Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 5: 20140307- 20140606

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* A living wage = a human right:

Working alongside garment workers, trade unions, consumers and campaigners we are calling for those working in the garment industry to be paid a wage they can live on.

A major industry
The garment industry is a major employer across the world – in Asia for example over 15 million people are employed by the industry.  With global brands making millions in profits every year this booming industry has come to rely on, and exploit, the cheap labour of millions of garment workers whose wages fall far short of a living wage.

The right to a living wage: A living wage should be earned  in a standard working week (no more than 48 hours) and allow a garment worker to be able to buy food for herself and her family, pay the rent, pay for healthcare, clothing, transportation and education and have a small amount of savings for when something unexpected happens.

The lack of a living wage means many garment workers are forced to work long hours to earn overtime or bonuses and cannot risk taking refusing work due to unsafe working conditions or taking time off due to ill health.   The low wages mean that workers often have to rely on loans just to make ends meet and have no savings to use if they find themselves out of work.

Clean Clothes Campaign believes that in order for a living wage to become a reality brands and retailers must take concrete steps to ensure they are paying a living wage in the countries they source from, and national governments must ensure that minimum wages are set at a level that allow people to live with dignity.
20131017 CCC LW
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* The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA):

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The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) is an international alliance of trade unions and labour rights activist who are working together to demand garment workers are paid a living wage.

As an alliance led by unions in the key garment producing countries in the region, the Asia Floor Wage Alliance represents the concerns and needs of the workers themselves.  Central to their demands is a call for a living wage to be paid to all garment workers, this led to the development of the Asia
Floor Wage calculation, as a  way to calculate a living wage for payment across Asia.
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Site AFW stitchwage

* The Clean Clothes Campaign calling for living wage:

Pay a Living Wage Action Week

From October 21st – 28th 2013, Clean Clothes Campaign partners across Europe will be launching the next phase in our campaign to demand garment workers are paid a living wage.

* Clothing brands and companies to take action by setting concrete and measurable steps throughout their supply chain to ensure garment workers get paid a living wage.

* National governments in garment producing countries to make sure minimum wages are set at living wage standards.

* European governments to implement regulation that make sure companies are responsible for the impact they have on the lives of workers in their suppply chain, including their right to earn a living wage.

Join our call for all garment workers to be paid a living wage –
sign the petition today here. & read more.
Site

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20140606

19:26:30 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Minimum wage should reflect bigger picture:

20140605 VNNews
Workers produce shoes at the Pou Yuen Viet Nam Company in HCM City. Experts have said minimum wage adjustments should take into account regional discrepancies and costs to employers. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

The Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has recommended that the regional minimum wages be increased by 10-12 per cent next year, lower than the 15.2 per cent adjustment this year.

The recommendation was made public at a workshop held yesterday to discuss employers’ attitudes towards minimum wages for 2015.
The chamber also said the minimum wage should be carefully adjusted, taking into account the financial burden on employers during economic downturns.

Apart from the chamber, others at the function included the Viet Nam Co-operative Alliance, Viet Nam Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Viet Nam Garment and Textile Association.

Vi Thi Hong Minh, deputy director of the Employers’ Bureau at VCCI, said the recommendation to raise wages by up to 12 per cent was based on Viet Nam’s GDP growth, inflation and the average living standards of the people.
According to VCCI, the growth rate of regional minimum wages was equivalent to that of Consumer Price Index (CPI) in 2010-2011, but three times higher than CPI growth since 2012.

Regional minimum wages grew on average by 9.9 per cent in 2010 and leapt by 30.1 per cent in 2012. However, Minh said this was not reasonable and placed huge burdens on struggling companies.
The increase in minimum wages, however, was more carefully adjusted this year at 15.2 per cent on average.
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VNNews new

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Garment Workers Vow to Continue Protesting:

About 300 workers from the Ocean Garment Factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district were again blocked from protesting outside the Labor Ministry Thursday as talks between factory owners and workers reached another deadlock, according to union representatives and authorities.

Production at the factory, which makes clothes for brands including Gap, was suspended between May 26 and June 26 due to subsiding orders. Factory bosses offered workers $15 for the month while workers have been demanding half their salary.

In a rerun of Tuesday’s attempt, workers began marching to the Labor Ministry at about 7:30 a.m. but were blocked about a kilometer from the factory, this time by a second row of police after having broken through the first barrier by following a number of cars and motorbikes that were ushered through.

After another brief standoff with police, the 300 workers returned to the factory where discussions between factory owners and workers reached another impasse.

Unionists were defiant Thursday and vowed to reach the Labor Ministry and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cabinet today by vehicles.

“We will take tuk tuks, motorbikes or trucks to visit the Ministry of Labor and the Prime Minister to ask them to intervene and find a solution for us,” said Huon Vanna, a representative from the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.
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Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Workers’ march halted:

For the second time this week, hundreds of garment workers were blocked yesterday from marching from their Por Sen Chey district factory to the Ministry of Labour to call for its intervention after a hefty wage cut instated last month.

Ocean Garment factory staff cited insufficient orders as the reason why workers would receive only $15 a month between May 24 and June 26.Since February, men and women staffing garment factories throughout the country have earned a minimum wage of $100 per month.
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PPP new

* Working Cambodian Women ”Too Poor” to Have Children:

The movement for reproductive justice sees women’s decision to have – or not have – children as a fundamental right. Should they choose to bear a child, women should have the right to care and provide for them; if they opt not to give birth, family planning services should be made available to enable women to space or prevent pregnancies.

In Cambodia, where women make up 60 percent of the population of 14 million people, this fundamental right is being trampled by insecure labour contracts, toxic working conditions and a near-total absence of maternity benefits for working mothers.

Take Cambodia’s garments industry, a massive sector that accounts for 80 percent of the country’s exports. A full 90% of the workforce is female, but labour rights have not accompanied employment opportunities.

Ever since the country entered into a liberalising agreement with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2005, long-term contracts have been edged out in favour of short term or fixed duration contracts (FDCs), the latter being far more popular among East Asian factory owners and western clothing brands like Gap, Walmart and H&M.

These informal arrangements “abuse garment workers’ reproductive rights,” Sophea Chrek, a former garment worker and technical assistant to the Workers Information Center (WIC) – which recently staged a fashion show to highlight the issue – told IPS.
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truthout

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20140605

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesia Employers Seek to Cap Wage Gains as Labor Costs Climb:

Indonesia’s main employer group is seeking to cap wage gains well below what authorities and unions have sought in recent years, raising the risk of labor disputes that would test the country’s next leader.

The association, known as Apindo, wants to limit increases in the minimum wage next year to 1 or 2 percentage points above inflation, as a new social security program will add to costs for employers, Chairman Sofjan Wanandi said in an interview yesterday.

The government said last year it planned to set a cap of 10 percentage points above price gains, and the minimum pay in the capital rose 11 percent this year.
The country’s next president will take the reins of Southeast Asia’s largest economy in October, with annual wage negotiations usually due to be concluded in the final quarter.

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, who approved a 2014 minimum-wage gain below the 50 percent level demanded by local workers, is the poll favorite to win the leadership election in July.

“Our costs will increase next year to pay social security for employees,” said Wanandi, who estimates the new program to fund health care, pensions and insurance coverage for workers could mean additional costs of more than 30 percent of salaries.
“We can’t avoid layoffs” if wages rise more than the 2 percentage points above inflation, he said.

Last year saw minimum wage gains of 44 percent in Jakarta, leading employers to cut 200,000 jobs, Wanandi said.

Some investors from South Korea and Taiwan relocated textile and shoe factories to Bangladesh and Cambodia, while the electronics industry moved some jobs to Vietnam, he said.
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jak-globe  MALAYonLINE

18:56:30 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Minimum wage to be announced by year-end:

Myanmar’s minimum wage will be announced in December, Htin Aung, deputy minister for labour, employment and social security, told parliament on Monday.

He reiterated that the government enacted a minimum wage law to ensure workers and their families could survive on a basic wage. The minimum wage is also intended to make workplaces more efficient and promote competitiveness, he said while presenting a report by a committee reviewing the rights of employees and employers.

Members of the national committee for setting a minimum wage held their first coordination meeting with region and state government ministers and ILO representatives from Yangon.

