A tuna processing factory in Thailand says it has begun compensating workers in a dispute over unpaid wages and alleged abuse.
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:
A strike last week involving almost 1,500 workers, was believed to have been the final straw which led to negotiations with company representatives. Military officers, government officials and migrant worker leaders also joined negotiations, reaching an agreement late Monday evening.
According to The Nation, a strike also happened in November, but talks at the time fell through. The company pulled out of negotiations, insisting the dispute be resolved through the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.
As of this time, negotiations are ongoing but some, including Andy Hall, believe the workers have not been given equal footing.
Migrant workers, many of them Burmese, are often subject to extraordinary discrimination, abuse, and even scapegoating in Thailand. They are often paid far less than the minimum wage (300 baht per day, or US$8 - 9), and made to work longer hours than legally allowed.
Last December, two Burmese workers were convicting of murdering two British tourists on Koh Tao island. But many, especially in neighboring Burma (Myanmar) believe the workers to be mere scapegoats.
An ongoing attempt by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. to outsource risk to an army of smaller contractors has proven dangerous as four workers are now at risk of losing vision due to exposure to gasified methanol while on the job. The four workers, all temporary employees in their twenties at a Samsung supplier, suffered irreversible…
Two people were killed and at least three others injured on Tuesday after law enforcement personnel allegedly opened fire at employees of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) protesting near the Jinnah International airport in Karachi against privatization of the national flag carrier.
Five people, including the cameraman of a local TV channel and four PIA workers, were earlier reported to have been injured in the clash between protesting PIA workers and law enforcement personnel.
But officials at a private hospital later confirmed that one injured person brought to the hospital died during treatment, while another body was brought for autopsy. One of the deceased was identified as Anayat Raza.
The incident came a day after the prime minister enforced the Essential Services Maintenance Act 1952 for six months in an effort to block the impending strike.
A labor nongovernment organization has condemned the retrenchment of 11 employees of Planters Development Bank, which is now owned by Henry Sy, in an apparent move to weaken the local union and replace regular janitors and messengers with contractual workers.
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER) said 11 messengers and janitors, who have worked for the bank for an average of 20 years and whose security of tenure were fought for by the union, were dismissed last Dec. 30 amid negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
EILER said most of the 11 retrenched workers are union officers.
Five days after going on strike, hundreds of workers from PT Amtek Engineering in Batam, Riau Islands, finally returned to work on Friday, after the Apple subcontractor agreed to meet the workers’ demand to drop a plan to change the company’s name.
The strike, which paralyzed the company’s operation, concluded after an eight-hour mediation meeting between company executives and workers’ representatives on Thursday. The meeting produced six points of agreement, including an agreement that the company would scrap the plan to change the company’s name to Interplex.
PT Amtek, a Singaporean firm, has been in operation in Batam since 1996, carrying out metal stamping and forming services. It has an investment value of US$60 million.
The company became a subcontractor for California-based multinational technology company Apple after the former bought Interplex, a company based in the US, in July last year.
Soon after the takeover, Amtek’s parent company, Singapore-based Amtek Engineering Ltd., officially changed its name to Interplex Holdings Ltd.
PT Amtek was preparing to do the same but the company received opposition from workers who feared that the company’s name change would put their service period back to zero.
Indonesian workers and unions request our solidarity and support in demanding the government to revoke the wage regulation No.78/2015. This new wage regulation restricts the wage increase and workers participation in its decision making process. Thousands of workers have been on strikes in many cities. There are also calls for general strikes.
In response to the situation, Asian TNCs Monitoring Network extends its support and solidarity to the struggle of workers and unions in Indonesia.
In solidarity and struggle (ATNC Monitoring Network)
Cambodia's parliament approved a disputed trade union law on Monday without making changes demanded by labor groups and the opposition, who decried it as too strict and designed to limit workers' rights.
China aims to lay off 5-6 million state workers over the next two to three years as part of efforts to curb industrial overcapacity and pollution, two reliable sources said, Beijing's boldest retrenchment program in almost two decades.
China said on Monday it expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel industries, or about 15 percent of the workforce, as part of efforts to reduce industrial overcapacity, but no timeframe was given.
Electronic Industry, Factory Workers, labour reforms
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:
We live in a world where movement of capital and corporations across national borders is facilitated, but differential labour protection standards in different countries are allowed to prevail, so that businesses can take advantage of them. For example, as Nokia closed its handset manufacturing unit, Microsoft (the new owner of Nokia) was setting up a handset plant in Hanoi, Vietnam where the wages are lower. This dichotomy is now being reproduced within India as states compete with one another in a race to the bottom.
Mega-port will bring five-star hotels and Chinese access to Arabian Sea, as residents in conflict-torn province contend with lack of water and food
Gwadar is poor. When a house was recently burgled in the fishing settlement on Pakistan’s desert coast, the only items stolen were cans of fresh water – a staple that has soared in value since reservoirs dried up. It lies in Balochistan, a province in the grip of a long-running separatist insurgency and Pakistan’s most neglected.
