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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.
The #bringbacknxp24 campaign on social media, which demands fair pay and regular employment, has received support from around the world.
On June 30, 2014 Samsung Service Trade union won the battle as the negotiation on the collective agreement between the union and Samsung was concluded. It is the first collective labour agreement in Samsung for the past 76 years! Thanks for the struggle and solidarity of the workers!
More news to come!
Dear Comrades,Please support the Global Day of Action on July 2 calling on the giant electronics company NXP Semiconductors to bring back the 24 union leaders in its plant in the Philippines whom it laid off while negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement were taking place. The Global Day of Action aims to highlight the condition of the NXP workers in the Philippines and of workers in export-processing zones in the Philippines and other countries. Attached is a fact sheet about NXP workers’ fight.Things you can do:1) Share this video in e-mails, social networking sites and even meetings and assemblies.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s22pkvDfbEQ2) Sign this petition.http://www.change.org/ph/mga-petisyon/bring-back-the-24-laid-off-workers-resume-negotiations-for-a-cba-in-nxp(Please also support the social media action and petition initiated by different organizations.)3) Write a solidarity statement. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org(for workers in export-processing zones) Share your own experience with the workers of NXP. 4) Conduct a solidarity action in your workplace (example: hold a placard or wear an armband) calling NXP to bring back the 24 workers laid off and expressing support for all workers in free trade zones or EPZs in fighting for their rights. Have this photographed so it can be shared in social networking sites. Thank you.In solidarity,Elmer Labog
Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)
The dismissed Adidas workers in Indonesia sing a song of the oppressed workers. They demand Adidas to be responsible to pay the wages of 1,300 workers who have been unfairly dismissed in July 2012.
Seven Labour Organizations have jointly signed an open letter responding against the suggestion to put aside the GuangDong Province Collective Contract of Enterprises given by the Six Hong Kong Chambers of Commerce. The open letter has sent to the HKSAR Chief Executive, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government of HKSAR, International Labour Organization, All China Federation of Trade Unions etc.
Since 2011, Myanmar has been one of the main countries to draw international attention. Before that year, international news coverage on the country was mostly related to oppression and political turmoil caused by military dictatorship. However, after 2011, the reasons were quite different. Several political and legal reforms brought by the civilian-led government, although backed by the military group, have made a drastic shift of international climate towards the country. Still, there is cautious scepticism on the real intention of these reforms, which included releasing Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, and a massive number of political prisoners from prison, relaxing censorship and legalizing trade unions. All these changes were welcomed by international society and rewarded by cancelation of all actions implemented by mostly US and European countries. These reforms turned the country from a problematic country under military dictatorship to an attractive one for investment with natural resources and cheap labours. The reforms also brought about new dynamics in society: trade union legalization has had a big impact on workplace and led to mushrooming labour unions.
Read full article: http://amrc.org.hk/node/1369
A recent report from the International Trade Union Confederation ranked Korea below most of 139 countries surveyed in terms of workers’ rights, based on submissions from local labor unions. Korea was assigned the lowest rating of 5, defined as a country that has no guarantee of rights.
South Korea is widely considered one of Asia’s freest states for political liberty following its transition from authoritarian rule to democracy in the late 1980’s. But international watchdogs have said that since 2008, under former President Lee Myung-bak, Seoul has worked to curtail labor movements critical of the government.
Please support this LabourStart urgent action campaign and spread the word.
South Korean President PARK, Geun-hye, SAMSUNG Group management and Group Chairman LEE Kun-hee, want to take the country back to the dark days of its authoritarian past. The first ever large-scale trade union in Samsung Group, the Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU) Samsung Electronics Service Workers' Local (around 2000 members), is on indefinite strike. The workers have asked Samsung to stop labour repression and recognize the union, for employment security at the 3 centers with concentrated union membership, to pay a living wage and to bargain a first collective agreement. During the strike, on May 17, the KMWU Samsung local chapter chair committed self-immolation in protest against Samsung's continuing labour repression. 300 police forces stormed his funeral wake, arrested 25 mourners, and absconded with the labour martyr's body. He was cremated under police protection against his dying wishes that his sacrifice be used to win labour rights at Samsung, which adheres to a "No Union" corporate policy. Police and public prosecutors have imprisoned KMWU Samsung union local Chair WI, Young-il and First Vice-Chair LA, Du-shik for protesting the raid at the funeral wake when the body was taken amid this clampdown on democratic and trade union rights.
About 20 workers at a factory that makes cardboard boxes marched to the Japanese Embassy on Wednesday to ask for support in their efforts to secure seniority wages.
The Harta Packaging factory opened in 2004 under Malaysian ownership, but was purchased by a Japanese businessman in 2012.
Twelve people were arrested on Saturday for their involvement in a workers’ rights demonstration in Mandalay. Among those arrested were ten protest leaders and two negotiators.
Several hundred employees of the Chinese-owned Lucky Treasure woodcutting factory in Sinkkaing Township, accompanied by hundreds of supporters, were intercepted by about 500 police officers as they tried to march to Mandalay, according to the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB).