Respective region/state committees, including the Union committee, will conduct surveys in their areas to help set the minimum wage. The surveys will be submitted to the national committee the end of this month

“Plans are under way to set the minimum wage by the national committee in August,” Htin Aung said.
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Eleven

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Bare minimum: ‘The federal budget was not meant to favour workers’:

“The federal budget 2014-15 favours capitalists and the elite… not labour or women,” Rubina Jamil, president of the Pakistan Workers’ Confederation, told The Express Tribune on Wednesday. 

Jamil said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had claimed in his speech that privatisation of state-owned enterprises would generate employment opportunities. Jamil said privatisation was being undertaken on the International Monetary Fund diktat. She opposed the privatisation of PIA, OGDG, and Pakistan Steel Mills.

Jamil said in view of the inflation, the Rs2,000 raise in the minimum wage was inadequate. She said that the government should have consulted trade unions and established a privatisation committee taking all stakeholders on board, including workers.

Awami Workers Party general secretary Shazia Khan told The Express Tribune that there should be a formula for raising the minimum wage, rather than an arbitrary announcement. She said the government should raise minimum wage to offset inflation’s impact . “It is the responsibility of the government to ensure implementation. An announcement without implementation amounts to deception,” Khan said. She said that the Rs10,000 minimum wage announced last year had not been universally implemented.

She also said that those in the corridors of power should try balancing a household in Rs12,000. “No family can make ends meet in Rs12,000,” said Khan.

“We had demanded a Rs20,000 minimum wage,” Women Workers’ Union general secretary Shaheena Kausar told The Express Tribune. She said no relief had been announced for women workers who were more vulnerable than men.
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tribune the NATIONnew thenewspk DAWNnew

* Worker organisations reject federal budget:

Reprensentaves  of Pakistan Workers Confederation, All Pakistan Trade Union Federation, People’s Labour Bureau, National Labour Assembly and All Pakistan Clerks Association have rejected the federal budget 2014-15.

Talking to The News on Wednesday, veteran trade union leader and Pakistan Workers Confederation General Secretary Khurshid Ahmed said the PML-N government should have raised the salaries, wages and pensions of government, semi-government, autonomous bodies and private sector employees to at least 30 percent of their basic pay owing to price hike.
He said 80 percent of the country’s salaried workers contributed to Pakistan’s total tax revenue, whereas a significant majority of the country’s elite and rich industrialists paid little tax and evaded it by exploiting legal loopholes.
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thenewspk

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20140603-04

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Workers’ March Blocked in Ocean Factory Dispute:

About 800 striking workers from the Ocean Garment Factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district were prevented from protesting outside the Labor Ministry on Tuesday, with later discussions between workers and factory owners yielding no results, according to union representatives.

The factory suspended work between May 26 and June 26 after orders had dried up from a number of labels including Gap, with its workers demanding half their regular salary during that time period. The factory’s bosses have offered only $15 for the month.

The group of workers set off from the factory Tuesday at about 7:30 a.m., before being stopped by police only a kilometer away.

“There can be no march because of issues with security and traffic. We therefore ask you to go back to your factory,” Hem Darith, the district governor of Pur Senchey district, told the protesters.
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Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Protest blocked: Workers at factory seek full salaries:

Police yesterday morning blocked more than 1,000 garment workers as they tried to march from their Por Sen Chey district factory to the Ministry of Labour to plead for intervention.

Management at the Ocean Garment factory informed staff on May 24 that it would close for one month beginning May 26 due to insufficient orders, said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, which represents workers there.

During that month, employees will earn only $15. Workers in Cambodia’s garment sector have earned a minimum wage of $100 per month since February.

“The factory suspended the workers without informing them in advance,” Sina said. “So the employer has to pay 100 per cent of the workers’ wages.”

National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito yesterday said in a text message that police had orders to stop the march partially due to security concerns.
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PPP new

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Female garment workers victims of wage disparity:

Jaya has been working as a helper in a garment factory in the city’s Kawran Bazar area for a monthly salary of Taka 3,000.

Including overtime, medical and other facilities, she can draw Taka 4,000 to 4,500 per month. Her husband Meghnad Sikder has also been working in a garment factory. Both Jaya and her husband are living in a slum-like rented house beside Kathalbagan Mosque in the capital Dhaka.

When asked whether she is getting wage under the new wage structure announced by the government in December last year, a visibly disappointed Jaya replied in the negative.

She in her local accent said, “Ki bhabey notun beton dibe. puran beton e dei na” (How shall we get wage under new structure since the owner is not paying us under old wage structure).

“Failing to get wages under the new structure, many female workers have quit their job,” Jaya said, adding that the garment owners do not pay heed to their repeated demands in this regard although many machine operators sometimes stay away from their work to press home their demands for introducing new wage
structure in the garment factory.

“We work in the factory from 8 am to 7 pm and the hours after 5 pm are counted as overtime. After such hard work we are not paid overtime bill even salary timely. We did not get our salaries of the last three months. We have come to Dhaka to earn
money and run our family smoothly through our earnings. But unfortunately, our dream has been shattered,” an apparently frustrated Jaya said.

Jaya went on, “We have family and we need food to survive and a shelter to live in. So, if we don’t get salary in time how would we run our family and meet other necessary expenses?”

The rent of Jaya’s house, where she has been living with her husband and mother -in-law, is Taka 4,500. Four families comprising 16 members are living in four rooms of the rented house. They have four gas burners.

Four families have to use one single burner, one common bathroom and two toilets. On the other hand, scarcity of drinking water is acute in the house. Jaya has to collect water in the early hours from the supply tap and keep water in pitchers for
whole-day use.

Shila has been working in the garment factory as an operator for the last six months. She used to work in another garment factory at least six years before joining the present factory. She quit the previous job, as the owner did not pay her salary
consecutively for three months.
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BSS

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* A pro-business budget:

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar here on Tuesday tabled in parliament the Rs3.936 trillion federal budget for 2014-15 with 4.9 percent deficit, giving more relief to the rich business community and only peanuts for the poor. He also jacked up the CNG price by Rs3 per kg.

The minister proposed to raise the salaries of government employees by 10 percent and the minimum monthly wage to Rs12,000 from Rs10,000.
The minimum pension is being raised from Rs5,000 to Rs6,000.
Under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), the poor will now receive Rs1,500 per month, Rs300 more compared to the previous fiscal. Now 5.3 million families will be supported instead of 4.1 million.
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thenewspk thenewspk

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20140531-0602

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Beautiful Clothes, Ugly Reality:

Following January’s violent crackdown on Cambodian garment workers, a group of women decided they wanted a new way to draw attention to the workers’ struggle; something different where workers could express for themselves what was really going on.

They decided on a fashion show where workers would model the brand-name clothes they make everyday in the factories, but they’d do it with a very clear message to the brands – stop the violence, stop the exploitation, and pay a decent wage.
The show weaved together fashion, dance, music, and performance art; at one point men dressed in makeshift ‘Joe Fresh’ riot gear took to the catwalk before reenacting January’s violent crackdown and the death of a worker on stage.
see video.

Since the brutal crackdowns on Cambodian garment worker protests in January, the media attention has been dominated with stories of the exploitation and violence that these workers, mostly women, face daily.

What’s missing are the stories of how so many of these women are so often finding the bravery and ingenuity to stand up to this oppression. That’s why the recent garment worker event, “Beautiful Clothes, Ugly Reality” was so amazing to see.
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HEATHER

* Cambodia: Garment workers parade beautiful clothes, ugly realities:

About 300 garment workers, NGO staff, civil servants and media staged a “fashion show” at the United Sisterhood Alliance-Worker’s Information Center (US-WIC) in Phnom Penh on May 25, called “Beautiful Clothes, Ugly realities”.

As the Cambodian government still bans its opponents from using Freedom Park for protests, the fashion show was seen as a new, creative way of getting across our message.

Realising that if they are silenced by fear and don’t take action, there is no possibility of change for in their lives, Cambodian garment workers confidently took to the catwalk carrying giant US$100 notes which they then tore up.

They then placed the torn strips into different boxes labelled “food”, “water”, “electricity”, “utility”, “transport” and “health” to make the point they are not paid enough to survive.

To meet their basic needs and to support their families, Cambodian garment workers have to work long hours of overtime.
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GREENLEFT

* South Korean Embassy Asks Gov’t to End Strike:

The South Korean Embassy has called on the Labor Ministry to end a strike at a South Korean-owned garment factory in Phnom Penh, where workers are demanding regular raises and better benefits.

Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Suor confirmed Sunday that South Korean Ambassador Kim Han-soo met with Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng on Wednesday to ask for help in ending what the ambassador called an “illegal” strike at the Cambo Handsome factory.

“It is about the illegal strike in the factory,” Mr. Suor said of the meeting, which he did not attend. “The ambassador complained that the workers at the factory continue to do illegal strike and they [the embassy] asked for intervention.

“They want the ministry to comply with the law…to order them to go back to work,” he said.
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Cambodia_Daily_logo

20140531 * S. Korea says protest at Cambo Handsome factory is illegal:

South Korean embassy in Cambodia expressed concern and called the protests at Cambo Handsome illegal.

Some 2,000 workers have been protesting since May 22, demanding that the factory employer remove old contract, and provide compensation to them who have been working for about 10 years. They also asked the factory to oust a Cambodian union leader who always threatened and prevented workers from protesting.

Kim Han Soo, South Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, raised the concerns during a recent meeting with Cambodia’s Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng.

Cambodia Handsome implemented undetermined duration contract, not fixed duration contract, said Kim Han Soo, asking the Labor Ministry to take immediate action to stop that illegal protest.

Regarding the issue, Ith Sam Heng said that the ministry would  send officials to resolve the issue, and the ministry has already received the complaint from the Cambo Handsome factory.

The ministry would inform the union leaders to resolve the issue as soon as possible, and would take legal action against them if they don’t cooperate.
to read.
CAMHERALD

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG workers protest factory closure in Ctg:

20140601 BDnews24Angry workers have blockaded a road in Agrabad of Chittagong after authorities shut down a RMG unit. Photo by BDnews24.

The workers of ‘Ambia Garments’ on Sunday blocked the Airport road at Agrabad Badamtala intersection protesting the closure of their factory and demanding payment of arrears.

Mohammad Arifur Rahman, Inspector of Industrial DB police, said factory owner Abul Hashem announced temporary closure of the factory at about 11:30 am due unavailability of order.

After the announcement, the workers staged demonstrations at the factory protesting the closure decision and demanded payment of their arrears immediately.
The workers later gathered at Agrabad Badamtala intersection at about 1 pm and blocked the road, creating traffic jam on the busy road.
Later, police pacified them at about 2pm.
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UNB  FE bd  bdnews24  daily star bd

* Body suggests factory owner-worker consultation to set wage:

PIECE-RATE WORKERS

The working committee formed by the government to identify problems of the sweater factory workers who work under piece rate system has suggested that factory owners should set rates after consultations with their workers.

To resolve the prevailing disputes over payment on piece-rate basis, the committee on Monday submitted its eight-point recommendations to the labour ministry’s sub-committee.
The working committee recommended that categorisation of grades of the workers should be based on workers’ efficiency, factory owners should pay workers as per the piece rate during pick season, should pay workers on basis of the piece rate or grade, whichever will be higher, during the dull season and should give workers basic pay during off season.

The working committee comprising the representatives of the government, factory owners, workers and labour rights groups made the recommendations after visiting three sweater factories in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Gazipur.
The labour ministry officials said that based on the information gathered during the factory visit by the sub-committee and the recommendations made by the working committee, the sub-committee would prepare the final recommendations within a short time.
After getting the final recommendations the labour ministry will formulate a set of comprehensive guidelines for the sweater and knitwear factory workers who work under piece-rate system.
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NEWAGEnew

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Trade unions demand wage board:

The BJP leadership at the Centre has projected itself as being pro-business and industry-friendly. But some say that its grand vision of 10% GDP growth has made the party forget about one crucial aspect of the economy – the labour force.

Trade unions in Gurgaon said that the Centre has as yet kept mum on labour policy reforms which have been long overdue in this country.

“The fact that they haven’t got anyone to head the labour ministry sends across a bad signal. This means this government aims to carry forward the anti-labour policies of the previous one,” said Satvir Singh, secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Union’s district committee.

Singh said that the need of the hour is to set up a minimum wage advisory board for this region. “The government should also think seriously about implementing the existing labour laws, if not revising them for the benefit of the workers,” he said.
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TOInew

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Call for same labour laws for men, women:

Speakers at a convention on women workers rights were unanimous in their demands that labour laws should be the same for male and female workers and the draft bill on Home Based Workers (HBWs) should be passed without delay.

They also unanimously demanded to make the uplift plan for workers in informal sector a part of the manifestos of all political parties; fix minimum wages of HBWs and acknowledge them as workers; grant female agricultural workers the right to form unions; and give them lands instead of cash grants. Women workers should also be offered soft loans on a preferential basis, it was demanded.

The demands were made at a one-day “Convention of Women Workers” which was organized by HomeNet Pakistan under Gender Equity Programme (GEP) implemented in collaboration with Aurat Foundation (AF) and supported by USAID.

Those who participated in the convention included activists, union leaders, civil society organizations, public policy experts, officers from labour department, HBWs, politicians and female MPAs from the Punjab Assembly.

The participants discussed various problems faced by women workers and stressed that they should be recognized as labour. They said the work they perform in different sectors of economy is taken forgranted and they are not entitled to have social security cover, EOBI cards and other benefits availed by their male counterparts.
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thenewspk

* A Pakistani’s perspective: Why Bangladesh is doing better than Pakistan:

20140602 TRIBUNE
The industry currently employs 13 million people, that’s almost 10% of its population and 20% of its labour force, what’s even more impressive is Bangladesh’s continuous growth. PHOTO: FILE

From a western perspective, it makes eminent economic sense to outsource garment manufacturing to countries with 1/20th of its minimum wage rates. The cost reduces dramatically and profits go through the roof.

Last year, the West spent $200 billion on sourcing cheap garments from the developing world. The same were retailed for $1.0 trillion back home.
This forms the very basis for global apparel trade.

Bangladesh earned $21 billion of revenues last year by exporting garments to the West. We earned $2.6 billion. This brought 90% of Bangladesh’s foreign exchange earnings.
The industry currently employs 13 million people. That’s almost 10% of its population and 20% of its labour force. What’s even more impressive is Bangladesh’s continuous growth. In 2002, Pakistan and Bangladesh had identical export earnings from garments at $2.5 billion each.
A 2011 Deloitte-Touche study predicts that Bangladesh’s garment industry shall rise to $40 billion by 2018. Few doubt this number. Even industrial disasters – such as Rana Plaza’s collapse last year that killed more than 1,200 workers or the fire at Tazreen shirt factory a year before that killed 112 – appear but small bumps on its road to growth.

The Bangladeshi garment workers drive hard wage bargains too. Often they ransack factories and go on strikes. They have a strong case.
A trouser exported at $7.50 is retailed for $50. It contains $0.3 of labour component. Doubling the wages would hardly dent the profits of the western retailers; so goes their argument.
The owners can pass these extra cents to the western buyers. Historically, this argument has always won. Since 2005, when their minimum wages stood at $18 per month, they have fought long and hard and won raises every two years.
After last year’s successful standoff, their wages stand at $65 per month. Surprisingly, even these hikes have not stymied growth; the export numbers have kept increasing. This only tells how abysmally low and inconsequential the wages had been to begin with.
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tribune

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20140529-30

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Ocean Garment Workers On Strike After Factory Halts Operations:

About 1,000 workers protested outside Ocean Garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on Wednesday to demand compensation for being out of work while the factory suspends its operations for a month due to flagging demand from buyers, a union leader said.

Workers have been protesting since Saturday after the factory announced it would suspend production from Monday until June 26.

Huon Vanna, 32, a factory representative for the Collective Union of Movement of Workers who has worked at Ocean for 13 years, said employees rejected Ocean’s offer to pay them $15 per month while the factory is closed, and are demanding 50 percent of their regular salaries.

“The factory agreed to pay us only $15 per month during the suspension, but we demand the factory to pay us 50 percent of our salary since we cannot use this amount to pay for our living,” he said.

Mr. Vanna said that fewer orders from big brands such as Gap had forced the factory to suspend production.

“The factory said that they did not have orders from certain buyers such as…Gap since February. Therefore they decided to suspend [operations] for one month.”

