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.
The election is over and Indonesia’s people have spoken. They have chosen a small-town businessman over the elite as their next president: Jokowi. Jokowi has promised that workers will be more prosperous under his presidency. But his role in the 2014 Jakarta minimum wage negotiations sent a different message. In a year where there was over 8 percent inflation, a wage rise of 10 percent didn’t account for much. Workers might have won a big increase in the previous year, but Rp 2,441,000 (US$212) per month is hardly generous in a city like Jakarta.
Do Thi Minh Hanh, a young Vietnamese labor activist, was released from prison on June 27 after serving four years of a seven-year sentence for leafleting in support of footwear workers striking for better working conditions and higher wages. During her imprisonment, she suffered repeated beatings at the hands of prison guards and other inmates.
This book intends to bring together discussions on the progress and current state of Indonesian labour movement after the collapse of the Suharto's New Order regime in May 1998 that brought up the Reformasi. In the context of state-labour relationship, it allows more rooms for workers to organise and join into unions. However, it has also delivered neo-liberal challenges for workers’ collective efforts to defend their economic interests in the workplace.
The changes and challenges of Reformasi, however, do not prevent Indonesian labour to adapt, struggle and develop strategies to maintain its independent organisations. Although under the pressure of the market in globalisation and the constant control of the state, labour is crafting its paths - with trials and errors in some parts of the way, to defend members' interests. With these persistent efforts, we are witness the formation of independent and mature labour movement in Indonesia.
Edited by Jafar Suryomenggolo; Contributors: Benny Hari Juliawan; Surya Tjandra; R. Herlambang Perdana Wiratraman; Abu Mufakhir; Rita Olivia Tambunan
In light of the recent tentative agreement achieved by Samsung Electronics Service Workers after a 41 day strike and two recent films that depict the devastating impact of Samsung’s factory conditions, KPI is re-publishing this report on the Samsung Electronics industry and its treatment of workers, written by members of the Research Institute for Alternative Workers’ Movements in South Korea. Please note that the workers who were on strike this May and June were subcontracted after this article was written; the workers described in this article remain unorganized.
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. .
The OSH Legal Resources Handbook is intended to serve as a practical reference handbook for those legal practitioners and activists involved in the struggle to seek compensation and justice for victims of occupational injuries and diseases. It aims to be a hands-on manual and provide an overview of the working of the law and its implementation. It is supplemented with case studies that give the reader an insight into the working of the laws in the region. It will also serve as a tool to aid cross-border alliances and build strong solidarity among victims’ support groups across the region.
This practical handbook has country reports from 10 countries: From South Asia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India; from East Asia: China, Japan, and Hong Kong; and from Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Each chapter focuses on a single country and reports on actual cases/ incidents in terms of the existing structures and mechanisms, showing the core of the system and how it works and elucidating the requirements and challenges facing a worker or victim seeking compensation. Many of these cases clearly demonstrate the issues and obstacles encountered by the worker, and some strategies and interventions used by legal practitioners to assist the victims.
AMRC will update the information in this handbook periodically with the aim of providing a more powerful tool to the network and to other workers and victims in the Asia region.
Being cheated and ‘sold’ to farm employers in remote areas of Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, workers are left with only two options, either hiding in the forest to flee from labor exploitation or stretching their backs to work.