The demonstration was the latest of four strikes at the factory, beginning in June 2012. Aung Linn, chairman of the FTUB, said that workers at the factory have had ongoing disagreements with management over problematic contracts.
Several countries in Southeast Asia are among the world’s worst to work in, with workers suffering from regular rights violations, according to The International Trade Union Confederation’s Global Rights Index, The index assesses where workers’ rights are best protected by evaluating 97 indicators, including the ability of workers to join unions, organize strikes and access legal protections. It then ranks them on a scale of 1 (best) to 5 (worst). Among the 139 countries surveyed, Southeast Asian countries came in at the bottom half of the index, with Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and the Philippines scoring a 5. The trade union alliance said in its report that workers in those countries have no “guarantee of rights.” Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, fared better with a rating of 4, an indication of “systematic violations,” with governments or companies engaged “in serious efforts to crush the collective voice of workers, putting fundamental rights under continuous threat.”
Download the report: http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/survey_ra_2014_eng_v2.pdf
Over recent years, a global land rush has resulted in a massive rise in the number of people in developing countries being evicted or denied access to their own land – sometimes in violent confrontation with the authorities – as big business moves in. Offered little in the way of compensation or alternative livelihoods, millions are being forced into increased poverty, hunger and dispossession.
Korea health unions KHMU and KPTU-HealthSol held a strike from 24-30 June, and protest rallies on 27 and 28 June after the Korean government's announcement to allow for deregulation and privatisation of the health services in the country.
Last week a reported 220,000 Cambodian migrants hastily returned from Thailand in fear of a crackdown against undocumented workers, creating a migration crisis. The Cambodian government, United Nations and NGOs quickly mobilized to feed and transport them to their home towns.
Rebecca Henschke reports on garment workers killed by riot police when striking for pay rise
Ken Loo from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia:
“Investors are here to make money. Investors are not here for charity. Investors are not here because of good compliance. Investors are here because we need to make money. So if we make money, we continue to stay here. If we don't, then very naturally they need to start to look at leaving. And they will.”
Henschke (Journalist): “Where, really, could they go?”
Ken Loo: “It's not a question of where really could they go. Now, the Vietnam has a higher minimum wage, yes, but only slightly higher. But their productivity is much higher. You know. And Indonesia, although, yeah, it's got a ridiculously high minimum wage, but really if you want productivity adjusted, unit costs per output is probably on par with Cambodia.”
Fact finding report:
Over 1,000 steel workers in the Wazirpul industrial zone in Delhi have won improvements in working conditions. However, the very next day, the bosses refused to implement the terms of the agreement. The workers staged co-ordinated industrial action across 23 different factories, demonstrating the power of industry-level solidarity. Some important wins included a reduction of the working day from 12 to 8 hours, adherence to minimum wage levels, and the introduction of double overtime pay
June 29, As is known, after the strike of hot rolling steel workers at Wazirpur which lasted from 6 June to 27 June, the owners were forced to compromise when they agreed on all the conditions. But they turned their face from the agreement the very next day after which the workers jammed the factory gates. Subsequently after a 8-hour long negotiation the owners once again agreed on all conditions yesterday (28 June) and assured to start the factories and follow all the labour laws. But on 29 June, the owners are once again dilly-dallying.
When Cambodian garment workers making clothes for U.S. brands like Walmart, Levis and Puma took to the streets in January demanding to be paid more than $3.00 a day, police and soldiers opened fire. Five people were killed instantly—another worker died this month due to the injuries he sustained. Their families are demanding justice.
A Fact finding report: http://amrc.org.hk/node/1363
"Slavery is illegal, yet it is driving Thailand's growth – so why are retailers, producers and governments alike turning a blind eye?"
Slavery is illegal in every country in the world. Yet slavery – the sort of state-sanctioned chattel slavery we thought we'd abolished about 200 years ago – is just what the Guardian has uncovered in the Thai fishing industry. We have established that prawns – shrimp, as they are known in the US – reach our supermarket shelves off the back of it.
About 150 garment workers turned out to the Phnom Penh offices of the United Sisterhood Alliance NGO on Sunday to watch a politically charged fashion show entitled “Beautiful Clothes, Ugly Reality.”
Aimed to highlight the income gap between Cambodian garment workers and the selected CEOs of brand companies. The two-hour program featured a medley of cat-walking, political theater and speeches calling for a $160 monthly basic wage.
Not exactly your kind of models, but poor workers still have rich voice.
“The arrest, ban, threats and killing of our activists cannot prevent a workers’ movement,” said Hil Chandy, 23. “We still demand all buyers take responsibility to find a solution for $160 for all workers.”
Hundreds of Caltex workers across Phnom Penh will resume work Thursday after an agreement was reached with U.S. oil giant Chevron on Wednesday to increase their monthly salaries by $20, a union official said.
About 300 workers from 17 stations in Phnom Penh began striking on May 12 to demand a minimum monthly wage of $160.
Chevron, which operates under the brand name Caltex in Cambodia, negotiated a compromise with the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation after a three-hour meeting at their Phnom Penh office, according to union president Sar Mora.