Today in the news on line 28 Feb 2012

Shooter now unknown:
The Interior Minister backtracked yesterday after previously declaring
officials knew the identity of the person who shot three protesters
outside a shoe factory in Svay Rieng province last week and refused to
quash rumours that Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith was a suspect.

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+ Attached from BetterFactories:

1.Shooter now unknown.gif

2.Kampong Cham factory reopens at partial capacity.gif

3. One week on, Sar Kheng says little about factory shooter.gif

Filipino Workers Tell of Discrimination in Korea:

When Elmer De Vera found out last month that his employer had given pay
raises to his Korean colleagues despite freezing his pay for the past
four years, he blamed discrimination against his nationality.
“They (employers) don’t follow rules. I found it out only last month
when I compared my salary slip with my coworkers.
My salary has been the same for the past four years,” said the Filipino
employee at a local cement company.
He is scheduled to leave Korea in June as his visa expires.
De Vera was among the several Filipino workers that The Korea Herald
interviewed Sunday at a help center for foreign workers in Hyehwa-dong,
They said many of their compatriots are vulnerable to discrimination by
their Korean employers here, despite years of efforts by the Korean
government to provide legal support to foreign migrant workers and
equal social insurance benefits under the Employment Permit System
since 2004.
As of last year, Korea employed more than 278,000 foreign workers from
15 countries under the EPS program, including 24,000 from the


SIMA plans buyer-seller meet at Texfair; positive response for event:

It is considered an ideal platform for the mills to zero in on their
requirements, meet all suppliers and plan their investments
prudentially.” — Mr T. Rajkumar, Deputy Chairman, SIMA.

The textile industry scenario might be subdued; thankfully
though it has not delayed or held up the conduct of the 7th edition of
Texfair, scheduled between March 2 and 5 at the Codissia Trade Fair
Complex here.
Industry sources told Business Line that they were quite apprehensive
about organising the fair successfully, say two months back. “We did
not expect the bookings to cross 50.
Today, 150 exhibitors have confirmed participation.
We are happy about his positive response,’ said the Deputy Chairman of
the Southern India Mills Association (SIMA), Mr T. Rajkumar.

Texfair 2012, organised by the apex body of textile mills in the South
– SIMA is a platform for showcasing the latest developments in the
textile machinery, spares and accessories space, testing equipment,
electrical and electronic components among others.

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All-India strike by major trade unions today:
Banking, insurance and industry are likely to be affected on Tuesday
with all major unions calling a countrywide strike to protest the
“anti-labour” policies of the government, rising prices and
disinvestment of PSUs.
Unions leaders who have rejected appeals to desist from the strike said
all 11 major trade unions including Congress-affiliated INTUC, Shiv
Sena-backed Bharatiya Kamgar Sena and UPA ally Indian Union Muslim
League’s trade-wing STU would join hands to make the strike a success.

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Trade unions strike: Mixed response, banking, transport hit:
Normal life was disrupted in Kerala on Tuesday due to the country-wide
strike called by central trade unions to protest the “anti-labour”
policies of the UPA government.
Buses kept off the roads and shops were closed in the state.
The strike also affected functioning of banks and offices as pro-Left
unions in the state sector also joined the protest against the
“neo-liberal economic and labour policies” pursued by the UPA
government at the Centre.

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Strike evokes mixed response:
The 24-hour countrywide strike called by major trade unions on Tuesday
to protest the “anti-labour” policies of the government and rising
prices evoked a mixed response with the banking and transport sector
hit in some parts.
In West Bengal, there were fewer vehicles on the road but several
schools and government offices remained open following the warning
given by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that absence from duty will be
treated as a break in service.
State Director General of Police Naparajit Mukherjee said in Kolkata
that the situation was normal in the districts. Some arrests have been
made in certain places including Hasnabad and Madhyamgram for
obstructing traffic, he said. In Mumbai, the strike had a partial
impact with financial institutions getting affected.

