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Six Years of Fighting Against Samsung Turns Father Into Labor Advocate: An Interview With Hwang Sang-ki

Six Years of Fighting Against Samsung Turns Father Into Labor Advocate: An Interview With Hwang Sang-ki | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Six years ago, on March 6, 2007, Hwang Yumi died in her father’s taxi on her way to hospital. Yumi was only 23 years old. It was five years after she began to work as an operator at Samsung Electronics...
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Asian Labour Update
Labour News Across Asia                                                                                                                            ISSN 1815-9389
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A Protest Action by Labour Groups in Hong Kong at Yue Yuen Office

A Protest Action by Labour Groups in Hong Kong at Yue Yuen Office

 

17 April 2014

A Protest Action by Labour Groups in Hong Kong at Yue Yuen Office, Suites 3307-9, 33/F Tower 6, The Gateway 9 Canton Road, Tsimshatsui Kowloon, Hong Kong

On April 5, 2014, several thousand workers, out of 60,000 from Yue Yuen Dongguan, the world's largest maker of athletic shoes, took to the streets and gathered at the highway to protest against the violations of Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd.

Thousands of workers continued their strike on Wednesday at a sports shoe manufacturer in Dongguan in a dispute over welfare payments. An estimated 40,000 workers downed tools at seven Yue Yuen factories in the city, according to some of the workers taking part in the stoppages. The company said more than 1,000 staff stopped working. About 3,000 also took part in a protest march.

The Hong Kong Labour Groups were accepted by the Executive Director of Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Hong Kong office, Mr. Liu. Yue Yuen promised to settle the dispute and meet the workers' demand.

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[China] Labour Unrest at Nike and Adidas Supplier Yue Yuen Industrial Persists

[China] Labour Unrest at Nike and Adidas Supplier Yue Yuen Industrial Persists | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Thousands of Yue Yuen workers in China have stayed off work for nearly 10 days.
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[Photo] Hong Kong Labour Groups Support Sanda Kan Strike in Dongguan, China - 聲援東莞山打根罷工 抗議鎮壓維權

[Photo] Hong Kong Labour Groups Support Sanda Kan Strike in Dongguan, China - 聲援東莞山打根罷工 抗議鎮壓維權 | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Supporting Sanda Kan Strike in Dongguan, China; Stop suppressing workers’ rights -- 聲援東莞山打根罷工 抗議鎮壓維權 (20 photos)
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Hong Kong Dockers Strike & Struggles: Report By Stephan Chan and Wong Yu Loy

Hong Kong dockers are on the move after a 40 day strike in 2013. 
This is a presentation by Hong Kong trade unionists Stephan 
Chan and Wong Yu Loy on how their union was formed and 
the lessons of their strike against Li Ka-shing' s Hutchison Port 
Holdings Trust. He is the richest man in Hong Kong and owns
over 50 docks in China and around the world. This presentation was made in San Francisco on April 8, 2014.


For more information on the Hong Kong dockers go to:
www.hkctu.org.hk; Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org 

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[Cambodia] Union Leader in West Seeking Release of Jailed Activists

[Cambodia] Union Leader in West Seeking Release of Jailed Activists | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Rong Chhun, head of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, is making a trip through the US, seeking support to help free 21 labor activists who have been in jail since deadly crackdowns on demonstrations in January.
 
His visit comes as another labor leader, Ath Thun, was in Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday, facing charges of incitement for similar protests.


Am Sam Ath, lead investigator for the rights group Licadho, said the workers had been exercising their right to demonstrate and that union support did not constitute incitement to violence. “When there is a complaint against a union leader, it is a serious violation of workers’ rights, and it is intimidation of other union leaders,” he said.

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[Myanmar] Striking Workers at Mae Sot Factory Win Concessions

[Myanmar] Striking Workers at Mae Sot Factory Win Concessions | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Protesting Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot, Thailand, return to work at the Yuan Jiao Garment factory after successful negotiations resolve a labor dispute.