“If a factory shuts down, they have to pay compensation to us in compliance with the Labor Law before they close down their factory,” Mr. Vanna added.
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Cambodia_Daily_logo

* One Factory Strike Ends, Another Continues:

Management at the Ocean Garment factory in Phnom Penh, which has temporarily suspended operations due to a lack of orders, said they are awaiting a Ministry of Labor decision on how much they need to pay workers as about 1,000 employees continued to protest outside the Pur Senchey factory Thursday, demanding at least 50% of their monthly pay.

Currently, the factory is offering just $15 per month until production resumes.

“We had to suspend [production] from May 26 to June 26 since there were no orders from buyers, including Gap,” Chin Sophat, an administrator from the factory said Thursdy, adding that he didn’t know why the orders had diminished.

“The issue is being discussed…and we are waiting for the Ministry of Labor to decide how much to pay them during the suspension,” he said.

Huon Vanna, a representative from the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said talks will also be held among the workers to decide what action to take if their demands are not met.
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Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodian government under pressure over garment sector:

This week, representatives from some of the world’s largest clothing brands have been meeting with the Cambodian government and local manufacturers in a bid to improve the lot of workers in the country’s most important industry.

Speakers: Jyrki Raina, general secretary of the IndustriALL Global Union; Dave Welsh, country representative of the Solidarity Center.

CARMICHAEL: This week’s meetings were the second between government officials and some of the world’s leading brands since at least four garment workers were shot dead in January by the authorities during violent protests. The workers were seeking a rise in the monthly minimum wage from 100 dollars to 160 dollars.

Since January, dozens of people have been arrested and charged with criminal offences such as incitement and damage to property. In the largest such case, the trial of 23 workers and unionists wrapped up last week in Phnom Penh. A verdict in their case will be handed down on Friday.

Rights groups and some unions complain that the authorities are using the country’s pliant courts to crack down on industrial action within the 5.5-billion-dollar a year garment sector, a vital pillar of the economy that accounts for 80 percent of foreign exchange earnings.

The unremitting flow of bad news is why representatives from brands such as H&M, Puma and Inditex met on Monday with government officials. On Tuesday, they met with GMAC, the association that represents the hundreds of factories to which they subcontract their production, most of which is exported to the U.S. and the European Union.
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RADIOAUSTRALIE

* Does the De-Facto Government Think It Can Afford to Lose Cambodia’s Largest Buyers?:

This week high level discussions took place between representatives of the de-facto government and major international brands sourcing Cambodian garments.

As the trial of the 23 approaches, the message communicated was clear: “due to [the] reaction of consumers and the disruption to production and shipping caused by continued unrest, Cambodia [is] at risk of losing its status as a strategic sourcing market, with an impact on future investment and growth.” (Brand and union statement issued May 27, 2014)

Brands expressed their immediate concern that “the outcome of the judicial process for the detainees must be based on evidence and stands up to international scrutiny to build trust and confidence.” (As above)

Cambodian civil society, including the United Nations, is unanimous in its assessment that there is no evidence to support the charges against the 23.

The brands present at this week’s meeting were a delegation of the 30 signatories to letters delivered earlier this year. Based on consignee data, conservative estimates would place the purchasing power of these signatory brands at least 60% of the garment industry. This equates to approximately US$3.3 billion dollars annually, equal to almost one quarter of Cambodia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
read more.
CLEC

* Cambodian Garment Workers Face Violence in the Struggle for aBetter Wage:

20140529 CLEC

After violent crackdowns on a garment workers’ strike on January 2-3, 2014, major brands are feeling the pressure from consumers to hold Cambodia accountable for the treatment of its workers.

We encourage international consumers to continue to react and to let the brands know that they will no longer stand for the injustice endured by Cambodian garment workers.
see video.
CLEC

* Brands warn problems could see them quit Cambodia:

Garment manufacturing is Cambodia’s most important sector, earning $5.5 billion in foreign exchange last year and employing 600,000 people. But recent failings have proved a PR disaster for global brands.

That is why representatives from 30 brands, including H&M, Puma, Gap Inc, Inditex and Levi-Strauss, sat down with senior government officials on Monday, their second such meeting this year. Also present at the closed-door meeting was the IndustriALL Global Union, an affiliation of more than 50 million workers in over 140 countries.

In a joint statement released late Tuesday, the brands and IndustriALL said they had told the government that consumer pressure in their home markets against serious rights abuses in Cambodia, as well as the sector’s ongoing instability, meant Cambodia was “at risk of losing its status as a strategic sourcing market, with an impact on future investment and growth.”

They also told officials that troops who opened fire on workers during violent protests in January, killing at least four, “should be brought to justice,” and warned they would not tolerate the authorities using violence to shutter peaceful strikes and demonstrations by workers.

In addition, they told the government that the current trials of workers and unionists “must be based on evidence and stand up to international scrutiny to build trust and confidence,” and called on the authorities to drop a swathe of lawsuits filed against unions and union leaders.

‘Not a living wage’
The demands represent a pivotal moment in Cambodia’s relations with international brands, which on Tuesday also met with representatives from the Garment Manufacturers’ Association in Cambodia (GMAC), the grouping of 400-plus factories to which the brands subcontract production.

Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL’s general secretary, told DW the central reason behind Cambodia’s worsening industrial relations was the low minimum wage of 100 USD a month.

“It’s not a living wage. And that is why people work 10-14 hours a day,” said Raina, who took part in the two days of meetings. “It’s very important to find a path now towards a living wage that covers the basic needs and makes it possible for people to have a life.”
read more.
DW

* Levi Strauss Slashes Orders From Cambodian Factories:

Labor Unrest Could Potentially Affect Supply Chain, Deliveries

Levi Strauss & Co. has slashed orders from Cambodian factories amid the political unrest in the country, after a nationwide strike by garment workers to demand higher wages was quelled with a violent crackdown.

The denim maker, along with a handful of U.S. and European brands including Gap Inc. and Hennes & Mauritz AB, attended a meeting with government officials on Monday to discuss a new wage-setting mechanism.
read more.
WSJ

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Workers’ demo at Ashuila for due wage:

Several hundreds workers of two clothing factories staged demonstration and work abstention in Unique area of Ashulia, on the outskirt of capital Dhaka, Thursday.

Workers of Mouyri Knitwear Limited and Bangla-Japan Limited left the work in the morning and began demonstrating in the area demanding payment of their due wages.

Workers at Mouyri Knitwear told their wages remained unpaid for last three months; Thursday was the day to pay the wages.
On arrival at workplace, the workers found the factory’s main entrance locked and began demonstration.
Workers at Bangla-Japan told they went on work abstention since morning demanding payment of their due wages of last two months.
read more.
banglanews24NEW

* Garment workers demand arrears be paid in Gazipur:

The workers said that the authority had promised them to pay the arrear yesterday had not keep their word

 

Hundreds of readymade garment workers from two factories in Gazipur refrained from work and staged demonstration demanding arrears be paid. 

Police said workers of Moyuri Wear Ltd and Bangla Japan had begun their demonstrations in the morning to bring attention to various demands including payment of arrears, an increase in attendance bonus and overtime payments.

Workers of Moyuri Wear Ltd said the factory authority had been making excuses and delaying in payment for the last three months.

They also said they were paid less than the salary paid to other garment factory workers. The workers started their demonstration on the factory premises yesterday around 9am after seeing main gate of the garment factory closed.

The workers said that the authority had promised them to pay the arrear yesterday had not keep their word.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* RMG sector: Getting paid as you perform:

The ready-made garment (RMG) sector that began its journey in the 1980s has emerged the biggest part of our manufacturing industry.

Now, it employs more than 4.5 million workers, mainly women from low income families.
But the main problem that still remains unresolved to a large extent is the wage structure for workers, who are mainly labourers doing blue-collar jobs.

We experienced unrest, vandalism and strike in this sector over the workers’ minimum wage demand.
But is the minimum wage the best solution? If we visit economic theories, we see a rational individual acts in the best interest of his or her own. Adam Smith chose to call it ‘self-love’. This passion of a man drives him to gather wealth for ensuring a comfortable today and a better future.

The owners of the garments factories and the workers are no exception. However, the self-interest is not a bad thing until it affects others’ legitimate rights.
So an owner’s inclination for making more profit by reducing the expenses is as simple as it is.
On the contrary, the workers want better wages to meet their basic needs. Hence, to solve the conflict of interest and the wage problem, we need to address the problem from both the owners’ and workers’ perspectives.
read more.
FE bd

LW + 2

20140528

19:26:30 local time map of thailand THAILAND

tbvUPDATE1 * Workers seek better wages, rights:

Over 300 workers have protested in front of the Asia Rose garment factory in Hlaingthayar industrial zone, after being expelled for demanding better wages.

