This was in the news on-line, today, 26 april 2012

UZBEKISTAN
* Uzbekistan must put an end to forced child labor in cotton fields:
Advocates against the use of forced labor in Uzbekistan spoke out again
today in an appeal to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Twenty-two representatives of human rights, trade union, apparel
industry, retail, investor and other groups called on Secretary Clinton
to urge the Uzbek government to take immediate steps to end forced
labor, including children, in the cotton sector.
The letter also said the Uzbek government should invite the
International Labor Organization (ILO) to monitor the 2012 cotton
harvest.

more at:
http://en.ca-news.org/news:472181/
&
http://www.laborrights.org/stop-child-labor/cotton-campaign/uzbekistan

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ASIA
* Asia needs income equality strategies:
Asian governments should invest more in human capital, end inefficient
general subsidies and reform their tax bases as urgent steps to tackle
rising income inequality, the Income equality strategiesn Development
Bank said yesterday.

Higher education tends to boost productivity and income for workers,
Juzhong Zhuang, the ADB’s deputy chief economist, told a workshop at
the Thailand Development Research Institute.

more at:
http://www.asianewsnet.net/home/news.php?id=29934&sec=2
&
http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/business/28658-asia-must-tackle-rising-income-gap

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THAILAND
* Free Somyot Prueksakasemsuk
UPDATE:
News update of Prosecutor’s witness hearing:24 Apr 2012

On Aril 24, 2012 at 8.30 am. before the witness hearing, the lawyers of
the leader of 24th June democratic group and former editor of Voice of
Taksin magazine, Mr. Somyot, Mr. Karom Polpornklang and Mr.Suwit
Thingnuan submited the petition to the criminal court to pass onto the
constitution court to review whether article 112 of Thai penal code is
against 2007 Thai constitution law and consistent with international
standard or not. because they believe that article 112 is similar to
defamation law in article 326 of Thai penal code but article 112
doesn’t lay out the exemption of wrongdoing rule ( rule that prevent
people from being punished despite committing the wrongdoing). This
means that the accused is not allowed to prove that they are innocent
and it curtails human rights principle written in Thai constitution law.

more observers report of this week’s trial at:
http://freesomyot.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/observers-report-of-this-weeks-trial/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheLibrarianOfBangkokPrison+%28The+Librarian+of+Bangkok+Prison%29
& Thai Labour Activist faces trial at:
http://www.cleanclothes.org/urgent-actions/somyot-trial
& Internet Provider Faces Lese Majeste Conviction at:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/04/23/thailand-internet-provider-faces-lese-majeste-conviction

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* Salary structure for workers to be considered:
-Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labor Mr. Somkiat Chayasriwong
said many employers have finally increased the minimum wage to 300 baht
per day to boost the spirit of their workers.

The Permanent Secretary said since the minimum wage has been enforced
at the beginning of this month in 7 provinces, some employers have
decided to award their workers who have been working for more than 2-3
years with a higher pay.

Mr. Somkiat said there should be a new salary structure for workers
whose employment is longer than 2-3 years to force employers to give
them a raise based on their experiences. He also explained that the
salary base should vary from one industry to another, given the type of
business and the level of expertise.

He , however, added that the issue will be further discussed and
deliberated before being proposed to the Central Minimum Wage Committee
for consideration.
http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2012/04/25/salary-structure-for-workers-to-be-considered/

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MYANMAR/THAILAND
* Death of migrant workers trigger humanrights issue:
Myanmar labour leader Mojo, who is based in Tak province, said he was
very concerned about the death of two illegal migrant workers who died
while being deported back to their country.

The workers Mong Zo and Meela suffocated to death because the truck
they were in was far too crowded and was travelling a very long
distance from Songkhla to Tak.