 

More than 500 workers had staged a more than weeklong strike, demanding a wage increase and other labor rights and benefits, including more time off and a sick leave allowance.


“The increased wages are only 15, 17 and 20 baht per day [depending on an employee’s tenure at the company] to their current wage, which is about 175 baht per day.” 


“We worked every day from 8 am to 5 pm, and the overtime was until 10 pm to midnight. But we got only one day off per month and could not get sick leave.”

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Why Vietnam wants to attract multi-billion dollar FDI projects?

Why Vietnam wants to attract multi-billion dollar FDI projects? | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Foreign investors come to Vietnam just to enjoy the big investment incentives -- and then leave for greener pastures once the grace periods expire. Sony, the Japanese electronics group, enjoyed 14 years of a highly advantageous business environment in Vietnam, then shuttered its factory and left Vietnam in 2008.

 

Then Samsung comes in. Vietnam places high hopes on the project of building up a complex of supporting enterprises providing accessories and auxiliary parts to Samsung. This is a part of the project to be implemented with the cooperation with the Bac Ninh provincial authorities. 

 

(For critical account on the electronics industry in Vietnam: the case of Samsung, please read the chapter from this link: http://www.amrc.org.hk/node/1354 ;)

AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

For critical account on the electronics industry in Vietnam: the case of Samsung, please read the chapter from this link: http://www.amrc.org.hk/node/1354 

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Irene Fernandez, Champion of the Oppressed in Malaysia, Dies at 67

Irene Fernandez, Champion of the Oppressed in Malaysia, Dies at 67 | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Ms. Fernandez’s indefatigable advocacy for better treatment of foreign workers prompted her government to denounce her and human rights groups to shower her with awards.
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The U.S. Apparel Import from Asia (Jan 2014)

The U.S. Apparel Import from Asia (Jan 2014) | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Total U.S. apparel imports grew 3.3% to $6.8 billion in January, according to data released last week by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA). Total unit volume, measured on a square meter equivalent basis, increased 3.4%, driving the average cost per SME down by a negligible .2%.

 

Vietnam enjoyed the biggest share gain of U.S. apparel imports, growing from 10.2% of the dollar total in January 2013 to 11.5% in 2014. Indonesia suffered the biggest share loss, dropping from 7.5% to 6.7%. China’s share edged up from 38.1% to 38.3% on a dollar basis.

 

Apparel imports from Vietnam totaled $785 million, growing 16.3% year-on-year, almost five times faster than total imports and more than four times faster than imports from China, whose apparel shipments to the U.S. increased by 3.9% on a dollar basis. Vietnam’s total volume is still less than a third the size of China’s, however.

 

Indonesia’s position as the third largest source of apparel has been challenged by Bangladesh, whose dollar and unit shipments to the U.S. grew faster, and whose unit shipments were greater. Bangladesh’s recent significant minimum wage increase might begin to alter considerably the country’s cost advantage vis-à-vis China and Vietnam, and could slow its growth.

 

U.S. apparel imports from China totaled $2.6 billion in January, up only 3.9% over January 2013. Units (on a square meter equivalent basis) rose 5.5%, driving the cost per unit lower by 1.5%, a steeper decline than the overall average.

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Japan moves to expand controversial foreign worker scheme

Japan moves to expand controversial foreign worker scheme | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Japan is considering expanding a controversial program that now offers workers from China and elsewhere permits to work for up to three years, as the world's fastest-aging nation scrambles to plug gaps in a rapidly shrinking workforce. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday submitted a proposal to let workers to stay for up to five years, relax hiring rules for employers and boost the number of jobs open to them.
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Taiwan Parliament Occupied By Students Protesting Trade Deal With China-Workers Support Action