The workers started their protest on May 7 and demanded greater respect of their rights and a better salary, which is currently Ks 400 per day.”At first, we didn’t intend to protest but the owner of the factory insisted in telling us not to participate in the protest. When the workers came to work on May 7, the factory was closed. Later the owner said that we broke the employees-employers contract and they expelled all the demonstrators,” said Thanda Moe on behalf of the demonstrators.
read more.
theNATIONnew

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Brands ready to incorporate higher wages in Cambodia:

Global fashion brands and retailers have told the Cambodian government they are willing to accommodate any agreed minimum wage increase in their future purchasing from the country.

IndustriALL Global Union, together with eight international brands, including H&M, GAP, Puma, Levi’s and Inditex, met with the Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, four senior ministers and other government officials for talks at the Peace Palace in the capital Phnom Penh on Monday 26 May.

IndustriALL’s general secretary, Jyrki Raina, who also represented the ITUC and UNI Global Union at the meeting, said: For the first time global brands have acknowledged that they are prepared to cost in the price of higher salaries in Cambodia. The ball is now in the court of the government and factory owners to get round the table and agree on a new wage setting mechanism.

Cambodian garment unions are fighting to increase the minimum wage from US$100 to US160 per month.

IndustriALL and brands also called for clear timelines in relation to the new Trade Union law as well as the wage setting mechanism, as the government revealed that new research on the process will be released mid-June.

Unions and brands reiterated their desire for a positive future for the Cambodian garment sector, which employs around 500,000 people and generates revenues of US$ 5 billion a year. However, they warned that continued sourcing from the country would depend on stability, transparency, predictability and the rule of law.

One major clothing brand revealed that it had cut its sourcing from Cambodia by 50% in the past year due to concerns about political instability and human rights violations in the country.

Brands and unions also expressed their concerns that the trial of 23 protestors arrested during the January wage demonstrations must be based on evidence and stand up to international security.

There is a question mark over evidence of direct links to damage to property by the 23 detainees, while IndustriALL sources have cast serious doubts about the impartiality of judicial proceedings in their trial.

Furthermore, sources say the detainees are set to receive prison sentences of two to three years when they are sentenced on Friday 30 May.
read more.
INDUSRIall

LW + 2

20140527

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Brands back wage bump: unionist:

20140527 PPP
Workers demand higher wages during a protest outside the Ministry of Labour in late December. In incidents since then, workers have been shot dead and union leaders arrested. Photo by Heng Chivoan.

Major clothing-company representatives told high-ranking Cambodian officials yesterday that they would be willing to adjust their pricing structure to facilitate a minimum-wage hike, according to a member of a global union who was present for talks in Phnom Penh.

They also said that violent crackdowns on demonstrations and the ongoing detention of workers and unionists are affecting their image, according to Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union.

“They talked about the increasing pressure from consumers, so the image is very important,” Raina said outside the room in the Peace Palace where he and representatives from four major brands aired their concerns. “Cambodia’s image got a bad hit in January when … workers were killed and many were arrested and injured.”

Yesterday’s meeting came ahead of a scheduled verdict on Friday in the case against 23 people arrested in early-January demonstrations, and after 17 union members were arrested while participating in strikes this month. Leaders of eight local labour unions – who were not invited to the roundtable discussion – released a statement yesterday demanding the release of the nine union members still being detained for the May protests in Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces.

After the meeting, Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour said government officials had told the brands that enforcing Cambodian law is obligatory.

“We clearly explained to the international buyer representatives that the rule of law must be complied with in Cambodia,” said Sour, who named Puma, H&M, Gap Inc and Levi Strauss as brands that had representatives in the meeting. “The union [members] were charged by a judge, not because they participated in freedom of association, but they violated other laws.”

Brand officials refused to speak with reporters after the meeting, saying they would later release a joint statement. As of 10pm last night, the statement had not been distributed.

Sour said the company officials misunderstood the definition of minimum wage in the Kingdom.
“In our law mentioning minimum wage, we are not talking about a fair wage, we are not talking about a living wage,” Sour said.
read more.
PPP new

* Brands, Unions Say Gov’t Moving Slowly on Wage Talk:

International union groups and some global clothing brands that buy from Cambodia told the government Monday that it was moving too slowly in coming up with a new minimum wage for garment workers and that one brand had already cut orders in half because of uncertain supplies.

Representatives from Gap, H&M, Levi’s and Puma all declined to comment as they left a one-and-a-half-hour meeting behind closed doors with the government’s top labor and commerce officials in Phnom Penh, which was a follow-up to a similar meeting in February.

Jyrki Raina, general secretary of the IndustriALL Global Union, said all brand representatives stressed that their continued business in Cambodia rested on the certainty of supplies, something they feared was at risk after months of strikes that have delayed some orders.

“All the brands who were present, they said that they need stability, that they need to be able to see what the future is. That was the clear message to the government,” Mr. Raina said.

A nationwide strike forced most garment factories to briefly shut down in late December and early January. Twenty-three men were recently put on trial for protests that turned violent on the final days of that strike, and 17 unionists have been arrested for taking part in strikes this month alone.

According to Mr. Raina, one of the brands at Monday’s meeting told the government that it had cut its orders back by about 50 percent this year because of uncertainty. He declined to identify the brand.

The latest round of strikes were triggered late last year by demands for a higher monthly minimum wage for garment workers, currently set at $100. The government has since started talks with the unions and employers to come up with a better way to set the figure.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodian officials meet with buyers from global brands on garment issues:

Cambodian officials, led by Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, on Monday met with a 18-member delegation representing global brands and trade unions to discuss garment worker rights and wages.

It was the second round of talks between Cambodian government officials and representatives of major brands including H&M, Gap, Levi’s and Puma, as well as IndustriALL Global Union after a similar meeting held here in February.

Speaking to reporters after a two-hour closed-door meeting, Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labor, said the meeting touched on the issues of minimum wages for workers, draft trade union law, and 23 labor activists and workers arrested during violent clashes in January.

“In the meeting, buyers called for the expedition of talks on minimum wages, urged for a draft trade union law by the end of this year, and wanted to see justice for the 23 detainees,” he said.

According to Heng Sour, buyers also warned to reduce purchase orders from Cambodia if uncertainty and unpredictability in the garment and footwear sector still persisted due to strikes for higher wages.
read more. & read more.
CAMHERALD CHINAORG

* ‘Low wages and short-term contracts are like handcuffs’:

An interview with Tola Moeun, an activist with the Community Legal Education Center. He is an activist on labour and human rights issues since 2003.
'Low wages and short-term contracts are like handcuffs'
Tola Moeun

10 December 2013: Tola Moeun has just arrived in Phnom Penh after a ten-day march from the provinces.

This annual walk celebrates International Human Rights Day and creates space for dialogue for civil society groups, unions and other human rights groups. Since 2004, hundreds and later thousands of people have joined the 144-kilometre march, which arrives in the capital every year on the 10th of December.

Tola is head of the Labour Programme at the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) which monitors labour rights and provides legal training, legal assistance and other capacity development and support for the communities. The Clean Clothes Campaign works together with CLEC on human rights violations in Cambodia.

“Workers in the garment industry are kept in slave-like working conditions by two handcuffs and one weapon. Two handcuffs: one is low pay. This makes us work hard and forces us to do overtime. It keeps us from staying home when we are ill or pregnant. The other handcuff is the short-term contract. You cannot take maternity leave, and it prevents workers from joining the union, because their contract will be terminated.
The weapon: that’s the violence. This can be physical violence or mental violence, such as verbal abuse and keeping information from the workers.”
read more.
CCC

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG workers demonstrate for arrears in Ctg:

Workers of Beau Monde Garments Ltd in Chittagong city demonstrated on the factory premises yesterday demanding arrears of the last two months.

Around 1,300 workers of the factory at Alanker in Pahartali thana started demonstrating around 11:00am as the authorities did not pay them the arrears that they earlier promised to clear yesterday.
The authorities once before had given them a date, May 22, for the payment, said Nasima Begum, a worker.
Some of the agitated workers hurled brick-bats towards the factory building, said police.

