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Labour News Across Asia
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Support Bangladeshi Garment Workers - November 30, 2012

Support Bangladeshi Garment Workers - November 30, 2012 | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Pictures - Protest Action in front of Li & Fung, Hong Kong

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Myanmar Security Forces Use Incendiary Devices in Raid on Protest Camp

Myanmar Security Forces Use Incendiary Devices in Raid on Protest Camp | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
The action was the largest crackdown on protesters since the civilian government of President Thein Sein came to power 20 months ago, and analysts say it could hurt the popularity of the president.
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Samsung Working Conditions In China May Be Illegal, Labor Rights Group Says

Samsung Working Conditions In China May Be Illegal, Labor Rights Group Says | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
SEOUL, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Samsung came under renewed criticism from a rights group on Tuesday for illegal work practices at its Chinese suppliers, a day after the South Korean electronics giant admitted excessive overtime and fines for employees in China.

A number of foreign companies have been accused in recent years of improper labour practices in China, seen as a cheap source of labour for their production lines.

New York-based China Labor Watch (CLW) said employees at one of Samsung's suppliers sometimes worked up to 16 hours a day, with only one day's rest a month.

Samsung Electronics Co, the world's largest maker of cell phones and televisions, said on Monday a review of 105 of its Chinese suppliers - involving more than 65,000 employees - found illegal work practices, but said the companies involved would be given two more years to change their ways.

The audit followed allegations by CLW in August that seven children younger than 16 were working in one of Samsung's suppliers in China.

Samsung said the audit had found no evidence of child labour.

It did, however, concede several instances of inadequate practices, such as overtime hours in excess of legal regulations and the imposition of a system of fines for tardiness or absence.
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ATNC Statement to the Fire at the Factory of Tazreen Fashions Killing over Hundreds in Bangladesh

Besides conveying our deepest condolence and concerns to all victims, Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network (ATNC) is calling for an immediate action from the Bangladeshi government and international clothing brands following the deadly fire at the factory of Tazreen Fashions on late Saturday, 24 November 2012.

At least 112 deaths are confirmed and hundreds of workers injured when they jumped from high windows in order to escape the smoke and flames. These killed and injured workers made clothes for Hong Kong-based Li & Fung on behalf of various international brands, such as C & A, Carrefour, KIK and Walmart.

Li & Fung is one of the largest apparel sourcing companies in the world. Regrettably, this multinational enterprise has a poor track record of not respecting labour rights for many years. Despite the company’s vow to comply with their codes of conducts and corporate social responsibility throughout the production and sourcing process, injustices and deadly accidents continue to happen. Before this deadly factory fire inBangladesh, a Turkish garment factory called Hey Tekstil which produced for Li & Fung was also found of having an outbreak of workers’ protest this year. Hundreds of workers, who are owed more than 4.7 million euro, protested at Li & Fung office inIstanbulto demand for compensation. However, the compensation is yet undone. Adding more wounds to workers, theBangladeshfire once again revealed the negligence and irresponsibility of Li & Fung in upholding labour rights.

Li & Fung and the international buyers such as Walmart and C & A have an undeniable responsibility in compensating the workers. Let us be clear. Playing a blame game with other parts of the supply chain is in violation of the UN Business and Human Rights guidelines. All the companies concerned should uphold their due diligence and their obligation to mediate.

ATNC demands:-

1. Li & Fung and other international buyers of Tazreen Factory should pay full and fair compensation to the victims and their families.

2. Li & Fung and other international brand companies should be obliged to comply with national and international health and safety measures, whichever is a higher standard, in a serious manner through their annual audit on the health and safety standards.

3. The manufacturers as well as the international brand companies should ensure all the supply-chain factories are manufacturing under the satisfactory working conditions where both national and international health and safety standards are strictly not violated. Any improvements should be carried out.

4. The Bangladeshi Government to set up an independent and transparent body to investigate the causes of this fire and to examine whether there is any ongoing negligence in failing to comply with both national and international health and safety standards to garment factories. The Government should take appropriate legal action to prosecute when necessary. Also, this body should look into the redress for all victims.

Should there be any enquiries, please contact the spokesperson of ATNC, Mr. Jason Chan on +852 2815-9003 or email at coordinator@atnc.asia.
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Statement: National Garments Workers Federation, Bangladesh

Statement: National Garments Workers Federation, Bangladesh | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
National Garments Workers Federation
Central Office : 31 / F Topkhana Road. Dhaka-1000
Mailing : G.P.O Box : 864, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Phone : 7160110, 01911 340268, Fax : 88 02 7171711, E-mail : ngwf@dhaka.net Date : 27.11.2012


Factory owners, Government, Buyers and BGMEA should take effective step so that in future not a single garment worker has to die in factory-fire. We do not want to see such incident, which workers return to their home as dead body after they came to work. So, the garment factories should be developed as ‘safe workplace’. Factory owners, Government, Buyers and trade union organizations should work together for this. NGWF leaders this today.