Mojo said the Myanmar labour union was very upset about the deaths and
wanted Thai authorities to take responsibility even though the victims
were illegal migrants. He added that this was a humanrights violation
and that he would take the case to the United Nation’s International
Labour Organisation and the Thai humanrights commission.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/Death-of-migrant-workers-trigger-humanrights-issue-30180706.html

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MYANMAR
* Companies lining up to invest in Myanmar, says advisory firm:
HUNDREDS of foreign companies are seeking investment opportunities in
Myanmar across a wide range of sectors, the head of Hong Kong-based
Bagan Capital, a Myanmar-focused investment and advisory firm, said
recently.

“We see growth in interest from Europe, Japan and eventually the United
States over the next few years,” said Jeremy Kloiser Jones, the
company’s founder and chief executive officer.

“Although there are already some foreign corporations operating in
Myanmar, the overall number has been constrained by economic sanctions.
With sanctions having been loosened, and the likelihood of them being
removed, the foot is now off the brake,” he added.

more at:
http://www.mmtimes.com/2012/business/623/biz62303.html

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MONGOLIA
* Spring Labor Fair 2012: Mongolia’s high unemployment due to under
qualified applicants:
The Spring Labor Fair 2012 was held in the Central Palace of Culture
of Mongolian Trade Union on April 19th. Around 20 organizations
participated in the event, which aims to connect active job seekers
with employers.

more at:
http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/index.php/2011-07-03-14-20-47/88888934-businesstop/7131-spring-labor-fair-2012-mongolias-high-unemployment-due-to-under-qualified-applicants

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CHINA
* Sexy models at auto show spark debate on morality:
Models wearing revealing dresses at the 2012 Beijing International
Automotive Exhibition became the focus of public attention, with many
criticizing them for seeking instant fame through behavior that
crossed a moral red line.

more at:
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/7799891.html
&
http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/706743/Sexy-models-at-auto-show-spark-debate-on-morality.aspx

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* ‘Class for Ladies’in Wuhan Textile University:
Female students are taking lessons to behave like an elegant lady in
Wuhan Textile University. The “Class for Ladies” was set up in 2009 by
Wuhan Textile University, aiming to foster modern ladies who are
supposed to talk decently, write beautifully and walk gracefully.

more at:
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/7800392.html

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* T-shirts investigated for borrowing Chinese premier’s popularity:
A Chinese online fashion retailer is being probed for cashing in on
Premier Wen Jiabao’s popularity to promote its latest T-shirts — an
act that might have violated the country’s law on advertisement,
Beijing commerce authorities said.

more at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-04/26/c_131553140.htm

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PHILIPPINES
* ILO Reveals Low Pay in PH:
A study released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) revealed
that 15 per cent of employees in the Philippines are lowly paid, lower
than what Cambodians and Indonesians are receiving.

Between the male and female employees, the latter is more at a
disadvantage at 18.2 per cent compared to male workers at 12.1 percent.

The international labor office, then, called on the concerned countries
to continue improving their wage setting mechanisms, either through
collective bargaining agreements and minimum wages, as well as
developing sound wage policies. “These can help reduce vulnerabilities
and the risk of low-paid workers falling into poverty,” said the ILO.

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/358042/ilo-reveals-low-pay-in-ph

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* Pinoys, mostly women, remain lowly paid – ILO
The number of lowly-paid Filipino workers, mostly women, continues to
rise despite economic improvements, the International Labor
Organization (ILO) reported yesterday.

According to the ILO, lowly-paid workers increased by 14.5 percent as
more women took on low-paying jobs.

“Women have not seen comparable improvements, with the proportion of
female employees in low earnings going up by around 1.5 percentage
points since 2001 in both Indonesia and the Philippines,” the ILO
noted.

more at:
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=63&articleId=800831

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* DOLE lines up May 1 job fairs:
The Labor department has lined up 40 Job and Livelihood Fairs that it
will hold on May 1, Labor Day.

