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Hong Kong Dockers Claim Victory

Hong Kong Dockers Claim Victory | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
A 40-day strike of more than 500 dockworkers at the Port of Hong Kong ended yesterday with a settlement that included a 9.8 percent wage increase, non-retaliation against strikers, and a written agreement, all of which had been fiercely resisted by the four contractors targeted in the strike. Strikers accepted the offer by a 90 percent vote. The four contractors also agreed to work through the port manager Hong Kong International Terminal (HIT) to provide meal and toilet breaks, which had been lacking even for workers on 12- or 24-hour shifts. Crane operators laid off during the strike will be rehired. Workers see HIT—owned by Li Ka-shing, one of the world’s wealthiest capitalists—as the real power at play, as the interview below demonstrates. Though members of the Union of Hong Kong Dock Workers (UHKDW) had been holding to their demand for a double-digit wage increase, they had growing concerns about contractors’ use of scabs and the relative ease with which shippers could reroute from Hong Kong to the nearby mainland China port of Shenzhen. After the breakthrough accomplishment of forcing the contractors to negotiate, and clearly winning the battle of public opinion, strikers were ready to return to work. The strike was notable in that dockworkers across multiple sub-contractors first self-organized, from the bottom up, before seeking affiliation for their union with the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU). The political environment in Hong Kong allows inter-union competition between HKCTU and the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU). Workers have the chance to see the differences between the HKFTU’s pro-corporate brand of unionism and the HKCTU’s anti-corporate stand—but are also caught between the antagonistic interests. During the strike, HKFTU carried to workers the employers’ low-ball wage-increase offer (5 percent). These negotiations exposed HKFTU’s relative illegitimacy. The support of students, particularly through the group Left 21, was critical to engaging Hong Kong society as a whole. More than HK$8.5 million (US$1,105,000) was raised for a strike support fund which stood at only HK$30,000 (US$3,900) at the outset. Financial contributions and solidarity resolutions came from the West Coast longshore union in the U.S. (ILWU), the International Federation of Transport Workers, and transport workers unions in Japan, Australia, and the Netherlands. Solidarity actions such as informational pickets, slow-downs, or rallies didn’t materialize, however—although in the U.S. and Canada, the Steelworkers were considering action at facilities owned by Husky Energy, a subsidiary of Li Ka-shing’s vast empire.
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The Community Structure of the Global Corporate Network

The two largest communities account together for about 1/5 of all the nodes and comprise companies mainly located in the US and Great Britain, respectively. Here below we provide some more details:

  • The first biggest community includes 54065 economic entities. It is dominated by companies mainly located in North America (65%), in particular in the US (59%) and Canada (7%), while 10% of all the firms are located in three Asian countries (Japan, Taiwan and Korea). From a sector point of view, the nodes do not show a unique pattern: roughly 1/4 of the nodes belong, respectively, to the services, manufacturing and real estates, renting and business activities sectors. Finally, even if this community includes only 2283 TNCs (5% of the total), in terms of operating revenue, it represents roughly 34% of the total TNC value.
  • The second largest community has 49475 members, of which 2004 TNCs accounting for the 17% of the total operating revenue. Geographically speaking, the nodes belong, almost completely, toEuropean countries (89%), with Great Britain (42%) leading the other countries (Germany is represented by 9.6% of nodes, France by 6%, Sweden by 5% and Italy by 4%.). The largest part of the companies are in the business activity industry (39%), while the services and manufacturing sectors account for 20% and 18% respectively.
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Philippines murder highlights the threat facing trade unionists

Philippines murder highlights the threat facing trade unionists | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Filipino workers and trade unionists are still in shock following the murder of labour leader Florencio “Bong” Romano on 8 March. The 63-year-old was an organiser for the National Coalition for the Protection of Workers' Rights, an affiliate of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1st Movement, or KMU) trade union at the food manufacturing firm RFM in Laguna, south of capital Manila. Romano was found dead in Batangas City, also south of Manila, with a single bullet wound to the chest. 