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Why unions didn’t ask workers if they want strike.:
Workers and employees have a democratic right to go on strike but only
as a last resort when all other means for fulfilling their essential
and existential demands inalienably linked to life and livelihood fail
to convince the management and the ruling government.
So the nationwide strike call by blue and white collar workers isn’t
conceptually in conflict with the democratic polity.
But has the decision been taken democratically?
The central trade unions and other white collar organisations like the
All India Bank Employees’ Association and Bank Employees’ Federation of
India did not seek a strike ballot to ascertain whether the majority of
working people wanted to stay out of work on February 28.

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Government, trade unions lock horns:
Labour bodies call lockout against the ‘anti-labour policies’ of the
The United Progressive Alliance-II government and the 11 recognised
Central trade unions have locked horns even as preparations are in full
swing for the “general strike” called on Tuesday by the labour bodies
against the “liberal and economic policies and other anti-labour
policies” of the Central government.

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More About The Strike

Millions of Indian workers strike for rights:
One-day walkout to hit transport, banks and post offices, as unions
seek better rights and protest over rising prices.

Millions of workers in India have begun a 24-hour strike to demand
improved rights for employees and to protest over rising prices.

Tuesday’s strike, one of the biggest in recent times, is being backed
by all 11 major trade unions in the country, including the left
affiliated All India Trade Union Congress [AITUC] and Indian National
Trade Union Congress [INTUC] linked to ruling Congress party, local
television station NDTV said.

The strike marks the latest test for Manmohan Singh’s government, which
has has been shaken by a succession of corruption scandals and popular
protests since the prime minister’s Congress party won a second term in

The government’s appeal on Monday failed to impress the unions, who
want the government to take measures to contain inflation, provide
universal social security cover for workers in the vast unorganised
labour sector, and to stop selling stakes in state-run companies.

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Strike hits banking, transport sectors:
The nationwide, one-day general strike called by trade unions on
Tuesday to protest the Centre’s “neo-liberal economic and anti-labour”
policies and to highlight the “soaring” prices of essential commodities
received a mixed response.
The working of banks and insurance firms was affected in many States,
as were transport services, including trains.

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Normal life thrown into disarray:
There was an overwhelming response in West Bengal on Tuesday to the
all-India general strike called by 11 registered trade unions throwing
normal life into total disarray. The streets in the city were largely
deserted, educational institutions closed and the shutters down on most
offices and shops in market places.

Barring incidents of sporadic violence, the day passed off peacefully.
The police arrested 32 persons in the city alone for their involvement
in incidents of violence on the day. There were also reports of
arrests from elsewhere in the State.

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Strike call: Mixed impact in Bangalore city:
The strike called in by the bank unions on Tuesday had its impact on
banking operations in the city. While it was business as usual for the
private sector banks, the public sector banks either saw a major
disruption in service or partial functioning of its branches.

Bank scene
At Vijaya Bank, 40 per cent of the clerical staff and all officers
reported to work, Ms Shubhalakshmi Panse, Executive Director, Vijaya
Bank, told Business Line. Though most customers kept away from
visiting branches, those who came to branches got their work done, she
added. Most of the branches remained open. Though there was no closure
of branch outlets for State Bank of Mysore too, “cash transactions were
affected as the clerical staff responsible for these functions had
joined the strike,” said an employee of the bank.

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Over 100 pro-strike supporters arrested for obstructing rail, road
traffic in Bengal:
The nation-wide strike called by trade unions evoked a mixed response
in West Bengal where over 100 pro-strike supporters were arrested in
different districts for obstructing rail and road traffic.

Shops, markets and business establishments were mostly closed in some
areas, while state-run buses and trams were plying with fewer
passengers. In some areas of the city, some taxis and private vehicles
were plying.

Life was normal in some Trinamool Congress strongholds, including
Behala, where shops were open and vehicles plied as usual.

