Asia Monitor Resource Centre supports Hong Kong civil society's struggle for genuine universal suffrage and we stand by their demands. We strongly condemn the use of excessive violence by the police on the peaceful protesters on September 28, 2014.
The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) has called for international support of the democracy movement in Hong Kong.
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About 10,000 workers at an Indonesian gold and copper mine owned by US firm Freeport-McMoRan will begin a month-long strike next week in protest at a series of fatal accidents, a union said Monday (Oct 27).
Indeed, the last time we spoke, we had to do it through a prison intercom system as Kim, along with other leaders of the KRWU, was being detained for organising a strike in opposition to rail privatisation. Despite complying with all ‘essential services’ requirements under Korean law, the authorities declared the action illegal even before it began.
HONG KONG—The city’s top official, chief executive Leung Chun-ying, issued an ultimatum today to the protesters who have taken over three neighborhoods in the city: Clear the roads and a stronghold in front of the government’s headquarters by early morning on Monday, Oct. 6, or he will “take all necessary actions to restore social order.”
We support Cambodian union calls for the following:
1. Pressure the brands to negotiate directly with Cambodian unions over wages; 2. Mandate an increased base wage of $177 per month at their supplier factories; 3. Reflect this increase in prices paid to the suppliers; 4. Make a long-term commitment to sourcing from supplier factories in Cambodia that agree to these conditions and respect labour rights.
Two C.CAWDU staff (Soth Seam and Koun Sokhom) have been arrested this morning (Wed) in front of Weaver Kam Chay Mea Factory in Prey Veng province at approximately 6:30am. The police have taken them to the district police office. The workers in this factory have been on strike for the past few days so the arrests may be related to that. We will inform you as we get more information on this.
Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said they had printed 3,000 shirts and 50,000 stickers emblazoned with their wage demand. They plan to print another 2,000 shirts and 50,000 stickers in the coming days.
“On the 17th, during the lunch break, our activists and workers will wear the shirts and stickers and they will speak about GMAC’s plan to increase their wages by $10 and about their own demands,” Mr. Athit said.
In a global day of action, three international unions are also planning to show their solidarity with the country’s garment workers through protests on September 17 at Cambodian embassies in Australia, Canada, the U.S. and around Europe.
More than 10,000 employees of a Taiwanese touch screen maker returned to work in Dongguan in Guangdong yesterday after striking over holiday benefits.
They walked off the job on Tuesday after their employer, a subsidiary of Wintek Corporation, a supplier to Apple, said cash bonuses would be cut for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
They returned to work after management explained the financial difficulties the company faced, an executive said. Wintek reported a loss of more than NT$10 billion (HK$2.58 billion) last year, and NT$3 billion in the first half of this year.
Most of the 10,000 employees of Dongguan Masstop Liquid Crystal Display in Dongcheng district went on strike after the company handed out a festival bonus of 100 yuan (HK$126), a piece of chicken and bananas. In previous years, the company gave 700 yuan and distributed coupons for mooncakes, they said.
The next day thousands of workers at another unit, Wintek (China) Technology, located in the Songshan Lake High-tech Industrial Development Zone, joined the action.
Some 800 workers of a factory set fire to the building Tuesday night after they had stoned their employers office and burned down a car earlier in the day.The workers, mostly from Nepal, set the electronics manufacturing plant in the Kelapa Sawit Industrial Area on fire around 8pm.
In China, the state-sponsored All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) enjoys a monopolistic status and pre-empts the establishment of any autonomous or independent workers’ unions. Most workers view ACFTU as a part of the Government or management machinery. Although they claim to have a membership of 200 million workers, the biggest union in the world, they seldom flex its muscles in defending workers’ rights, mobilizes them in industrial action. In fact, most of its officers are not directly elected, but are appointed by the authorities or the management. As resulted, labour NGOs proliferate to act on behalf of the workers, especially the migrant labours in the developed coastal area while after China has opened its market, there are more and more migrant workers without protection and facing a lots hardship in their life. Being perceived as threats to their interests, the labour NGOs are coerced by both the state and private entities, even the ACFTU. .