The workers said some of them were injured by brick-bats which some agitated workers tried to throw towards the factory building.
They also said police, who were called by the authorities, baton-charged them as they tried to take to the streets.
However, denying the allegation, police said they only restricted them on the premises.
The workers calmed down and left after the factory owner, Syed Ahasanul Haque Shameem, assured them of clearing all the dues on Thursday.
to read.
daily star bd

* RMG workers stage demo for due wages in Chittagong:

The workers, however, withdrew their demonstration around 4pm as the factory’s owner assured payment by Thursday

Workers of a ready-made garment factory in Chittagong took to the streets demanding their due pay in the city’s Sagarika Road yesterday afternoon.

While demonstrating, the agitated workers vandalised the insides of BO Monde Garments Ltd as well as two vehicles on the street. They also attempted to block the road, but were thwarted by the Industrial and Pahartoli police who took control of the situation within an hour.

The workers, however, withdrew their demonstration around 4pm as the factory’s owner assured payment by Thursday.

Inspector Arifur Rahman of Industrial Police (Intelligence) in Chittagong said the workers started demonstrating yesterday in and out of the factory as the factory owner failed to pay their due wages despite repeated requests, as they had been unpaid since April.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Workers of Bimond Group Garments staged a demonstration:

20140527 FE
Workers of Bimond Group Garments staged a demonstration at Alankar Morh in Chittagong Monday demanding payment of wage arrears.— Focus Bangla Photo
to read.
FE bd

LW + 2

20140525-26

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* A ‘Reality’ check for top brands:

20140526 PPP
A garment worker participating in a re-enactment of the violent January strikes on Veng Sreng Boulevard dons a military police officer costume as others get ready backstage in Phnom Penh. Photo by Hong Menea.

Ahead of this afternoon’s planned talks between government representatives and international fashion labels, garment workers toting riot gear and fake guns yesterday staged a re-enactment of January’s lethal crackdown on protesting workers at the start of the year.

As Cambodian pop songs blasted from a speaker, dozens of men and women acted out the violent clash, which took place on Veng Sreng Boulevard on January 2 and 3, before a crowd of hundreds at the Workers’ Information Center, a labour rights organisation in Tuol Kork.

The scene was part of a politically motivated fashion show titled “Beautiful Clothes, Ugly Reality”, which also featured workers strutting down a catwalk clad in factory-produced dresses, jeans and sweatshirts. The show was intended to support the stalled campaign to raise the minimum wage to $160. Today the government will meet with major brands including H&M, Gap, Levi’s and Puma, as well as IndustriALL Global Union, to discuss garment worker rights and wages in the second round of talks between the parties.

“We want to show the gap between the salary of the worker and the salary of the brand owner,” said Chan Reaksmey from the Workers’ Information Centre, which organised the fashion event.

“But we also want to talk about the crackdown that happened on the workers in January,” she added.

At least four people were killed when military police opened fire during demonstrations on January 2 and 3, and last weekend Moun Sokmean, who was injured in the unrest, also died. Twenty-three protesters accused of inciting violence during the riots are embroiled in an ongoing legal battle.
read more.
PPP new

* Workers Turn Models on Political Catwalk:

About 150 garment workers turned out to the Phnom Penh of­fices of the United Sisterhood Al­liance NGO on Sunday to watch a politically charged fashion show entitled “Beautiful Clothes, Ugly Reality.”

Aimed to highlight “the income gap between Cambodian garment workers and the selected CEOs of brand companies,” according to show organizers, the two-hour program featured a medley of cat-walking, political theater and speeches calling for a $160 month­ly basic wage. 

After a brief dance described as “crackdown hip-hop,” which featured four young men “krump­ing” with their arms over house music punctuated by gun-shot sound effects, a group of about a dozen female garment workers, on their day off work, emerged onto the catwalk.

The workers-turned-models, who served as the stars of the rest of the show, presented a range of colorful clothing that had no unifying theme other than hav­ing been produced in a Cam­bo­dian garment factory.

Items spanned from unbranded plain black dresses to jacket tops and T-shirts displaying the “Pu­ma” and “Adidas” logos.

Event organizers said the show was designed to stress to both the government and the brands being displayed—H&M, Adidas, Puma, Gap, Old Navy and Nike—the need for a higher basic wage.

“If we don’t demand, there will be no change,” said Phon Sreivin, one of the workers who took part in the program.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

18:56:30 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20140522 * Garment factory workers protest better wages:

20140522 ELEVEN
Demonstrators seen in front of the Asia rose garment factory on May 21 (Photo-EMG)

Over 300 workers have protested in front of the Asia Rose garment factory in Hlaingthayar industrial zone, after being expelled for demanding better wages.

The workers started their protest on May 7 and have demanded for respect of their rights including better in salary, which is curretly Ks 400 per day.

“At first, we didn’t intend to protest but the owner of the factory insisted in signing us not to participate in the protest. When the workers came to work on May 7, the factory was closed. Later the owner said that we broke the employees-employers contract and they expelled all the demonstrators,” said Thanda Moe on behalf of the demonstrators.

The workers have complained to respective authorities on May 15 and May 19. No agreement has yet been reached with officials from the factory.

The owner of the factory, Kyin Hmwe said they have not expelled the workers but they have been barred from work by the contract.

“We have set the rules for them to be disciplined. It is not oppressing. If they can’t follow the rules, they better not join the work. Because they demonstrated in front of the factory, our work faces many obstacles,” he said.
to read.
Eleven

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Police attack workers’ demo in N’ganj:

20140526 FE
Police dispersed the agitating workers of Ananta Apparels of Adamjee EPZ under Siddhirganj thana of Narayanganj when they tried to stage a demonstration. The picture was taken Sunday. — Focus Bangla Photo (FE)

Workers claim at least five have been injured in baton charges and rubber bullets

Law enforcers have dispersed agitating workers of the Adamjee Export Processing Zone (EPZ) during protest over dismissal of workers in a factory in Narayanganj.

At least five people were injured when industrial police charged batons and fired shortgun rounds during the clash on Sunday morning, workers and witnesses said.

Workers of Ananta, Supreme and Sinha garment factories were being forced to work overtime without pay, a worker of Ananta garment unit Taslima said.

“We were pressing for 11-point demand including wages for overtime and wages according to law.”

“But today (Sunday) morning, our factory sacked 40 workers. Industrial police tried to force them out of factory premises. We resisted,” she said.
read more. & to read.
DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd

* Gazipur RMG workers block highway:

Agitate workers of Orchidia Garments Limited in Gazipur blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway on Sunday demanding their arrear payments.

Several hundred workers staged the demonstration as the factory authorities shut it down four months ago declaring a 15-day closure.
Gazipur industrial police assistant superintendent Mosarraf Hossain, quoting the workers, said they went to the factory as the authorities assured them that they would pay their arrear payments and they blocked the road finding none at the factory.
Later the police went to the spot and resumed the vehicular movement on the road at about 12:15pm, he added.
to read.
NEWAGEnew

LW + 2

20140524

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Factory workers show support for arrested unionists:

Today, hundreds of workers gathered in Takeo’s provincial town to show their support for eight union leaders and union members who were arrested yesterday afternoon during a garment factory strike at the JSD Textile (Cambodia) Co. Ltd factory.

The strikers were seeking a minimum wage of $160 and improved working conditions. Armed security forces have blocked the way to the court with barbed wire and to the provincial police station, where the arrested unionists are being held.

The eight unionists include six union leaders from the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) and two CCAWDU staff, who came to assist the striking workers.
read more.
licadho

LW + 2

20140523

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Workers protest against price-hike, low wages:

 Working class observed protest day on Thursday all over the country under the aegis of Pakistan Workers Confederation in support of their demands, urging the prime minister to raise wages and pensions of the workers employed in government, semi-government departments, autonomous bodies and private sector @ 30% of their basic pay and fix minimum pension at Rs10,000 per month and minimum wage at Rs.30,000 per month for unskilled workers as well as levy tax upon feudal lords and elite and get recovered $300 billion deposited by the elite of the country in Swiss banks and raise productivity of national public utilities instead of privatizing them.