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Resistance in Rembang, Central Java: Street and community conflict against military & police in struggle against the construction of a cement factory [Indonesia]

Resistance in Rembang, Central Java: Street and community conflict against military & police in struggle against the construction of a cement factory [Indonesia] | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
There is a land grabbing occuring in Rembang, Central Java, committed by one of the biggest cement corporation in Indonesia. People of Rembang, mostly women farmers, are protesting. They heavily rely on the rivers, springs, caves, fountains. It’s been more than 300 days since the women farmers in the area began camping in tents to block the trucks and heavy equipment from entering the area of the mountain... It has been a long struggle for the women farmers to fight against the establishment of the cement factory. These women, who have been fighting against the cement factory, were beaten up by the state apparatus who forced them to leave their tents. Despite the ongoing intimidation, they have kept up their fight but this month the court will determine their fate. We will keep you updated.
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A Vegetable Oil that Demands Blood: The Reality of Palm Oil Industry

A Vegetable Oil that Demands Blood: The Reality of Palm Oil Industry | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

In the last three-and-a-half decades Indonesia and Malaysia lost a combination of 3.5 million hectares of forest to palm oil plantations.

Globally, more people consume palm oil than soybean oil, and Indonesia is the largest producer of the stuff, churning out 31 million tonnes of palm oil in 2014. Malaysia and Indonesia together account for 85 percent of palm oil produced globally each year. Consumption of palm oil has risen steadily at seven percent per annum over the last 20 years.

The palm oil sector has added little real value to the Indonesian economy. The average contribution of estate crops, including oil palm and rubber, to GDP [gross domestic product] was only 2.2 percent per year. On the other hand, food production is the main source of rural employment and income, engaging two-thirds of the rural workforce, or some 61 million people. Oil palm production only occupies the eighth rank in rural employment, engaging some 1.4 million people.

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In defense of the right to strike

We call on the International Labor Organization to uphold the workers right to strike. To do otherwise is equivalent to ILO becoming an instrument of employers in worsening the condition of workers.

The onslaught of neoliberalism has taken away many hard-won rights of the working class. Now, more than ever, workers all over the world and all sectors in society must unite to prevent this yet another move of capitalists to take away another essential right from happening. To strike is a right and it is just. We must persist in defending our right to rebel to attain social justice.

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Hundreds of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers went on strike in Dubai

Hundreds of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers went on strike in Dubai | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Hundreds of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers ripped down corrugated iron fences at a major real-estate development and spilled into the street during rush hour near the Dubai Mall, a popular tourist spot in the heart of the city.

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More than half of female employees in the service industry in Hong Kong have been sexually harassed

More than half of female employees in the service industry in Hong Kong have been sexually harassed | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

The Women Affairs Committee of the HKCTU released a report on 8 March, the International Women’s Day, stating that nearly 60% of female employees in the service sector had been sexually harassed at work. It happened most frequently in three industries, namely property management, airlines and retailing. Nearly 70% of interviewees said that their workplaces have no (32%) or are not aware of (36%) any follow up mechanisms of sexual harassment complaints. As a result, only 15% of the victims reported their cases to the employers.

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Blocked workers in Myanmar stage sit-in protest

Blocked workers in Myanmar stage sit-in protest | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Hundreds of police halt garment factory workers from marching to downtown Yangon, as police set deadline for demonstrators to disperse.


About 100 of the 1200 picketing workers set out from a protest camp outside E-Land Myanmar garment factory in Shwe Pyi Thar township for City Hall, where they planned to set up a second camp.


But 90 minutes into the march, 300 police blocked the workers beside the busy Danyingone junction in Insein township.

With the heavy police presence stopping them from continuing their march downtown, the workers staged a sit-in instead.

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Follow us on Twitter @amrc_hongkong

Follow us on Twitter @amrc_hongkong | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Follow us on Twitter @amrc_hongkong

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Labour Resistance in Asia: A Proceeding Report

The two-day meeting focused on understanding and mapping the landscape of labour resistance in Asia in the past decade or so, with a special focus on identifying, in each country, (1) emerging forms of labour resistance, (2) emerging actors and players in new labour movements, and (3) trends in emerging alliance building and collaborative initiatives. The method of exploring these subjects is mainly through the presentation of relevant case studies from each country, contextualized within the larger framework of that country's current labour situation and the history of its labour movement. After which, there was a synthesis and consolidation of the presentations, with attempts to identify (1) commonalities, (2) peculiarities, and, finally, (3) lessons from each experience which could be useful for participants, especially in terms of strategies and tactics in organizing and other modes of engagement, all toward further empowering the ranks of the labour movement.