Coalition of Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) condemns the temporary unjust detainment of our union staff, Kun Sokhom, and 3 other workers: Mon Sareiam, Kang Savuth, Bean Sarim, and a driver, Net Pisey by the Court of First Instance in Kampong Cham.
In reference to the complaint of Juhui Footwear Factory Co. Ltd and local authorities, the labour dispute in the factory has been ongoing for two months due to worker rights violations such as a group of 30-60 workers only having one card to go to toilet and each worker is only allowed 2-5 minutes. The company embezzled money from the wages of 1000 workers so the AC ordered the company to refund these monies to the workers but the company did not implement the AC ruling and moreover put pressure to the workers and discriminated against C.CAWDU and also violated workers rights and other working conditions.
Due to those violations, the employees informed to protest by law but the company still has not settled and implemented the award by law. On the other hand, Kampong Cham Court released a decision to charge workers with wildcat strike.
With the mediation the workers returned to work in accordance with the court injunction without any settlement so the workers came out to strike again when the company has not only failed to settle the workers demands but also unjustly dismissed the workers who participated in the strike.
This case directly violates the right to strike of the workers as stipulated in Cambodian Labour Law Article 333.
As a result of such injustice, the workers continued their strike until 25th October, 2014 at which point the local authorities cut off the electrical cord of the microphone and pulled the hair of a female worker and slapped and kicked her, etc. Suddenly, chaos ensued in front of the factory when 200 people armed with metal batons came from the factory chasing and fighting workers until they are outside the factory fence.
According to worker testimony, the group of people was led by unions from inside who are involved with the company and some bad local authorities.
Quotes from the interrogation by the prosecutor of Kampong Cham on 27th October, 2014 certified that that group did not engage in violence but were victims of violence perpetrated by gangsters of the company but the court still decided to detain 5 people yesterday evening.
In the meantime, we would like to request Kampong Cham Court to consider releasing those detained 5 workers freely and drop all charges against them and suggest that the local authorities open an investigation into who is behind the gangsters, suspecting that they come from other unions, in order to condemn and find justice for the victims.
We also request that other relevant organisations intervene and find justice for the 5 people behind bars.
29th October, 2014
Ath Thorn, C.CAWDU President, 012998906
Ek Sopheakdey, C.CAWDU General Secretary, 066448888
About 200 Hong Kong protesters marched to the home of the city's Beijing-backed leader on Wednesday to push their case for greater democracy a day after talks between student leaders and senior officials failed to break the deadlock.
Others continued to occupy main streets in the Chinese-controlled city, where they have camped for nearly a month in protest against a central government plan that would give Hong Kong people the chance to vote for their own leader in 2017 but tightly restrict the candidates to Beijing loyalists.
The student unions are taking the leading role in the demonstrations. However, the student unions also understand that at this point, the Occupy movement is not only the student movement. It has become the movement of all the people in Hong Kong fighting for democracy.
Therefore, the student unions have agreed to build up the alliances which are composed of students, pan-Democratic [pro-democracy] parties, civil organizations, and other human rights groups. We think that under the leadership of the people’s alliance, we can have a clearer direction and be more organized to continue our struggle.
According to the Pakistan Economic Survey for 2012-2013, women have traditionally populated the informal sector, taking up jobs as domestic workers and other low-paid, daily-wage professions as cooks or cleaners, where affluent families typically pay them paltry sums of money.
In contrast, their share of professional clerical and administrative posts has been less than two percent.
Research indicates that only 19 percent of working women had jobs in the government sector, while the economic survey reports that some 200,000 women in KP were actively seeking jobs in the 2010-2011 period.
The most popular jobs were found to be in medicine, banking, law, engineering and especially education.
Nearly half of workers aged 15 to 29 in Asia and the Pacific are self-employed and two in three youth are in paid work without a written contract, says a new report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). According to the study Labour market transitions of young women and men in Asia and the Pacific, informality and vulnerable employment are the reality for the vast majority of young workers in region. While unemployment remains an important concern for young people in the region, the low-quality of work is by far a bigger problem. Of those who do have jobs, very few have a written employment contract or access to core benefits like paid sick leave or social security coverage.
