs and think-thanks, and trade unions, but also from individual researchers in national and international labour and solidarity movements, international campaigning and private-led development initiatives on labour standards. For the first issue, papers must be received by15 August 2015. Papers should be emailed to ALR editors at email@example.com
The network has membership from similar networks in Europe and US and the Asian network members join the meetings of the European and US counterparts. It has also built systematically into a strong solidarity networks. In the recent Asian network meeting in Bangkok, 2013, ANROEV members proposed the formation of a global grassroots network that would bring tougher the global grassroots movement and make their voice even stronger. In principle, the proposal has agreed both by the European and the US networks, however, to make it truly global it also needs members from Africa and Latin America which would be its next task. At the policy level, there have been many promises made to improve health and safety, starting with a Beijing declaration of “Occupational Safety for all” in 1994 by the World Health Organization. International Labor Organization in 2008, also makes similar promises in a nicely worded ‘Seoul Declaration’ that “calls for a preventative safety and health culture, which gives the right to a safe and healthy environment and which is respected at all national levels”. However at ground level it seems nothing has changed, despite these wonderful promises.
Two decades after the deadly fires of Kader and Zhili, we have seen even worse fires in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Though these international UN bodies seem to have membership from the sates, yet there is the exclusion of the main beneficiaries in this decision-making process- the victims and the workers who are getting exposed. The complete failure of health and safety at all levels is because of failure of grassroots democracy; the where absence of unions, the working class has almost no representation at any level of the decision-making process. Moreover, the impacted population and the victims, who are marginalized in this process, do not have any democratic space to express themselves. In this regard, the victims organizing and the Asian network play an important role in bringing the voices of the impacted workers to the surface. They have realized the only themselves can change their situation, and all they need is some space, where they can exert and express themselves. The network has helped them in this process by providing them some platform and they are leading what has a potential to become a global solidarity network.
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