For years, there's been talk of creating a new free trade deal that would span countries bordering the Asia-Pacific, including the US, Canada, New Zealand, as well as several countries in Latin America and Asia. The deal is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – or "TPP" for short.
I should have written this a year ago, right after joining a fact-finding mission on the violent crackdown on the Cambodian workers’ strike from December 2013 to January 2014. Nearly a year after, however, my notes remained raw, and my draft a series of sentence fragments and disparate paragraphs. If only to console myself, I must say, I really tried hard, even bothered a friend or two to push myself to finish this essay, but it was futile. I am not very good at weaving words after all. With no clear message in mind, I got stuck. And in my hopeless attempt to move on this “new” year, I am coming out with these notes instead.
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After taking part in the protest on the morning of Jan. 2, Thoeun returned to his dormitory. After hearing about what was happening outside, he was just leaving the building when soldiers seized him. After five months in prison, he returned to work, but his Cambodian manager warned him not to join the labor union.
A news brief from Bangladesh reached Seoul last January. A female worker was shot dead by police in a factory owned by Youngone, the Korean sportswear manufacturer known as the biggest supplier of The Northface and the biggest foreign investor in Bangladesh. Youngone issued a short press release in Seoul through PR firm.
Strikes by thousands of teachers frustrated by low salaries and mandatory payments to pension plans have spread across cities in northeast China, state news media reported on Dec 1st. The strikes began last week and have spread to a half-dozen cities or counties near Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province, where economic growth has long been slower than elsewhere in China. Classes in some primary and high schools in Heilongjiang have been suspended, the reports said. Teachers are asking for raises and for the government to end required payments to a pension plan. China National Radio reported that one teacher was making less than $400 a month after working for 25 years.
About 20,000 nonregular workers of schools launched a two-day strike on Thursday, which led to the suspension the school lunch services at some schools.The strikers demand to be hired as full-time staff, citing unfair employment policies. They are also calling for paid lunch breaks and paid vacation, and stressed that the two-day protest could expand to a general strike if negotiations fall apart.The 20,000 strikers make up about 30 per cent of the three major unions of contract school workers nationwide.
Wearing yellow raincoats in drizzling weather, several hundred demonstrators from two groups — former Hualon Corp workers and former freeway toll collectors — and their supporters staged a joint demonstration outside Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters in Taipei.
The former Hualon workers want the government to help them obtain unpaid pensions from the bankrupt textiles manufacturer, while the former toll collectors are demanding severance packages as well as assistance finding new jobs, since their former jobs disappeared after the nation launched a distance-based electronic toll collection system in January and removed all tollbooths.
Vietnam is prioritising the boosting of foreign direct investment (FDI) in four sectors: supporting industries, infrastructure development, human resources and agriculture.
Viet Nam had granted investment certificates to more than 1,300 new projects worth US$9.95 billion, a 23.9-per cent year-on-year decrease.
Also, as many as 469 projects have registered to increase their respective investments by a total amount of $3.74 billion.
During the period, exactly 56 countries and territories invested in Viet Nam, with South Korea ranking first with $3.6 billion, or 26.3 per cent of total investments, followed by Singapore with $2.64 billion or 19.3 per cent of total investments. Hong Kong ranked third and Japan, fourth.
The manufacturing sector accounted for the largest amount of investments, with 70.8 per cent, followed by real estate and construction.
HCM City attracted the largest FDI amount with $2.85 billion, or 20.8 per cent of total FDI, followed by Bac Ninh with $1.38 billion, or 10.1 per cent.
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.
On 18 December 2014, hundreds of police stormed into Artigas Clothing & Leatherware company in Shenzhen, China to disperse workers who have been on strike for 9 days to demand their mandatory social insurance and housing provident fund premiums. Instead of answering the strikers’ request for a negotiation with the employer on 18 December, the police went in the morning to take away the leading strikers and assisted the factory management to put the finished clothing on carts for shipping to Uniqlo. Many workers were arrested and some of them were injured in the clash and forced back to work or intimidated with dismissal.
Millions of contract workers from Asia and Africa, including an estimated 2.4 million domestic workers in the Gulf, are subject to a wide range of abuses, including unpaid wages, confiscation of passports, physical abuse, and forced labor.
Labor unions on November 5th assembled in front of the Diet building to protest the government attempt to ease the rules on the use of temporary workers. Representing the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), the National Trade Union Council (Zenrokyo), and other independent unions, 150 union activists took part in the action. Zenroren President Odagawa Yoshikazu expressed his determination to block the government-proposed bill to revise the Worker Dispatch Law as the revision would drive more workers into poverty. Zenrokyo Secretary General Nakaoka Motoaki called on participants to increase their efforts to create a society where workers can live and work with dignity.
After convening at three rallies held in different locations across Taipei, nearly 1,000 protesters carrying flags and banners swarmed the MRT yesterday to participate in the Autumn Struggle (秋鬥), an annual protest march organized by labor groups, congregating in Ximending (西門町) before marching on to protest in front of the National Development Council.
More than 200 Phnom Penh garment workers blocked the road in front of the Ministry of Labour yesterday until officials accepted their petition for assistance.
Strikers from Huey Chuen garment factory first marched their petition to the National Assembly, but security guards soon moved them on, National Trade Union Confederation (NTUC) president Fa Saly said. They walked to the Labour Ministry after.
Activists decry decision by Cambodia’s Ministry of Labour, one warning could lead to civil unrest
Activists have decried a decision by the Ministry of Labour to disregard union pleas for a hike in the minimum wage for some of the country’s 500,000 garment workers, one warning that it could lead to civil unrest.
Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation and the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, told The Anadolu Agency on Friday that "maybe a problem would happen" if the wage is set at either of two amounts put forth by the government and industry officials.
"We do not agree [with these amounts]," he said. If it is like that, then maybe… I don't know yet the scenario, but if it’s like that then we are upset. The workers are not happy with this amount," he said.
In December 2013, the minimum wage was set at $100, prompting workers and unionists to protest in their thousands. But the movement was violently shut down on January 4, when military police forces opened fire on striking workers, killing five people.
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.