Asian Labour Update
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Asian Labour Update
Labour News Across Asia
Curated by AMRC Hong Kong
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Garment workers’ symbolic hunger strike held

Garment workers’ symbolic hunger strike held | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Demands: immediate arrest & trial of Tazreen Fashion’s owner & other culprits of factory fire, payment of wages-allowances & compensation to 15,000 workers of Hallmark Group, placing and passing in Parliament the amendment to Labour welfare foundation act and Labour law, establishing ‘safe workplace’ in garment sector and implementation of free trade union rights. Several hundred Garment workers observed symbolic hunger strike today, January 4, 2013 demanding immediate arrest & trial of Tazreen Fashion’s owner & other culprits for responsibility in killing of 112 workers in factory fire, payment of wages-allowances & compensation to 15,000 workers of Hallmark Group, placing and passing in Parliament the amendment to Labour welfare foundation act and Labour law, establishing ‘safe workplace’ in garment sector and implementation of free trade union rights. Organized by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), the symbolic hunger strike was held in front of National Press Club in Dhaka city from 11:00am to 12:00 noon. NGWF President Amirul Haque Amin presided over the program was addressed by General Secretary Ms Safia Parveen, central leader Md Faruk Khan & Ms Sultana Akter. General Secretary of Workers Party of Bangladesh Comrade Anisur Rahman Mallick, Coordinator of SKOP Dr Wazedul Islam Khan, former General Secretary of Jatiya Sramik League & Chairman of BNC Babu Roy Romesh, Babul Akter, Md Rafiq, Jahanara Begum and Mohammad Ali addressed the program expressing solidarity with the hunger strikers. 1. The NGWF at the program warned to announce to submit memorandum to Home Ministry if all culprits, including owner of Tazreen Fashion, are not arrested immediately for their responsibility in killing 112 garment workers in factory on November 24,2012. The speakers demanded publication of list of workers, who were killed in Tazreen fire, arrangement of proper medical treatment for the injured and payment of compensation on the basis of ‘Loss of earnings’. 2. The speakers demanded immediate payment wages, allowances & compensation to 15,000 workers of Hallmark Group, which the owners closed down sine die on October 10, 2012. The owner of Hallmark Group was arrested for a massive bank scam through which he squandered taka 27 billion bank money. In case of non-compliance of the demand, memorandum will be submitted to concerned ministries, including the Labour Ministry. 3. From the program, the Government was urged to place & pass in Parliament the amendment to the Labour Welfare Foundation Act 2006 since the law was incomplete. 4. The Government was also urged to pace & pass in Parliament the amendment to the Bangladesh Labour Law 2006. The workers will be forced to announce tougher action program if the amendments to the laws were not carried out accordingly. 5. The speakers demanded from the program that factory owners, Government, BGMEA and buyers should ensure ‘safe workplace’ in garment sector so that not a single worker dies in factory fire or accident in the future. Besides, all foreign companies, who source RMG products from Bangladesh, should sign the memorandum of understanding on health& safety. 6. Stressing the need for accepting trade union rights as a basic right of the Garment workers, the program demanded implementation to this demand. Press Secretary, NGWF
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Workers want political undertaking for their rights | Free Malaysia Today

Workers want political undertaking for their rights | Free Malaysia Today | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
PETALING JAYA: Several workers union and workers rights NGOs are joining hands under a coalition to make a demand for a political u...
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

Several workers union and workers rights NGOs are joining hands under a coalition to make a demand for a political undertaking from all political parties that workers’ rights and welfare will be taken care of. The coalition is called Malaysian Workers Network (MWN). It is made up of six workers union and workers rights NGOs along with members of the civil society.MWN is made up of Opressed People’s Network (Jerit), National Union of Bank Employees (Nube), Telecommunication Workers Union (TWU), National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW) and other unions.

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Unions threaten strike if minimum wage not raised to $150 - The cambodia herald

Unions threaten strike if minimum wage not raised to $150 - The cambodia herald | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
The Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions has threatened a general strike if minimum wages are not raised from $61 to $150 a month.
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Garment Workers Red Flag Procession related to Tarzeen Fashion Fire