Yet local officials dream of a future where Gwadar becomes a second Shenzhen, the Chinese trade hub bordering Hong Kong. Visitors are told that with Chinese investment the small settlement will become a major node of world commerce boasting car factories, Pakistan’s biggest airport and a string of five-star resort hotels along Gwadar’s sparkling seafront.
But residents are aghast, and not just because the fishing community, long settled on the neck of the peninsula, will be moved to new harbours up to 40km away.
Awami Workers Party Pakistan condemns murder of PIA workers in Karachi
The Awami Workers Party strongly condemns state violence against workers of the Pakistan International Airlines on Tuesday in which at least two workers in Karachi were killed and scores were tear-gassed, beaten up and injured. The AWP also condemns the imposition of the barbaric Essential Services Maintenance Act to stamp out the workers’ right to protest for their rights. The party has called for a protest in solidarity with PIA workers at Charing Cross at 3pm on February 3.
It is necessary to point out that all regimes have attempted to privatise PIA and exploit it for their own political and economic interests.The reasons given to us for the privatisation of the national carrier - incompetence, wasteful expenditure, declining service standards, gross mismanagement - are a result of usurious myopic policies of successive regimes.
Yet, all research into the privatization of public assets since the 90s demonstrates how the process has been marred by corruption, cronyism, asset-stripping, as well as aggravating social problems such as unemployment. In bizarre irony, the political elite of the country, which has used public institutions for financial gains and petty electoral considerations, have been handed over the responsibility of overseeing the “transparent handing over” of Pakistan’s national assets. Without an accountability process of the highly dubious previous privatization projects, once again, it is the ordinary workers and ordinary citizens who will face the brunt of the elite’s economic mismanagement.
More importantly, if crucial policy decisions affecting millions of citizens are not presented in front of the public for a thorough debate,and instead are decided by technocrats from the IMF, it will raise serious questions on the efficacy of a parliament allegedly representing the “will of the people”.
The government’s attempts to bundle-off and privatise segments of the Water and Power Development Authority have only served to highlight the failure of a neoliberal capitalist system.
The argument that privatisation will make ‘lumbering’ state-owned enterprises more efficient has fallen on its own merit with the case of power supply companies. Yet the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government is going ahead with an aggressive gamble in privatising the PIA.
The brunt of this failed experiment being repeated over and over again falls on the workers. Now with the right to strike and protest taken away, the space to even demonstrate dissent against these myopic policies is being stamped out.
The AWP demands that the government revoke the draconian Essential Services Maintenance Act and holds the government and rangers accountable for the usage of force against the workers.
The AWP demands an immediate end to failed austerity and privatisation policies and expresses complete solidarity with the striking workers who are demanding nothing but a life of dignity.
The problems faced by women workers in the Philippines vary across sectors. Sexual harassment is more pronounced in the broadcast and hospital and healthcare than in other industries. In the garments manufacturing industries, women workers complain about poor ventilation. On the other hand, in hotels and restaurants, women’s issues are centred on the unjust treatment of women who have just gone through pregnancy. They are usually forced to go back to work even if the maternity leave is not fully utilised yet. Women workers in the metal working industry raise OSH and job security issues like poor ventilation, personal protective equipment, exposure to chemicals, limited mobility, heavy physical work, and short-term contract arrangements.
Although some unions are able to secure the rights of women workers, there is still much to be done. For instance, unions try to fight for the inclusion in collective bargaining agreements of women workers’ rights that are not legally mandatory such as menstrual leaves, lactation spaces, safe working environment, and day care for the children of workers. Meanwhile, unions are also expected to be able to negotiate for better terms of maternity leaves and benefits, work hours and compensation, and health and gynaecological services. Mere knowledge of the laws for women does not guarantee union representatives the ability to effectively articulate the interest of women workers; union members and leaders should be educated constantly to increase awareness on women’s issues and rights and enhance gender sensitivity.
Disruption as a result of new technology is not novel, even in a capitalist economy, like the steam engine and the spinning jenny in the olden times, or the more recent development of robotics in the 1970’s or computers in the 1980’s. All the new technologies disrupted the existing processes and the early adaptors benefitted from the technological advantage over the competition. In short, they make a lot of money by being hipsters. Just check how big AirBnB is now compared to traditional hotel chains and one can see how this sharing economy is making a lot of profit for a few people, while those who provide the service remains part of the precariat. So what happened to the whole idea of sharing? Disrupted.
This education module on capital mobility explains the capitalist crisis, and assesses the impact of capital mobility on workers and trade unions. The module also provides stories of workers in the global supply chains and their struggles.
On 24 and 25 Nov 2015, workers assembled during General Strike at Nusantara Bonded Zone, in Cakung, East Jakarta, Indonesia. The strike has disrupted the operation of the zone, known as one of the workplaces that are most exploitative with slave-like working condition.
Nusantara Bonded Zone, established in 1986, is the oldest Indonesia’s Export Processing Zone (EPZ). EPZs, historically often labelled Free Trade Zones (FTZs), and more recently, Special Economic Zones (SEZs), have been and continue to be one of the most striking phenomena in the global capitalist system.
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