In a statement, the Department of Labor and Employment said the biggest
among these fairs will be held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City,
“where over 100,000 job vacancies are up for grabs from 300 local and
overseas employers.”

more at:
http://www.philstar.com/nation/article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=200&articleId=800917

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VIET NAM
* Trade deficit totals US$200 million:
The country is estimated to face a trade deficit of US$200 million in
the first four months of the year, equal to 2.3% of the country’s total
export value, the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported.
(..)
GSO attributed the decrease of export value in April to difficulties
faced by exporters in both the market and prices. Sharp declines in
export value affected electric products and computers with a slide of
20.9%, coffee by 25%, textile and garments by 7.3%, timber and woodwork
products by 16.7%, and seafood by 7.4%.

more at:
http://businesstimes.com.vn/trade-deficit-totals-us200-million/

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* Security guard jailed for life for killing striking worker:
Ha Noi People’s Court yesterday sentenced Le Tuan Minh, 35, to
life in prison for killing a striking female worker in the outlying
Hanoian district of Chuong My.

The incident occurred last June when striking workers at Giai Duc
Special Material Company in Phu Nghia Commune tried to prevent a lorry
from passing through the firm’s gate.

more at:
http://www.vietnamnews.com.vn/politics-laws/law-justice/224004/security-guard-jailed-for-life-for-killing-striking-worker.html

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LAOS
* Migration putting young people at risk:
“In Laos, internal migration is emerging as a critical issue affecting
children and young people,” reported the study entitled ‘Causes and
Impacts of Internal Migration on Children in Laos’, which was
undertaken by the National Economic Research Institute (NERI) under the
Ministry of Planning and Investment.

According to the report, children in the most remote, impoverished and
ethnically diverse areas are often most likely to migrate, exposing
them to a variety of risks. The number of young people migrating within
Laos is on the rise due to poor social and economic circumstances, and
the trend is placing an increased number of children in vulnerable
situations.

The findings are part of a series of new studies released at a forum
held in Vientiane yesterday.

more at:
http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_Migration.htm

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CAMBODIA
* Workers strike at garment factory in Kompong Speu:
Workers at Fabric’s Art (Cambodia) Co Ltd went on strike Wednesday with
a list of 12 demands, a union official said.

“Workers wanted union officials to be involved in talks but the factory
refused so the workers are protesting,” said Ouk Khen, an official with
the Free Trade Union of Workers.

The demands include potable water, medicines, regular salary payments
and reinstatement of colleagues dismissed Tuesday. Others include
allowing pregnant workers to finish their shift 15 minutes early and
proper reasons for firing workers.
http://www.thecambodiaherald.com/cambodia/detail/1?page=13&token=MmFiNDViNDBjZDBkMzlmZGQ3MDRlNWEwOTg3ZGQ4

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* Union sends letters to ILO, ITUC over shooting of workers:
The Cambodian Confederation of Unions urged the International Labor
Organization (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation
(ITUC) Tuesday to intervene in the case of a district governor who
shot three protesting garment workers.

Bavet governor Chouk Bundith was removed from his position following
the incident in February and was charged last week with causing
unintentional bodily harm.

In letters to ILO director general Juan Somavia and ITUC chief Michael
Somme, confederation president Rong Chhun said: “We want the ILO and
ITUC to pressure the government through buyers as well as donors.”

The letters claimed that Chouk Bundith was “protected by senior
officials.”

Three women were seriously injured in the shooting which took place
during a protest by workers from a factory supplying German sportswear
giant Puma.
http://www.thecambodiaherald.com/cambodia/detail/1?page=13&token=MzI5NmQ5OGU2NmJmZmFlZDE5MTcxZjVhODg0MmQx

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* Kampong Speu factory workers walk:
Nearly 2,500 garment workers at three factories staged protest strikes
yesterday demanding that factory owners deliver improved working
conditions to the workers in Cambodia’s prized manufacturing industry.