The workers held mass protest rallies in various cities of the country including Peshawar, Hyderabad, Quetta, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Attock, Multan, Faisalabad, Sukkur and other cities. At Lahore, a large protest rally was held at Press Club Square, which was participated by representatives and workers of the trade unions of various departments and private sector industrial trade unions including WAPDA, electricity, railways, PTCL, textile, transport, leather, PWD, irrigation etc.
read more.
the NATIONnew

* Labourers want raise in wages, pensions :

PUNJAB’S labourers held a protest demonstration under the auspices of the Pakistan Workers Confederation on Thursday demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to raise wages and pensions of the workers employed in government, semi-government departments, autonomous bodies and private sector by 30 percent of their basic pay and fix minimum pension by 10,000 rupees per month and minimum wages by 30,000 rupees per month for all workers.

Workers of different trade unions of various government departments and private sector industrial trade unions, including Wapda, railways; PTCL, PWD and Irrigation Department Punjab, participated in the protest.

Protesters gathered outside the Lahore Press Club said a tax should be imposed on landlords and elites in order to break the chains of heavy debt of the World Bank and IMF and recover 300 billion US dollars deposited by Pakistani businessmen and politicians into the offshore banks as admitted by Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
read more.
thenewspk

LW + 2

20140522

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Minimum Wage Order: Ministry Continues To Monitor Employers:

The Ministry of Human Resources will continue to monitor employers who fail to comply with the Minimum Wage Order 2012 since the enforcement of the policy early this year.

Its Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib said that currently they were taking a compromised approach, which included looking at the problems faced by employers in implementing the policy.

“The ministry is conducting inspections from time to time at each departmental level …many (companies) have put it into effect and we are still giving companies the opportunity to restructure their operations to conform with the policy,” he told reporters after officiating at the Workshop on ‘Study On Implementing Productivity-Linked Wage System’ (PLWS) organised by the Department of Industrial Relations here Wednesday.
read more.
BERNAMA

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Workers call off strike:

House-based workers to get 21% wage hike

The 73-day-long strike by powerloom workers of Sankarankovil came to an end on Wednesday.

The powerloom workers of Sankarankovil were on strike since March 10 seeking
75% increase in wages in addition to festival and national holiday wages at the rate of Rs. 300 a day for those working in powerlooms under operation in the houses.

But the Master Weavers’ Association members said that they could give 23% increase in wages only for those working in the factory-based powerlooms and not for those working in the house-based powerlooms.
An agreement on giving 23% hike in wages for factory-based powerloom workers was signed between the parties concerned.

After repeated rounds of talks, mediated by the Department of Labour between the workers’ unions and the Master Weavers’ Association on increasing wages for powerloom workers under operation in houses failed, the affected workers recently submitted petition during the weekly grievance day meeting at the Collectorate seeking early implementation of the wage agreement arrived earlier.

Against this backdrop, talks held between the Master Weavers’ Association and the workers in the presence of Kannan, Chairman of Sankarankovil Municipality, led to an agreement to the effect that workers of powerlooms under operation in houses would be given 21 per cent hike in wages.
Following this development, the 73-day-long strike by the powerloom workers has come to an end.
to read.
THEHINDU

LW + 2

20140521

GLOBAL

* The deadly business of the bargain garment industry:

Vietnam’s foreign factory burnings gripped the news headlines last week as a wave of anti Chinese sentiment was sparked by a Chinese drilling rig’s encroachment in the South China Seas, but it can’t be hard to enrage impoverished factory workers struggling to feed themselves on wages that don’t meet their basic needs.

Similarly, labor activists in Cambodia have been keen to point out the new minimum wage of $100 per month falls short of the bottom end of the living wage of $160 they have been asking for.
On Tuesday, May 20, labor activists went to the courthouse in Phnom Penh in support of the remaining 21 imprisoned labor activists, garment workers and bystanders arrested during the violent crackdown on protestors that claimed five workers’ lives in January.
Hundreds of supporters gathered calling for their release on Tuesday.  The trial continues today as the International Trade Union Confederation published its global rating report, ranking Cambodia as one of the worst countries for labor rights, one rank above the “no rule of law” status awarded to countries like the Ukraine and Syria.

Tola Moeun, head of the Labor for Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) in Cambodia, recently traveled to the US and Europe to campaign for the rights of garment workers.  He wrote an open letter to US brands like Wal-Mart and GAP, calling them out on their exploitation.

“The low-cost garment model is a product of inequality – both in the US and in Cambodia,” he wrote.

However those profiting from the low wages disagree.  Bruce Rockowitz, CEO for Li & Fung Ltd., the largest sourcing companies for Western brands, told the New York Times last year that, “Consumers have just not been willing to accept higher costs.”  The Hong Kong based company has come under fire for its ruthless bargain contracts for brands like Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart retail workers in the US earn some of the lowest wages in the retail industry, 12.4 percent less than retail outlets overall, according to the Center for Labor Research and Education at University of California, Berkeley.
The corporate giant has made headlines for paying workers wages so low they must apply for food stamps.  Yet Wal-Mart has resisted calls to raise its wages, saying its appeal is centered on low cost goods for its customers which includes those with low incomes.

However Berkeley’s labor report has shown raising retail workers’ wages at Wal-Mart would not affect consumers much, just $0.46 cents more per shopping trip. The report found if workers in the US were paid a living wage of $12 per hour instead of the minimum wages many have been making, prices would go up just $12.49 a year per customer, according to market research data used to tabulate costs on the average shopper.  And this is if the consumer were absorbs the costs 100 percent.

How would these price increases translate for workers in Cambodia and Vietnam earning far less?
read more.
asiancorres

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Poorly Paid Garment Workers Clothed in Worry:

20140520 NEWINDIANEXPRESS
Workers at a ‘Seconds’ garment manufacturing unit in Tirupur

With schools reopening in a few weeks, Veena (name changed), employed in a garment factory near Mysore Road, is a worried mother.

From the few thousands she will earn this month, she needs to buy stationery and uniforms for her two children in high school. This apart, she has grocery and travel expenses daily – all this to be met within `2,000.

“We live in a one-room kitchen and I pay around `4,000 as rent. My husband doesn’t work much. It is only when the children are sick do we buy medicines. For my husband and I, falling sick is not an option. Who has money for such a luxury?” she tells of her predicament.

The city has more than 5 lakh workers in garment factories. From April this year, they stand to receive `6,240 per month. From this amount, they can take home around `6,000. These wages are common for both tailors and helpers in the skilled category. Around 85 per cent of workers are women, with men occupying supervisory positions.

What Price to Pay?
According to Sudha (name changed), a garment worker for 23 years now, her earnings do not suffice to lead a “decent” life. “The government took just one night to increase the bus fares. Then why is it so difficult for them to increase our salaries?” she asks angrily.

Sudha earns `194 a day. Tell her about an increase of `58 in the daily wages and she smiles and asks, “Yes, I will get about `252 now per day. Does the government know how much it takes to live a decent life?”.

Both Veena and Sudha say they walk home after work. “Taking the bus is not an option. We try to save every rupee. Even that is sometimes not enough,” they explain.

‘Slaves’ for Hire
Veena says the workers in garment factories are treated like slaves. “I think twice before going to the bathroom during work hours. A minute away from the table translates into five shirts not completed. And the supervisor is quick to point this out in harsh words”, she narrates.
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INDIANEXPRESS

LW + 2

20140517-20

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Raise in minimum wages demanded in budget:

The National Labour Federation (NLF) has written a letter to Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar proposing 13 points aimed at welfare of workers for upcoming federal budget to be announced on June 3.

In the letter, NLF President Shamsur Rehman Swati has suggested the federal government to fix minimum monthly wages of an unskilled worker at Rs15,000, and Rs20,000 for a skilled worker.

Swati also suggested that the salaries of government employees and retired persons should be enhanced in ratio with the price hike and inflation, and similarly a formula should be devised for increase in salaries every year. The increase in salaries should be made in a way that the low scale employees get maximum raise.
read more.
thenewspk

LW + 2

20140515-16

20:26:30 local time map of china CHINA

* Real wages for China’s migrant workers stagnate as cost of living escalates:

The average monthly wage for China’s rural migrant workers in 2013 stood at 2,609 yuan, an increase of 13.9 percent over the previous year.

However, living expenses increased at a much faster rate, effectively cancelling out any gains made, according to official statistics.

A new survey by the National Bureau of Statistics, published 12 May, shows that per capita living expenses increased by 21.7 percent on average in 2013 to reach 892 yuan per month. The main driving force behind the higher living expenses was a 27 percent increase in accommodation costs, which now make up about 50 percent of total living expenses for migrant workers.
read more.
CHINA LABOR Bulletin

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Wage talk for workers to be resumed next week:

Talk to discuss minimum wage for footwear and garment factory workers will be resumed next week, an official said.