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The Current Situation concerning Occupational Diseases and Disclosure of Government Information in China

Using relevant literature, we have been trying to understand the current situation concerning occupational diseases in China and to investigate how to improve the situation. However we have found that the information disclosed by the government is very limited. Additional information can be found in medical literature, although it does not provide more basic data, such as the number of cases of different occupational diseases and the gender, occupation and city of patients who have contracted occupational diseases. With such limited resources, it has only been possible to understand the situation by visiting the victims of occupational diseases in hospital.

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S Korea workers in Taipei rally over factory closures

S Korea workers in Taipei  rally over factory closures | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

In a show of solidarity between Taiwanese labor unions and their counterparts in South Korea, scores of protesters yesterday held a rally in Taipei, calling on Taiwan’s E Ink Holdings (EIH) to revoke its decision to shut down two factories owned by Hydis Technologies — an EIH subsidiary in South Korea.

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Low Labor Cost Ranks Burma among Top Countries for Investment

Low Labor Cost Ranks Burma among Top Countries for Investment | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Burma has been named one of the five best countries in the world for cheap labor, making it much more attractive for manufacturing investment than neighbors China and Thailand.


Businesses with supply chains and operations in [Burma], Bangladesh and Cambodia are benefiting from the world’s lowest labor costs.

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S Korea union representatives return to Taipei to protest against factory shutdowns

S Korea union representatives return to Taipei to protest against factory shutdowns | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Union representatives from South Korea’s Hydis Technologies have launched a second wave of protests in Taipei, calling on Taiwan’s E Ink Holdings Inc — of which Hydis is a subsidiary — to revoke its decision to shut down two factories in South Korea. Traversing national boundaries, the heated labor dispute has raged since January, when EIH — which supplies e-paper displays for Amazon.com Inc and Sony Corp — announced its intention to dismiss more than 350 Hydis workers.

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Throwback: The beginnings of the Electronics Industry

Episode #3 of Asian Labour Sessions hosted by Asia Monitor Resource Centre.
 
Guests: 
- Ted Smith, International Coordinator, International Campaign for Responsible Technologies
- Amanda Hawes, Co-founder, WorkSafe USA
- Yvette, former electronics worker
- Sanjiv Pandita, Director, Asia Monitor Resource Centre
 
Check the book: Labour Rights in High Tech Electronics
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Bargaining for Workers’ Power [Hong Kong]

Bargaining for Workers’ Power [Hong Kong] | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Unions have been fighting for collective bargaining rights for Hong Kong's workers for more than a decade. Yet the government and business sector insists that voluntary negotiations are good enough. 

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Migrant worker protest in Taiwan for fairer wages

Migrant worker protest in Taiwan for fairer wages | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

A group of activists and migrant workers protested in Taipei on March 12 urging the government to meet Indonesian demands for better treatment of its workers in Taiwan. More than 30 protesters from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand demonstrated outside the Legislative Yuan, holding placards emblazoned with the word "anti-slavery" and shouting slogans such as "minimum wage for all." Some of the protesters chained themselves together and wore signs that read "slaves" on their clothes to protest long working hours and unfairly low wages.

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The Challenge to Electronics Industry

The Challenge to Electronics Industry | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Over 200 civil society groups from 40 countries across the globe are challenging the electronics industry to improve their act on chemicals management during production

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Claiming March 8: A Road to Women Empowerment (video talk)

Episode #2 of Asian Labour Sessions: Claiming March 8: A Road to Women Empowerment


Guests:
Shahnaz Iqbal from Labour Education Foundation, Pakistan
Dian Septi from Federasi Buruh Lintas Pabrik, Indonesia
Dolores Balladares-Pelaez from United Filipinos in Hong Kong
Christal Chan from Asia Monitor Resource Centre

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Working Women of Asia 2015 Photo Contest

Working Women of Asia 2015 Photo Contest | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
As we celebrate International Working Women’s Day on March 8, we are happy to announce the launching of the Working Women of Asia 2015 photo contest. We are inviting everybody to join and help in making women at work visible. The Working Women of Asia 2015 aims to highlight the invaluable contribution of women to society and their diverse kinds of work. In this photo contest we invite photographs that feature marginalised women workers in their work environment, their community, or their own homes. Join us. 