In Kampong Speu’s Samrong Tong district, about 1,700 workers from two
factories picketed yesterday, calling for better working conditions and
accusing company owners of abusing workers’ rights.

more at:
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2012042655790/National-news/kampong-speu-factory-workers-walk.html

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+ ATTACHED from BetterFactories:
Kampong Speu factory workers walk.gif

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INDIA
* Young Dalit women exploited in Indian garment industry:
Despite industry’s promises, young Dalit women continue to suffer
exploitative conditions, reveals new report ‘Maid in India’

European and US garment brands and retailers have failed in their
attempts to structurally improve labour conditions at their suppliers
in Tamil Nadu, South India.
Despite corporate promises and a range of well-meaning initiatives,
workers, mostly very young women, continue to suffer exploitative
working conditions.
Up until today, thousands of women in the garment and textile industry
in Tamil Nadu work under recruitment and employment schemes that amount
to bonded labour.
These are the findings by the Centre for Research on Multinational
Corporations (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN)
presented in the report “Maid in India”, published today.

more at:
http://somo.nl/news-en/young-dalit-women-exploited-in-indian-garment-industry/

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+ ATTACHED from SOMO:
SOMO report: Maid in India (pdf)

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* ‘Designers don’t take advantage of weavers’:
…says Deepika Govind regularly works with weavers in the interiors of
southern India.

She begs to differ that leading designers like her, who sell their
merchandise for lakhs of rupees, exploit local talent by paying low
wages. In fact, weavers demand much more than usual from them, she says

more at:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/fashion/designers/Designers-dont-take-advantage-of-weavers/articleshow/12849755.cms

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* Fire destroys 200 shops in Baqarganj:
A devastating fire reduced around 200 big and small shops to ashes in
Baqarganj area of Babupurwa locality in the city.

Eyewitnesses said the fire broke out in one of the shops at around 2 am
and within no time engulfed the nearby structures made up of bamboo,
wood and ‘tirpal’.

“The fire began from a food grains shop, engulfed vegetable, garment,
footwear, cloth, grocery and meat shops in the vicinity,” said Kallu, a
resident of the area.

more at:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/Fire-destroys-200-shops-in-Baqarganj/articleshow/12845566.cms

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PAKISTAN
* Textile exports drop as energy shortages bite:
The energy crisis has left a devastating impact on the textile industry
as exports of various products dropped in the range of 22% to 43% in
March compared to the corresponding month of previous year.

According to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics,
exports of cotton cloth in terms of quantity fell by 43%, knitwear by
32%, bedwear by 30%, towel by 22% and readymade garments by 34%
compared to the same month of last year.

“The decline in textile exports in March was largely because of gas
shortage and strikes,” said Rana Arif Tauseef, Chairman of Pakistan
Textile Exporters Association while talking to The Express Tribune.

more at:
http://tribune.com.pk/story/369490/textile-exports-drop-as-energy-shortages-bite/

map of Asia

UZBEKISTAN
* Uzbekistan must put an end to forced child labor in cotton fields:

ASIA
* Asia needs income equality strategies

THAILAND
* Free Somyot Prueksakasemsuk UPDATE: News update of Prosecutor’s
witness hearing
* Salary structure for workers to be considered

MYANMAR/THAILAND
* Death of migrant workers trigger humanrights issue

MYANMAR
* Companies lining up to invest in Myanmar, says advisory firm

MONGOLIA
* Spring Labor Fair 2012: Mongolia’s high unemployment due to under
qualified applicants

CHINA
* Sexy models at auto show spark debate on morality
* ‘Class for Ladies’in Wuhan Textile University
* T-shirts investigated for borrowing Chinese premier’s popularity

PHILIPPINES
* ILO Reveals Low Pay in PH
* Pinoys, mostly women, remain lowly paid – ILO
* DOLE lines up May 1 job fairs

VIET NAM
* Trade deficit totals US$200 million
* Security guard jailed for life for killing striking worker

LAOS
* Migration putting young people at risk

CAMBODIA
* Workers strike at garment factory in Kompong Speu
* Union sends letters to ILO, ITUC over shooting of workers
* Kampong Speu factory workers walk
+ ATTACHED from BetterFactories

INDIA
* Young Dalit women exploited in Indian garment industry
* ‘Designers don’t take advantage of weavers
* Fire destroys 200 shops in Baqarganj
+ ATTACHED from SOMO: report “Maid in India” (pdf)

PAKISTAN
* Textile exports drop as energy shortages bite

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