On March 18, 2014 hundreds of Taiwanese students broke into the parliament and conducted an occupation of the Parliament to protest a action by the KMT ruling party to prevent a vote on section by section of a trade agreement with China. The proposed Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement according to the students and workers would threaten jobs of blue collar workers and small businesses in Taiwan. 
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front...
Thousands of people including trade unionists supported the occupation and 3 simultaneous rallies took place with thousands of supporters. 
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/longson...
Speakers talk about the issues and also how it will affect the Taiwanese working class as well as the history of the Taiwanese trade unions and the role of China. On March 24, 2014 a massive police attack brutalized the students injuring dozens and ended the occupation of the parliament.
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org

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Social struggles in Indonesia, women workers and the Left

Social struggles in Indonesia, women workers and the Left | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Despite high economic growth rates, massive poverty persists in Indonesia. And while the fall of Suharto’s ’New Order’ dictatorship in 1998 drastically enlarged democratic space in the country, old representatives of the dictatorship are making a come-back. The army remains a powerful political player and democratic freedoms are under attack. We publish here an interview with activist Zely Ariane on how the Indonesian Left is trying to find a new way forward.

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US retailers' donation to Bangladesh fund 'paltry'

US retailers' donation to Bangladesh fund 'paltry' | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Walmart has been criticised for offering a paltry amount to victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh after joining other US-owned retailers including Asda, Gap and The Children's Place to donate $2.2m (£1.32m) to a compensation fund. Of 28 retailers linked to the building in Dhaka, where more than 1,100 people died and at least a further 1,000 were injured nearly a year ago, just 16 have been confirmed as donors to a formal compensation fund co-ordinated by the UN agency the International Labour Organisation (ILO). So far there is just $7m in the pot, well short of its $40m target.
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[S.Korea] SHARPS Warns Samsung on Attempts to Derail Negotiations

[S.Korea] SHARPS Warns Samsung on Attempts to Derail Negotiations | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
On April 14, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. abruptly announced that it would proactively solve “the issue of occupational disease.” The company came in response to a proposal made by labor activist-turned lawmaker Sim Sang-jung, of the Justice Party. Samsung appeared to agree to a third party-brokered compensation scheme in a move to sideline SHARPS by installing a new third party in its own terms. -- This is not the first time that Samsung maneuvered to isolate SHARPS, a seven-year-long campaign working on behalf of Samsung occupational-disease victims. In 2012, the company announced it would negotiate with SHARPS without first contacting SHARPS. The first round of negotiations took place in December 2012. The negotiations have since become stranded because Samsung continued to question SHARPS’s qualifications as rightful negotiator.
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[Japan] Nonregular workers turn to unions

[Japan] Nonregular workers turn to unions | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Mo.re than 5,000 nonregular workers at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ were allowed to join its labor union in March. That step marks the first time nonregular workers at a major Japanese bank were allowed to unionize

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[China] Supporting Sanda Kan Strike in Dongguan; Stop suppressing workers’ rights -- 聲援東莞山打根罷工 抗議鎮壓維權

[China] Supporting Sanda Kan Strike in Dongguan; Stop suppressing workers’ rights -- 聲援東莞山打根罷工 抗議鎮壓維權 | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

We strongly support the workers’ strike in Sanda Kan, Dongguan, China, and stand in solidarity with the workers. We oppose the authorities using force to suppress workers. We urge the Kadar Group, Sanda Kan Company, Dongguan government and trade unions to protect the rights of the workers, in particular, the right of association, right to strike and right of collective bargaining. They should respond to the workers’ demands, release the arrested workers and negotiate with the workers in good faith.

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[Cambodia] Unions Spread Word of Strike Through Radio & Web promoting April 17 to 22 stay-at-home strike

[Cambodia] Unions Spread Word of Strike Through Radio & Web promoting April 17 to 22 stay-at-home strike | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

April 17 to 22 stay-at-home strike

 

With new garment factory strikes only one week away, union activists are using new means to spread the strike call, trying to duck harassment from factories and arrest by police.

 

Union leaders say members have been fired for handing out leaflets promoting the April 17 to 22 stay-at-home strike. They say police have detained others or confiscated their supplies. While those detained were soon released, police and government officials continue to warn of arrest if pamphleting continues.

