Today in the news on-line 27 Feb 2012

Shanghai to raise minimum wage by 13 pct:
Shanghai said Monday that it will raise the monthly minimum wage for
workers by 13 percent to 1,450 yuan (232 U.S. dollars), following pay
hikes announced by several other cities in recent months to ease a
labor shortage and buffer the impact of inflation.
Shanghai’s human  resources and social security bureau said in a
statement that the city’s minimum wage, as well as social insurance and
housing subsidy, will remain among the highest in the country once the
pay hike goes into effect this April.

The minimum wage will not include overtime pay and subsidies for
working under hazardous conditions, according to the statement.

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Big boom in tailor-made clothes:
“Garment prices in Beijing department stores have gone crazy,” said one
customer. “One blouse at a big department store could cost around 1,000
yuan ($159) but a custom-made one here is around 300 yuan – much more

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Children in Chinese sweatshops ‘made Olympic badges for 6p an hour’:
Three young workers were said to have put in 11 hour days working in
the fume-filled factory.
Allegations have arisen that Olympic pin badges for London 2012 were
made by children in a Chinese sweatshop.

The 15-year-olds earned 6p an hour making the metal badges featuring
official mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, according to the Sunday
They were said to be working in a factory filled with dangerous nitric
acid fumes.

It is understood that the controversial situation was unveiled after
TUC’s Playfair campaign, which was set up to protect workers producing
Olympic goods travelled to China.

Last year the three young workers, who put in 11-hour days at the
remote workshop in the small town of Huizhou, Guangdong Province, were
removed, after a visit from the campaign investigators.

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‘Unemployment Forcing Pinoys to Work Abroad’

More Filipinos are likely to seek employment abroad where they may be
exposed to abuses because of lack of job opportunities at home,
according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
In its message on the occasion of the 26th National Migrants’ Sunday
today, the CBCP – through its Episcopal Commission on Migrants and
Itinerant People (ECMI) – said “labor contractualization that was
legalized since 1995, incredibly low wages, very high underemployment
and constantly soaring joblessness are just some of the major reasons
why Filipinos are not encouraged to stay but would take any opportunity
to work abroad in order to improve their economic situation.
The country even had developed a culture of migration.”

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Labor intensive industries leave cities for countryside:
Textile, garment and dyeing enterprises, which cannot see any
opportunities in big cities, have been heading for the countryside,
where they can cut down expenses.

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HCM City firms seek 35,000 new employees:
In March HCM City is forecast to require 35,000 additional workers for
the textile, leather and footwear, construction, power supply,
electronics and telecom, marketing, and services sectors. According to
the HCM City Centre for Human Resources Forecast and Labour Market
Information, half of the demand is for unskilled workers and 15 per
cent for semi-skilled workers.

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Wage policy may pressure employment: NESDB

Despite the 0.9 per cent increase in fourth-quarter employment, some
risks to Thai workers persist particularly the higher minimum wage,
according to the National Economic and Social Development Board.

Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary-general of the think tank, said at
a press conference today that higher wage may encourage factories to lay
off workers.
This will exacerbate the situation, as flood-hit factories have not yet
welcomed back all workers laid off during the flood.
At present, 164,552 workers are still waiting to return to their
flood-hit factories.
He noted that workers in the automotive, office equipment,
electronics-electrical appliances, textiles and apparel, machinery,
broadcasting, rubber and chemicals industries are at high risk of
losing jobs.

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Protesters try new tactics:
Rocks were hurled, fires lit, hostages taken and the message delivered
in no uncertain terms last week: Cambodians are increasingly willing to
use violence against companies that intimidate them or ignore their

Twice – in Svay Rieng and Kampong Cham provinces – garment workers
pelted factories with rocks, shattering windows and ultimately bringing
companies to the negotiating table.

In Ratankkiri, ethnic Tumpoun villagers took matters further, abducting
four security guards and another employee working for a rubber company,
holding them hostage and parading them for the cameras until Jing Zhong
Ri Cambodia Co Ltd agreed to halt – at least temporarily – the
bulldozing of their land.

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Union demands removal of Svay Rieng police commissioner, military chief:

Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU)
President Rong Chhun has appealed to Interior Minister Sar Kheng and
Labor Minister Vong Soth to oust the Svay Rieng police commissioner,
military chief and other officials over last week’s shooting of three
protesting factory workers in Bavet, sources said Monday.

In a letter to the ministers, the CCU president said the shooting in
the casino town on the Vietnamese border last  Monday was a “new tragic
event” after the recent shooting of villagers protesting land grabbing
in Kratie province.
The letter urged the government to punish officials who should take
responsibility for the shooting.

Sar Kheng said earlier Monday that police were still looking for the
unidentified gunman.

+ Attached from BetterFactories:

1.Protesting garment workers to resume work.gif

2.Officials mute on shooting investigation; Rights Groups concerned.gif


Union Budget 2012:
Textiles Ministry seeks enhanced budgetary allocation:
The Ministry of Textiles has sought enhanced budget allocation of Rs
24,597 crore from the Planning Commission for the 12th Plan period for
the development of the sector, and creating 15.8 million jobs by
2016-17, an official said.

“The budgetary support would be used for further development of
powerloom and sericulture sectors and upgradation of existing NIFT
centres,” he said.

The ministry plans to continue modernisation and technological
upgradation of the sector through restructured Technology Upgradation
Fund Scheme (TUFS), he added.

Under TUFS, textiles companies get five per cent subsidy on loans from
the government for upgrading technology.

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Jute workers of 7 state-owned mills to go on 48-hr strike tomorrow:

Workers of seven state-owned jute mills in Khulna-Jessore industrial
belt will go on a 48-hour strike from tomorrow to press home their
demand for implementation of the recommendations of National Wages and
Productivity Commission with effect from July 1, 2009 instead of July
1, 2010.
In Khalishpur industrial area, workers of all the state-owned jute
mills yesterday took out processions and hold rallies to make their
48-hour programme a success.

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Country-wide strike to hit key services tomorrow:

Banking, insurance, telecom, transport, Defence, mining, postal, and
other Central and State Government services will be hit on Tuesday
owing to the country-wide strike call by central trade unions.
This is for the first time that trade unions of all hues, the Left,
Congress, BJP, Shiv Sena, Muslim League etc. have joined hands to voice
their protest against violation of trade union rights, growing
contracterisation, disinvestment, privatisation and growing price rise.

“Apart from the 11 central trade unions, 40 federations and about 5,000
other unions will be participating in the action,’ said Mr A.K
Padmanabhan, President, Centre of Indian Trade Unions.

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Strike likely to cripple normal life in Kerala:
The 24-hour nationwide strike called by central trade unions from
midnight tonight is likely to cripple normal life in Kerala with the
State Government and banking unions also pledging support to it.
According to leaders of various unions, workers in all sectors except
those in essential services such as health, water supply and media,
would join the strike, called jointly by the central trade unions to
protest the “anti-labour” policies of the UPA Government.

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Day 2 goes “Ethical” at HSBC Colombo Fashion Week
Day Two of HSBC Colombo Fashion Week (Feb 25) was “Ethical Fashion
Day”, with a wide range of designers whose work either promotes
villagers and communities, uses recycled or environmentally friendly
materials, or both.

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latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2