They said this while addressing a garment workers gathering—before black & red flag mourning & protest procession—organized by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) to protest the killing of 125 workers in Tazreen Garment factory-fire at Ashulia & to pay tributes to the deceased workers and demanding greater compensation (as per definition of loss of earnings) to deceased workers families, necessary medical treatment to injured workers and developing garment industry into safe workplace. The program was held at 12:00noons in front of National Press Club in Dhaka city. More than 1,000 garment workers took part in the program.

The program was presided over by NGWF President Amirul Haque Amin. The rally was addressed by Workers Party (WP) President Rashed Khan Menon MP, WP General Secretary Anisur Rahman Mallick, WP Polit Bureau member Fazle Hossain Badsha MP, SKOP Coordinator Dr Wazedul Islam Khan, Bangladesh Juba Moitree General Secretary Sabbah Ali Khan Collins, Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council Coordinator M Delowar Hossain, NGWF Gerneral Secretary Ms Saifa Parveen, Vice-President Md Faruk Khan, Ms Sultana Akter, Md Kabir Hossain and Md Rafiq, among others.
The speakers told the rally that the 125 garment workers, who died in Tazreen Garment fire, died due to negligence of the factory owners. So, this nothing but killing of workers in owner’s negligence. They demanded immediate trial & punishment the factory owner for the responsibility of this killing.

At the rally the NGWF announced a 7-point charter of demands, which is follows:

1) Family of the each of the deceased workers should be paid greater compensation as definition of loss of earnings. Responsibility of paying this compensation lies with the factory owner, multinational companies, who were sourcing from the factory, government and BGMEA.

2) Urgent arrangement of necessary medical treatment to injured workers.

3) Punishment of the persons, including factory owner, responsible for the fire incident after identifying the perpetrators of the offense through conducting a neutral enquiry.

4) The whole garment sector in Bangladesh should be developed into ‘safe workplace’. Factory owners, buyers, government and labor organizations should work together for this.

5) Ensuring unhindered trade union right and CBA facilities for the garment workers.

6) Implementation of law of the land, including Labor Law, in garment industry.

7) Suppressing, in iron hand, any move by any quarters to destabilize the country using the garment sector.

Meanwhile, 1) NGWF brought out a black-flag mourning procession on 25.11.2012 to express grief at the death of 125 garment workers in Tazreen Garments fire. 2) On 26.2012 NGWF, Bangladesh National Committee (BNC) & Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council (BGUWC) another black flag mourning procession was took out in Dhaka city for Tazreen Garment fire deaths. Besides, NGWF is maintaining contacts with the families of the dead workers and injured workers.

Press Secretary, NGWF. Bangladesh
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Thousands protest after Bangladesh fire traps workers, kills at least 112

Thousands protest after Bangladesh fire traps workers, kills at least 112 | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Thousands of Bangladeshi workers blocked the streets of a Dhaka suburb Monday, throwing stones at factories and smashing vehicles, as they demanded justice for at least 112 people killed in a garment-factory fire that highlighted unsafe conditions in an industry rushing to produce for major retailers around the world.
Another fire broke out in a multi-story garment factory in a Dhaka suburb on Monday, but a fire department official said the blaze was under control and there were no immediate reports that anyone had died in the latest blaze.
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Chinese bus drivers in Singapore in rare labour protest

SINGAPORE, Nov 26 (Reuters) - At least 100 Chinese busdrivers in Singapore refused to go to work on Monday to protestagainst changes to their employment terms, media said, in a rareshow of defiance...
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Bangladesh: agreement on fire safety in textiles required

Together with the unions in the Asia Pacific region, IndustriALL Global Union will put pressure on governments to properly enforce national laws on health and safety issues in general and on fire safety in particular. IndustriALL Global Union demands that:

Governments must play a critical role in long-term, sustainable change by updating laws and implementing regulations, improving factory inspections, and establishing the tripartite framework necessary for appropriate relations between employer and labour stakeholders. Factory owners and operators must commit to facilitate and support a continuing cycle of safety management based on ongoing dialogue between management and trade unions or worker elected representatives. Brand owners and retailers must verify that the factories they use comply with applicable safety standards and must ensure that their pricing and sourcing practices make this feasible.

http://www.industriall-union.org/bangladesh-agreement-on-fire-safety-in-textiles-required-0

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[Vietnam] Discrimination at industrial parks

[Vietnam] Discrimination at industrial parks | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Since 2006, at industrial parks in the southern province of Binh Duong, the discrimination against workers from Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh has become pretty strong, causing many difficulties for the laborers from these central provinces.