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Sharpening Labour’s Role in Advancing Social Protection for All in Asia

Sharpening Labour’s Role in Advancing Social Protection for All in Asia | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

The content of this book is upon of the discussion in the Fourth Asian Roundtable on Social Security meeting which was co-organised by AMRC and the University of Philippines in Manila. The book includes country reports on social protection in Asia, overview on the road to social protection in Asia, outcome of the conference, among others. The book serves to provide comprehensive information on social protection for all from the labour perspective in Asia.

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[Hong Kong] Kwai Tsing dock workers set to win pay rise, says union

[Hong Kong] Kwai Tsing dock workers set to win pay rise, says union | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Contractors plan to offer pay rises of up to 12 per cent to dock workers at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals - close to the 14 per cent demanded by the dockers - a union leader says....
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(Cambodia) Adidas, Puma and Nike Suppliers See Renewed Spate of Mass Fainting Whilst Government Corruption Impedes Wages That Satisfy Basic Needs

(Cambodia) Adidas, Puma and Nike Suppliers See Renewed Spate of Mass Fainting Whilst Government Corruption Impedes Wages That Satisfy Basic Needs | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

We call on international brands such as Adidas, Puma and Nike to take concrete measures to address wages that currently do not satisfy basic needs nor provide for a life with human dignity.

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Hundreds of Cambodian garment workers faint

Hundreds of Cambodian garment workers faint | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
At least 200 workers hospitalised after mass fainting at factories that make products for major sportswear companies.

 

The three factories make clothes for brands such as sportswear giants Puma SE and Adidas.

 

Tainted food, poor working conditions and the spraying of insecticide are suspected causes, AFP news agency reported, citing Khim Sunsoda, deputy governor of Pur Senchey district, where the incidents happened.

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Indonesian unions look for influence in government

Indonesian unions look for influence in government | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

One of Indonesia’s most aggressive unions is running a campaign in this year’s elections to put its own people in parliament, a move it believes necessary to gain further influence.

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Women workers in Pakistan: an invisible workforce?

Women workers in Pakistan: an invisible workforce? | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Despite representing a large share of the Pakistani labour force, women are seldom taken into consideration and even labour inspections fail to listen to their concerns. 

 

The problems facing women workers are numerous: Over 90 per cent of women workers in the country do not have appointment letters; they get half of the wages of their male counterparts though they work the same hours; they are not registered with social security networks.

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20 Years of Global Migration - in One Chart

20 Years of Global Migration - in One Chart | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

It’s no secret that the world’s population is on the move, but it’s rare to get a glimpse of where that flow is happening. In a study released Friday in Science, a team of geographers used data snapshots to create a broad analysis of global migrations over 20 years.

 

Some interesting insights and results:

 

1. Adjusted for population growth, the global migration rate has stayed roughly the same since around 1995 (it was higher from 1990-1995).

2. It’s not the poorest countries sending people to the richest countries, it’s countries in transition—still poor, but with some education and mobility—that are the highest migratory contributors.

3. The largest regional migration is from Southeast Asia to the Middle East. This is largely driven by the huge, oil-driven construction booms happening on the Arabian Peninsula.

4. The biggest flow between individual countries is the steady stream from Mexico to the U.S. (In fact, the U.S. is the largest single migrant destination.)

5. There’s a huge circulation of migrants among sub-Saharan African countries. This migration dwarfs the number leaving Africa, but the media pay more attention to the latter because of the austerity-driven immigration debates in Europe.

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Striking behaviour: Chinese workers discover a weapon against labour-market turmoil

Striking behaviour: Chinese workers discover a weapon against labour-market turmoil | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

In theory, workers in China are promised security through official trade union representation and the rule of the Communist Party. In practice, confronted with the endless churning of a globalised labour market, they are increasingly voting with their feet.


The ten-day strike by more than a thousand workers at an IBM factory in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in early March grabbed international media attention. Yet there was nothing particularly unusual about the strike—it was, in many ways, a microcosm of the shifting dynamics of labour relations in China today.

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