Train services were disrupted in some divisions of Eastern Railways and
South Eastern Railways in the morning due to picketing and throwing
banana leaves on overhead wire, but were normal as the day advanced.

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Trade unions’ strike: Partial impact in Mumbai:
The nation-wide strike called by trade unions today to protest the
“anti-labour” policies of the Government, rising prices and
disinvestment of PSUs, had a partial impact in the country’s commercial
capital, with only financial institutions getting affected.

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Nationwide strike call gets mixed response:
Banking, insurance and postal sectors hit
The one-day nationwide strike called by 11 trade unions on Tuesday
evoked a mixed response across the country—hitting banking, insurance
and postal sectors, and partially affecting road transport services.

In Mumbai, operations of banks were paralysed. Due to the thin
attendance of staff, financial transactions came to a halt in most
banks. In the outskirts of Mumbai,  public transport was affected as
several autorickshaw drivers participated in the strike.

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Trade unions strike hits life across Karnataka:
The one-day strike by a dozen central trade unions Tuesday affected
life in cities and towns across Karnataka, including this tech hub,
with shops, banks, factories, restaurants and cinemas shut and public
transport curtailed as taxis and auto-rickshaws kept off roads.

“We have received overwhelming response to the nationwide strike call
from all trade unions with thousands of comrades, including women,
abstaining from work and participating in demonstrations, protest
rallies and public meetings across the state in support of our
demands,” Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Karnataka chapter) secretary
S. Prasanna Kumar told IANS.

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Strike amid low business sentiment uncalled for: Industry:
India’s industry termed Tuesday’s general strike called by 11 central
trade unions as “unfortunate and completely misplaced” at a time of
economic slowdown and low business sentiment.

“The strike is completely misplaced and unfortunate. I do not see any
point in calling the shutdown when the economy is under stress. Almost
all the businesses are under stress. The strike will result in revenue
losses for the country. It will affect business,” L&T Infrastructure
Finance Chief Executive Suneet K. Maheshwari told IANS.

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Mamata sees red as strike hits Bengal:
Bundh total in Kerala
Barely eight months ago, Kolkata was awash in green—the colour of
Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress—after her party vanquished the
CPM-led Left Front.

On Tuesday, the partial success of the general strike called by 11 Left
trade unions, in the face of the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal
government’s desperate attempts to foil it, was indication enough that
the tide against last summer’s green upsurge may have just begun to

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More and better jobs in Bangladesh:

Accelerating growth in Bangladesh’s per capita income has added nearly
1.2 million new jobs every year and improved job quality between 2000
and 2010.
Wage workers have seen their wages — adjusted for price increases —
rise by nearly 2 percent a year.
Poverty rates among the self-employed have fallen.
The quality of jobs, as measured by rising real wages for wage workers
and declining poverty for the self-employed, has improved.
Going forward, with swelling numbers of new entrants — and an
expectation that more women will enter the job market, as was the case
during East Asia’s rapid growth — Bangladesh will need to create up to
1.5 million new jobs each year for the next two decades.

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For Pakistan ship breakers, constant fear of death:

Mehdi Hassan was clinging to a greasy rope, toiling high inside the
hull of an oil tanker, when he became another victim of lax safety
standards at Pakistan’s Gaddani ship breaking yard.
He suddenly slipped and fell to the floor in the dark. Unable to move
all night with broken bones, and with no one around to help, he choked
to death on toxic fumes.
“A steel section was cut out from the ship and when it fell into the
sea, light came into the hull and we saw Mehdi’s body.
His face was bloated, purple and green,” said Mohammad Saleem, one of
the workers who found Hassan.
“The next morning we had to work as if nothing had happened. We are
treated like dogs and the owners don’t care if we die.”

Pakistan is full of dangers, with tens of thousands of victims of
suicide bombings, sectarian violence and ethnic bloodshed which make
big headlines across the world.
There is another less dramatic, but dark, side of the South Asian
nation that rarely captures attention —the large number of impoverished
people forced to endure horrible conditions at work to survive.

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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