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Vietnam to raise minimum wage by 10 pct in July

Instead of keeping wages unchanged, Vietnam’s legislators on Saturday approved a plan by the finance ministry to raise minimum wage by nearly 10 percent, or VND100,000 (US$4.8) a month, starting in July of next year.

The minimum wage for state employees, will be increased from the current VND1.05 million a month, as was suggested by the Finance Ministry on October 31.

Earlier the ministry had proposed keeping the current wage unchanged throughout next year, citing the low budget that did not achieve its targets in terms of alleviating poverty or reducing unemployment.

But many legislators objected, arguing that wage increase would boost consumption and save the economy.

Previously, Vietnam had planned to raise minimum wage to VND1.3 million in May 2013.

To even afford the more modest increase, the assembly on Saturday called on the government to impose standards of strict frugality in terms of spending and to vigorously control corruption.

It asked the government to save money on festivals, conferences, car purchases and travel trips for officials.

Deputies at the session also asked the government to maintain current prices on consumer goods and that raising them would render the wage increase neglible.

Increasing the minimum wage will drain the state budget of VND20.7 trillion ($993 million), of which local authorities will have to contribute VND3.3 trillion.

Approximately 8.3 million employees and retirees of state agencies stand to receive a boost in salary.

The Labor Ministry has said wages in the business sector will be increased by between 25 and 36 percent in May, from the current VND1.4-2 million depending on region.

The government is less concerned about the wage increase within the business sector because that burden will fall largely on enterprises.
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[Bangladesh] RMG workers stage demo for outstanding salary at CEPZ

[Bangladesh] RMG workers stage demo for outstanding salary at CEPZ | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Several hundred workers of a readymade garment factory at Chittagong Export Processing Zone staged demonstration Thursday morning demanding payment of their outstanding salaries.
CEPZ sources said authorises of the ready made garment North Pool BD Limited, which remained closed for the past three months, were scheduled to pay outstanding salaries to the workers in the morning.
Ranjir Roy, a sub-inspector at the Bandar police station, said the workers staged demonstration in front of the factory, as the authorities failed to make the payment as per prior schedule.
Later, the workers left the spot, as the authorities pledged to make the payment on November 27 following police intervention, he said.
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IndustriALL inspired by Indonesian trade union victory | Industriall

IndustriALL inspired by Indonesian trade union victory | Industriall | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
IndustriALL is celebrating a significant victory of its Indonesian affiliates in the campaign against outsourcing and low wages.

Pressure on the Indonesian government from the strategic, large-scale trade union campaign of lobbying, mobilization and action resulted in new legislation on outsourcing enacted on 21 November.
The victory restricts outsourcing in Indonesia to five sectors, namely: security, canteen, cleaning services, transport, and mining services.
IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina saluted the Indonesian comrades for their impressive victory:
Once again you show what can be achieved with a well-planned strategy and mobilization. You are an example and inspiration to our whole global union family.
The powerful Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers' Union FSPMI led by president Said Iqbal played a leading role in the campaign. Iqbal is also chairman of trade union confederation KSPI and had led the creation of a new workers' council (MPBI) that unites the three major trade union confederations in Indonesia (KSPI, KSBSI, and KSPSI). This unity has built strength.
An estimated 35 per cent of Indonesia’s 118 million workforce are precarious workers. The new government regulation will change the status of an estimated 16 to 20 million workers from outsourced to permanent employment. Any contract worker employed in the same job for three years or more must now be given permanent employment status.
The second substantial achievement of the trade union campaign, also reported today, is industrial agreements increasing the minimum wage across most of Indonesia’s industrial area. The minimum wage in Jakarta, Bekasi, Bogor, Karawang, Sidoarjo, Mojokerto, Batam have been set for the year 2013, with average 40.2 per cent increase. For example, in Jakarta the minimum wage will be raised from US$157 to US$230. Average increases to the minimum wage in recent years have been on average 20-30 per cent.
Inflation and economic growth are high in Indonesia, but these large increases in minimum wages move forward the union goal of bringing salaries in Indonesia in line with those in China, Malaysia and Thailand by 2016. Indonesia is ranked 16 in the world in terms of GDP, but 69 in terms of wages.
Last month, the three national trade union centres, KSPI, KSBSI and KSPSI mobilized three million workers in massive demonstrations against precarious work. The marchers, who set the bar high for the 7 October World Day for Decent Work, demanded a halt to outsourcing which was reducing workers’ salaries and benefits. Unions in the 3 October manifestations called on the government to restrict outsourcing to the five sectors stated in the legislation.
Upcoming targets for the trade union activists include government implementation of health care insurance in January 2014 and pension protection by 2015.
IndustriALL calls attention now to the importance of full implementation of the new outsourcing legislation.
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The growing global movement against austerity