Cambodian Worker Need $177 for Minimums Wage for Living.
Call to Action on $177 Campaign
After the violent crackdown on workers in which 5 workers were killed, 40 workers were seriously injured and 25 workers were arrested during the campaign to increase the minimum wage, workers and their unions have strongly advocated by cooperating with relevant stakeholders around the world in order to push the Government and buyers to give the proper minimum wage increase and the freedoms and compensation to workers. The campaign has been ongoing since early January but has not yet achieved the proper resolution. On 30th May, 2014, the arrested were released but the court didn’t drop the charges against them (convicted with suspended sentences) and many other problems have not yet been addressed. Meanwhile, the minimum wage issue is still the main topic of demonstrations.
We work hard every day to create huge profits for our employers and yet still do not have enough to feed our families and meet our basic needs. The government and employers said that in October they will officially announce the amount of the minimum wage increase to be implemented in January 2015. We have been waiting a long time for a minimum wage increase and justice for our colleagues who lost their lives.
We therefore call for solidarity from workers, unionists, concerned citizens, and civil organizations around the world to join us in an escalated national and international campaign to push the buyers to do a real intervention to end worker exploitation during the negotiation period from now until October, 2014 and in the future. The buyers must negotiate with unions, mandate an increased wage of $177, reflect this increase in their prices, and make a long-term commitment to sourcing from Cambodia in factories where labour rights are respected. Please join us for a national and international day of action on 17th Sept, 2014 to demand justice from some of the influential buyers and suppliers in Cambodia, especially: H&M, Gap, Adidas, Inditex, Levis, C&A, WalMart and Puma. We need $177! Decent Work, Decent Wage!
The Taiwan government’s plan to liberalise tariff-free imports of agricultural produce from China and other countries for processing in free economic pilot zones, which will then be exported as ‘Made in Taiwan’ items, may mean suicide for Taiwanese farmers if approved by the national legislature.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) government of President Ma Ying-jeou conceived the Free Economic Pilot Zone (FEPZ) plan in 2012 as a way to urge Taiwanese investors in China to relocate value added operations back to Taiwan, through tax and other incentives.
In early 2013, the KMT government re-packaged the plan to feature components for the promotion of value-added agriculture and international medical services, among others, and submitted required changes in the legal code to implement the plan in a draft Free Economic Pilot Zone Special Act to the KMT-controlled Legislature in December 2013.
About 16,000 workers at two subsidiaries of Taiwanese touch-screen maker Wintek Corp went on strike over holiday benefits this week in southern China in one of the biggest work stoppages this year, the Xinhua news agency reported.
A Wintek executive said the strikes started on Tuesday at subsidiary Dongguan Masstop Liquid Crystal Display Co Ltd and spread on Wednesday to Wintek (China) Technology Ltd. Each factory employs about 8,000 workers, said the executive who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the company.
The strikes ended on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and the company did not expect production to be affected, the executive added. He did not say how many workers had participated.
Wintek is a long-time supplier to Apple Inc, but it was not immediately clear who the factories' main customers were. A Wintek Corp facility in the eastern city of Suzhou, near Shanghai, is on the iPhone and iPad maker's list of 2014 suppliers, but not the factories in Dongguan.
On July 28, workers of five factories owned by Tuba Group in Bangladesh went on a hunger strike for the outstanding payments of more than Tk 4.14 crore. After several negotiations, the owner of the Group, Delwar Hossain, has agreed to pay the arrears. Around Tk 1.25 crore will be distributed among the workers.
"Even the wages of thousands workers are so little compare to employers' profits, they continuously count labour rights so little and see everything as commodity."
When everything is a commodity, labour rights count little
There’s a war going on in Asia – and it’s one that, unlike ISIS in Iraq or the chaos in Syria, is failing to make the headlines. It’s the war on workers that is taking place across much of the continent, according to the Director of the Asia Monitor Resources Center in Hong Kong, Sanjiv Pandita.
The geographer David Harvey has termed this process ‘accumulation by dispossession’. Across the continent, workers are being forced off their land to make way for plantations, mining, or even real estate. They’re resisting – but employers and police are using the age-old methods of repression.