Garment Workers Red Flag Procession related to Tarzeen Fashion Fire | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Garment workers red-flag procession held to ensure punishment to culprits, including factory owner, of Tazreen Fashion firing after bringing them under law as per Home Ministry enquiry report, correct list of dead & injured workers, necessary medical treatment, compensation as per loss of earning and “safe workplace”. None of the culprits, including factory owner, who were responsible for the Tazreen Fashion fire that killed 112 workers on November 24, 2012 were not yet arrested & brought to book although the Home Ministry enquiry report blamed them for the incident and recommended to punish them as per law. On the other hand, correct list of dead & injured workers were not prepared, engineering were being seen in payment of compensation and move were on to shelve the whole tragedy. So, Garment workers red-flag rally & procession held demanding punishment to culprits, including factory owner, of Tazreen Fashion firing after bringing them under law as per Home Ministry enquiry report, correct list of dead & wounded workers, necessary medical treatment, compensation as per loss of earning and “safe workplace”. Organized by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka city at 11am today—December 21 Friday. Presided over by NGWF President Amirul Haque Amin, the rally was addressed by General Secretary Ms Safia Parveen, Ms Sultana Akter and Md Kabir Hossain. Coordinator of Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council Md Delwar Hossain spoke at the rally expressing solidarity with the workers. Speakers at the rally alleged that none among the culprits, against whom the Home Ministry enquiry report recommended punishment as per 304 (a) of the Bangladesh Penal Code, were arrested & brought to book. Engineering were being done regarding the number of the dead & injured workers and in payment of compensation. Besides, moves are on to shelve the entire Tazreen Fashion tragedy. They said that culprits responsible for the Tazreen Fashion fire should be brought to book, correct list of dead & injured workers should be prepared and payment of compensation should b e done publicly in a transparent manner for the sake of the image of Garment industry of Bangladesh. For this, a monitoring committee should be formed comprising representatives of the government, owner & workers. At the same time, a joint initiative of government, BGMEA, buyers & trade union should be taken to establish “safe workplace” at garment factory in Bangladesh. Press Secretary, NGWF
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Bangladesh mine activists dump coal outside GCM meeting in London

Bangladesh mine activists dump coal outside GCM meeting in London | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Activists dumped coal outside the annual meeting of mining firm GCM Resources in London on Thursday in protest at the company's plans for a controversial mine in Bangladesh. The meeting at the Institute of Directors was brought to an end after a protester dressed as Santa Claus delivered a sack of coal to the GCM chairman, Gerard Howell. Two protesters were arrested for breach of the peace but released without charge. The firm, listed on London's junior Aim market, wants to run an open pit coal mine in the Phulbari township in the north of the country, despite claims that up to 130,000 people could be displaced and warnings by the UN that human rights could be violated.
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US lawmakers urge review on Bangladesh labor

US lawmakers urge review on Bangladesh labor | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
US lawmakers on Thursday urged a quick review of the duty-free access granted to many products from Bangladesh, voicing alarm over labor conditions after a factory fire killed 111 workers
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How Branded Shoes are Made in India ~ Pictures

How Branded Shoes are Made in India ~ Pictures | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

global brand, local trouble

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After Black Friday, anti-Walmart campaign goes international — MSNBC

After Black Friday, anti-Walmart campaign goes international — MSNBC | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
In the weeks following Walmart workers' nationwide Black Friday strike, the anti-Walmart coalition has come to more heavily emphasize international solidarity. The protesters were able to “express solidarity and read statements from the Bangladeshi union.”
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Migrant workers report physical abuse, wage discrimination

Migrant workers report physical abuse, wage discrimination | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
To get to South Korea, workers have to pay large sums then suffer poor conditions after arrival
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Chinese Firms Bringing Own Workers a Global Pattern

"The whole idea is to keep their people employed so they don't have a revolution. The Communist party, fearing any economic slowdown that could result in jobs losses and threaten revolution, intends to keep as many Chinese people employed as possible -- even if it means exporting them. But usually the countries that allow Chinese firms to import their own labour or other questionable business practices are underdeveloped dictatorships." - Navarro
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Migrant workers urge better social security cover

Migrant workers urge better social security cover | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Labour rights activists will take advantage of International Migrants Day tomorrow to lobby the government to improve social welfare benefits for migrant workers.
The social security system has been in place for more than 20 years and is "not primarily designed for migrant workers", Lae Dilokwitthayarat, an economics lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, said.
He said authorities need to amend legal procedures to allow migrants to gain access to welfare benefits, including healthcare, more easily.
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

(Thailand) Campaign for Social Protection

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HK union members protest against strike clampdown

HK union members protest against strike clampdown | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

About 20 members of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) held a protest outside the Singapore Consulate in Hong Kong yesterday in what it said was a show of solidarity with the 171 China bus drivers who held an illegal strike in Singapore last week - an act Singapore's labour movement described as "regrettable".

The union called on the Singapore Government to reinstate the 29 drivers who were repatriated and to drop the charges against the five who are detained. Of the five drivers charged for their involvement in the illegal strike, 38-year-old Bao Feng Shan was jailed six weeks after he pleaded guilty on Monday.

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Americans must demand garment-worker safety around the world

Americans must demand garment-worker safety around the world | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

While there's nothing to prevent companies from going overseas for cheap labor, their presence should elevate life abroad, not debase it. When Apple is linked to a Chinese factory where multiple suicides are attributed to working conditions, and Wal-Mart, Sears and Disney are linked to a fatal fire eerily like one 101 years ago in America, it suggests a race to the bottom.