Amaia Engana didn't wait to be evicted from her home. On Nov. 9, in the town of Barakaldo, a suburb of Bilbao in Spain's Basque Country, officials from the local judiciary were on their way to serve her eviction papers. Amaia stood on a chair and threw herself out of her fifth-floor apartment window, dying instantly on impact on the sidewalk below.
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Support Bangladeshi Garment Workers - November 30, 2012

Support Bangladeshi Garment Workers - November 30, 2012 | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Pictures - Protest Action in front of Li & Fung, Hong Kong

http://amrc.org.hk/node/1292


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Singapore charges organizers of rare strike

Four Chinese immigrant workers who organized Singapore's first strike in nearly three decades were charged Thursday with instigating labor unrest.
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Singapore’s first strike in nearly 3 decades highlights strains from foreign worker influx

SINGAPORE — Singapore responded to its first strike in nearly three decades with riot police and strident official criticism of the disgruntled Chinese immigrant workers, highlighting strains from an influx of foreign labor.
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Myanmar activists held over latest copper mine protest

YANGON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Police in Myanmar have arrestedsix leaders of the latest protest against the planned expansionof a Chinese-run copper mine, with opposition leader Aung SanSuu Kyi planning...
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In Indonesia and Malaysia, as demand for palm oil grows, so do environmental, labor concerns

The huge global appetite is yielding billions in revenue for Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s first- and second-largest producers of palm oil. But environmental and human rights activists warn that the boom is doing irreparable damage to rare biodiversity and accelerating the effects of global warming, with no concern for long-term social costs.

They add that indigenous people are being pushed off their ancestral land to make way for plantations staffed by tens of thousands of migrant workers, who are often denied health care and education services. Many families that have labored for decades still do not have the legal documents that would grant them and their children basic rights.

The laborers and their children “are invisible; they have no future. They just work and work and work,” said Alison Neri, the director of a social welfare organization that assists Indonesian migrants in eastern Malaysia.

The toll is most acutely felt in Borneo, the Southeast Asian island shared by the two countries that’s home to one of the oldest rain forests on Earth and humankind’s closest relative, the orangutan.

According to a new study, oil palm plantations over the past two decades have cleared about 6,200 square miles of primary and logged forested lands. Palm oil deforestation and hunting have combined to cut Bornean orangutan populations down to 54,000, half the total of the 1980s, according to environmental groups. At this rate, some predict the iconic animal could be extinct within a matter of years.
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Samsung says China suppliers violated overtime regulations

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest maker of TVs and mobile phones, said an internal audit of suppliers in China found “inadequate practices” that include employees working more overtime than allowed by law.
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Bangladesh Factory Fire Sparks Outrage

Bangladesh Factory Fire Sparks Outrage | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
A fire engulfed a garment factory in Bangladesh that manufactured garments for Li & Fung Ltd., killing at least 120 workers and raising concerns about working conditions at plants that manufacture goods for the Hong Kong-based sourcing giant.
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[Vietnam] Why workers from some central provinces “boycotted?”

[Vietnam] Why workers from some central provinces “boycotted?” | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Recently, employers in big cities have latently boycott laborers coming from the three central province of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh. In HCM City, the largest city in Vietnam; this
situation is no exception.

 

Ho Chi Minh City has 15 export processing zones (EPZs) and industrial parks (IPs) with hundreds of companies. Each year more workers from other provinces flock to the city to find job. However, in recent time many businesses have latently "avoided" workers from the three above provinces. Consequently, thousands of workers from these provinces have become jobless.


In Linh Trung 2 EPZ in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City, each month tens of companies recruit thousands of workers but the refuse to use laborers from Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh.

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Cynthia Kaufman, "Getting Past Capitalism: History, Vision, Hope", Lexington Books, 2012

Cynthia Kaufman, "Getting Past Capitalism: History, Vision, Hope", Lexington Books, 2012

For people who oppose capitalism, what use are elections? Does it make sense to work to reform the capitalist system, or is more drastic action necessary? And by what mechanisms and forms of agency does capitalism perpetuate itself? In a new book Cynthia Kaufman offers a nuanced account of capitalism that, she claims, must inform efforts to challenge it.
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[Thailand] 17,000 nurses threaten to go on strike

[Thailand] 17,000 nurses threaten to go on strike | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
17,000 nurses threaten to go on strike The Nation Network calls for contract workers to be given permanent status right away...
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Are US corporations exploiting their workers?

Are US corporations exploiting their workers? | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
We ask if American workers are being punished for the bad business practices of their bosses.
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Walmart and Black Friday protests

Walmart and Black Friday protests | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Protests against Walmart are about a ruthless capitalist system that exploits workers as MNCs post record profits.
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