All entries must be submitted in digital format via email. Send entry to womenatwork@amrc.org.hk.  

For more detail, please visit: http://amrc.org.hk/content/working-women-asia-2015-photo-contest
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Urgent Action: A farmer and environmental defenders activist in Indonesia murdered by Security Force

Urgent Action: A farmer and environmental defenders activist in Indonesia murdered by Security Force | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

A farmer and environmental defenders activist in Indonesia murdered by Security Force of PT. WKS (Wirakarya Sakti), a subsidiary of APP (Asia Pulp and Paper – Sinar Mas Group).


For further information, please visit http://www.walhi.or.id/urgent-action.html 


Please support the struggle and send your protest letter to the following institutions:

  

Mr. Joko Widodo

President of Republic Indonesia

State Palace

Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara

Jakarta Pusat 10010

INDONESIA
Fax: + 62 21 2314138, 3452685, 3457782

 

Komjen. Pol Badrodin Haiti

Indonesian Police Chief

Jl. Trunojoyo No.3

INDONESIA
Tel/faks: +62 21-7218144

Email: polri@polri.go.id


Hafidz Abbas

Chairman of National Human Rights Commission

Jl. Latuharhary No.4B, Menteng

Central Jakarta 10310 – Indonesia

Fax: 021-3925227


Brigjen Pol. Drs. Satriya Hari Prasetya, SH

Jl. Jend Sudirman No. 45 Jambi

Telp. +62 741?22025

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Asian Labour Leadership Conference: A Proceeding Report

Asian Labour Leadership Conference: A Proceeding Report | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Over the course of three days, panel members and participants of Asian Labour Leadership Conference mapped the landscape of Asian labour with a special focus on experiences of resistance and solidarity building. Through presentations of history, relevant trends, and important case studies, the participants of the conference identified commonalities and peculiarities in the experiences of particular countries, toward a better understanding of the all-encompassing and globalised nature of the challenges that labour movements in the region face. Wide-ranging issues like minimum wage, anti-labour legislation, and human rights violations, were taken side by side with specific concerns, like the question of gender in trade unions, the plight of migrant workers, and collective bargaining in socialist countries such as China and Vietnam, among others. In the end, with a better and consolidated idea of the nature of resistance in Asia, there was a consensus among participants to continue with existing campaigns while seeking out an altogether new paradigm for the labour movement, in terms of alternatives to what exists today.

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Call for Paper - Asian Labour Review

Call for Paper - Asian Labour Review | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

The editors of Asian Labour Review welcome submissions of paper from those who work for different research institutions, universities, development agencies, NGOs and think-thanks, and trade unions, but also from individual researchers in national and international labour and solidarity movements, international campaigning and private-led development initiatives on labour standards.


For the first issue, papers must be received by 15 August 2015. Papers should be emailed to ALR editors at editor@asianlabourreview.org


More about Asian Labour Review, please visit: http://asianlabourreview.org/

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Myanmar Garment Workers Threaten Further Strikes if Demands Are Not Met

Myanmar Garment Workers Threaten Further Strikes if Demands Are Not Met | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Garment workers in Myanmar protesting over pay and factory conditions threatened to continue strikes Tuesday unless their demands are met and authorities release two of their representatives detained earlier this month.


The promise to continue the nearly month-long strikes against Costec International, E-Land Myanmar and Ford Glory Garment in Yangon's Shwepyithar Industrial Zone, came despite government warnings on Monday that "action" would be taken against protesters.


Around 2,000 workers from the three garment factories, which are reportedly owned by Chinese and South Korean firms, have been on strike since Feb. 2 to demand a raise in monthly wages to 80,000 kyats (U.S. $78).


As many as 200,000 people work in garment factories in Myanmar, according to the MGMA, while the Labor Rights Clinic reports the average garment employee is female, aged 24, and works six days a week and 13 hours per day for around U.S. $80 per month.

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Japan's top union body aims for biggest pay rise in 20 years

Japan's top union body aims for biggest pay rise in 20 years | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Japan's peak body for labor unions said it will seek the biggest increase in monthly wages in more than two decades as it makes inflation the key point in annual spring pay negotiations. 

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