It is not only possible to realize savings while ensuring that workers are taken care of, it's a minimal obligation -- and American consumers should demand no less.

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The Challenge of Closing the Gender Gap in Developing Countries

The Challenge of Closing the Gender Gap in Developing Countries | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Which is more effective in improving life for women: economic development or specific programs aimed at increasing equality?

 

While the developed world discusses the glass ceiling, the end of men and whether women can really ever have it all, activists in developing countries tend to focus on more basic issues like combating violence against women and providing equal access to vaccines, basic healthcare, and primary education.

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Signs of Changes Taking Hold in Electronics Factories in China

Signs of Changes Taking Hold in Electronics Factories in China | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
After the hardships of workers in China’s electronics factories were exposed to a global audience, working conditions have changed.
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

Two worker advocacy groups found that students in nonmanufacturing courses were being improperly forced to work at a Foxconn plant in north central China. One student studying preschool education said she was prohibited from quitting her internship and was compelled to work night shifts.

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Sri Lanka : Marxist party trade union of Sri Lanka re-launches campaign for salary hike from January 1st

Sri Lanka : Marxist party trade union of Sri Lanka re-launches campaign for salary hike from January 1st, 2013.
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Co-operatives not multinational supermarkets best for farmers in India

Co-operatives not multinational supermarkets best for farmers in India | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Global supermarket chains are venturing into the Indian market. But what will their investment mean for small-scale farmers?
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The Link Between USC and Garment Worker Factory Fires

Student activists are pointing out that one of USC's apparel monitors failed to address fire safety hazards that led to 289 deaths in Pakistan. UL Responsible Sourcing also inspected the Trazeen factory prior to the fire on behalf of Walmart, however this was discovered only recently after a cover sheet from the monitor was found inside the factory. UL Responsible Sourcing refuses to release the contents of its audits despite calls from labor groups to do so. Worse of all, even if UL Responsible Sourcing found fire safety violations in the factories, built-in confidentiality clauses prevent its audits from being made public -- meaning that workers can go for months in factories that are vertiable death traps without even knowing it.
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First Strike in Quarter Century Exposes Treatment of Migrant Labour in Singapore

First Strike in Quarter Century Exposes Treatment of Migrant Labour in Singapore - The first workers strike in 26 years in this affluent Southeast Asian city-state has triggered some soul-searching about the treatment of migrant labour and the low wages they are paid.
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Indian workers, others stop work over salary delay in Singapore

Indian workers, others stop work over salary delay in Singapore | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Twenty eight foreign workers at a construction site here, including 20 Indians, stopped work after they were not paid their salaries for the last month, forcing the city state's government to intervene in the matter.

 

Manpower Ministry yesterday found that the workers employed by Sime Chong Construction Pte Ltd did not turn up for work yesterday despite a ban on strike.

AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

Collective Bargaining - migrant construction workers in Singapore

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Samsung supplier left out to dry by electronics giant

Samsung supplier left out to dry by electronics giant | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
After Samsung discontinued project, Primatech suffered, though Samsung says it’s their own fault
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Slide Show: Shiho Fukada Photographs the Jobs Crisis in Japan

Slide Show: Shiho Fukada Photographs the Jobs Crisis in Japan | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
“For a long time Japan has been associated with prosperity and a vast middle class supported by stable lifetime employment, and that’s the country I knew and grew up in,” Fukada told me. Returning to Japan after ten years away, she saw that a sense of human disposability had begun to haunt the Japanese workforce. ”I was struck by how isolated people are, not being able to share their problems even with family and friends, depressed but proud, trying to cope in loneliness,” she said
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Outsourcing injustice in apparel

Outsourcing injustice in apparel | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
When lives are sacrificed, the social burden and hidden costs of making cheap clothes skyrockets. Not getting involved or changing habits may be easier, but it does carry a price. For every dollar we save on a good bargain, we risk losing a little piece of our humanity in the process.
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Strikers in Singapore weighing up legal options

Four Chinese bus drivers facing possible jail for instigating Singapore’s first industrial strike in 26 years were given more time on Wednesday to explore their legal options.
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

Freedom of Association in Singapore

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The factory fire: Global commerce, local tragedy

The factory fire: Global commerce, local tragedy | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

n the charred bones of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory, the labels and logos—sewn and printed in scarlet and royal blue—beckon from the ashes. Even in ruins, there's no missing that these T-shirts and jeans were intended for U.S. stores and shopping carts, designed as bargains too good to pass up, or stocking stuffers just in time for the holidays and in just the right size.

But a week after the blaze outside Bangladesh's capital killed 112 workers, a glaring question remains unanswered: How, exactly, did brands worth fortunes end up in such a place? And what does the odyssey that brings them to market across thousands of miles say about the everyday economics most consumers take for granted?

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