The source said the final wage talk may be held in late 2014 to decide on minimum wage for the workers.

The meeting between representatives from factories and unions as well as government officials last month produced five points of agreement including annual and gradual wage increase.

The garment and footwear factory workers have begun protesting since late 2013 and early 2014 to demand wage increase to US$160 per month.
read more.
CAMHERALD

$160 We Need

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Divided labor force a dilemma for next Indonesian president:

The campaign rally by Indonesian presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto at Jakarta’s national stadium ahead of the April parliamentary election was a busy day for people selling snacks and cigarettes, including 35-year-old Nurjaman.

Six weeks later, Prabowo, a robust ex-special forces commander, was back at the stadium pledging support for a 30% hike in minimum wages at a Labor Day jamboree. It was a welcome development for the 100,000 unionized workers in the crowd, but not such good news for Nurjaman and the majority of the Indonesian workforce.

“I can make 3 million rupiah ($261) in a really good month,” says Nurjaman, who, like many Indonesians, goes by a single name.
“Other months, I can’t afford to buy food.
He starts work at 7 a.m. and finishes around midnight to support two children; and yet he has seen his income decline by about 15% in the last two years.
read more.
ASIANReview

LW + 2

20140513-14

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG workers, demanding payment of their arrear:

20140513 FE
RMG workers, demanding payment of their arrear salary and bonus, blockaded Dhaka-Narayanganj link road Monday. — Focus Bangla
to see.
FE bd

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Implement wage pact: powerloom workers:

A group of powerloom workers submitted petition during the weekly grievance day meeting held at the Collectorate on Monday seeking early implementation of the wage agreement arrived between them and the Master Weavers’ Association.

They said that they were on strike since last March 10 seeking 75 per cent increase in wages in addition to festival and national holiday wages at the rate of Rs. 300 a day for those working in powerlooms under operation in the houses.

But the Master Weavers’ Association members said that they could give 23 per cent increase in the wages only for those workers working in the factory-based powerlooms and not for those working in the house-based powerlooms.
read more.
THEHINDU

LW + 2

20140510-11

20:26:30 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Wage hike exemption for firms hit by calamities:

Companies reeling from the devastation of major calamities could soon file for a longer wage exemption from the regional wage boards, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said.

In a statement, Labor and Employment secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the National Wages Productivity Commission (NPWC), an attached agency of DoLE, issued a new resolution allowing disaster-hit firms a longer reprieve from wage increase and cost-of-living allowances from the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards (RTWPB).
read more.
MBnew

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Cambodia’s Low Cost Garment Industry: Sustainable for Whom? :

Most Cambodians have never even heard of Gap or Wal-Mart. For Cambodians they’re just labels that are sewn onto some of the millions of garments produced here.

But what labels they are. Cambodian garment exports were worth US$5.5 billion last year, around one third of the country’s GDP. Almost US$2 billion of this ended up in major US department stores.
Despite its reputation as a source of clean labor, the Cambodian garment industry is typified by poverty wages, forced labor and discrimination and violence against pregnant women and trade union leaders.

On any given day, we may see workers who have fallen unconscious at work due to lack of food and or sleep; individuals seeking to avoid involuntary 14-hour work days in 40-plus degree heat; women who have been terminated by their employer because they are expecting a child; or workers who are arrested, beaten or shot for trying to start a trade union to change the status quo.

US retailers know this all too well. In fact, one could say that it’s one of the reasons that they are here.

The minimum wage in Cambodia is US$100 per month making Cambodian labor some of the cheapest in the world. It’s barely a poverty wage, especially when you consider that nearly all Cambodian garment workers have children and elderly parents to support.

Perhaps even more shockingly, the $100 wage is only very recent improvement – one paid for in blood. In the last year alone, at least five people have been shot dead at garment factory protests calling for increased wages.
A 16-year-old boy who was last seen lying on the ground with blood pouring from what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his chest is still missing. He is likely the sixth fatality.

Three of those killed were sewing garments for Wal-Mart.
read more.
huffpost

18:56:30 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Deputy Labour Minister holds meeting in Thailand’s Mae Sot:

Deputy Labour Minister Htay Aung met on May 8 with a number of non-governmental organisations in charge of protecting the rights of Myanmar migrant workers.

The meeting took place at the Office of Thai Immigration Police in Tak’s Mae Sot district bordering Myawady.
In his opening speech, Htay Aung said for Myanmar workers in Thailand and Malaysia were entitled for certain rights and for social security provided to local citizens.

Then, Director General of Labour Department, Myo Aung talked about how Myanmar migrants in Thailand to extend the duration of work permit and about the assistance provided by embassies of the two countries for those without proper documents.

Nine Thai districts, including Mae Sot which is nearest to border city Myawady, have employed more than 400,000 Myanmar migrants who do not get even the minimum wage of Baht 300 per day.

Myanmar workers often fall prey to Thai gangsters. Certain Thai policemen extort money from them by force, said Moe Kyoe, member of Labour Affairs Committee, Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok.
The talks touched on the situation of migrant workers in Mae Sot and schools for their children.
to read.
Eleven

17:56:30 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Minimum wage necessary for Sri Lankan workers, says union grouping:

The National Trade Union Federation has stressed the need for a minimum wage, urged a halt to outsourcing or contract labour and backed calls for a pension scheme for the private sector.

These comments have been made through proposals submitted to the National Pay Commission by federation President K. Velayudam.

The federation comprises the Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union, the Jathika Sewaka Sangamaya, the Public Service National Trade Union Federation, the National Estate Services Union, the Jathika Adyapana Sewaka Sangamaya, the National Health Services General Employees Union, the National Organization for Self Employed, the Migrant Workers Front and the National Building and Woodworkers Front.

Excerpts from the proposals:
I) Wages

a) The lack of a minimum wage causes conflicts since employers are in a position to pay whatever wages they chose and exploit the workers.

In the absence of a minimum wage, workers under the Shop and Office Employees Act, are paid different wages for performing the same or similar work.

Though Wages Boards decide minimum wages, the wage decided differs from trade to trade.

b) The minimum wage decided by Wages Boards is not duly updated and is much less than what prevails in the market. For instance the highest wage for a skilled worker of the Engineering Trade was Rs. 8,800 upto March 2013. It was then raised to Rs. 12,150. But, a skilled worker draws Rs. 18,000 upwards in the open market.
read more.
STM-long

LW + 2

20140509

19:26:30 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* All work, no play for factory workers:

After 10 hours of hard work on the production line, Tran Van Nam and his two flat mates go to dinner. The residents of Ho Nai 3 Commune in Trang Bom District in the southern province of Dong Nai, said they had no television or computers, even though they are in their early twenties and are all single.

“The other workers living in this rental block are not much different,” Nam said. “There are 30 flats here, but only two have television or computer.” He added that workers in the area often finished work at about 5pm, but did not know what to do to pass the time.

Finding ways to entertain themselves is a challenge for many workers as it seems all kinds of entertainment come with a cost. “I used to read news from websites with my mobile phone, but I stopped because of the increasing fees for internet use,” Nam said.

He said that he could not afford to buy books with the low salary of a blue-collared worker. He could not even play football as it meant renting a court for more than VND200,000 (US$9.50) per hour. With a lack of places to go, male workers often gather together to drink wine and play cards.
read more.
VNNews new

* Economic slowdown prolongs substandard work conditions:

20140509 VNNews
A guest house area for workers in Cot Village, Ha Noi. Enterprise and factory workers in the city are struggling with low incomes and dangerous working environments prolonged by the economic downturn. — VNS Photo Doan Tung

Workers of enterprises and factories in Ha Noi are struggling with low incomes and dangerous working environments as the economic downturn continues to hurt, a senior labour official says.

Tran Van Thuc, President of the Ha Noi Confederation of Labour, was cited in a recent Viet Nam News Agency report as saying the economic slump that began several years ago is still exerting strong impacts on workers in the city.

He noted that in 2013, almost 11,000 enterprises closed down, resulting in 24,000 people losing their jobs.

Despite the Government’s annual adjustments, the average wage was VND3 million per month (US$145) at present, which can only meet 76 per cent of the minimum spending standard, and is not commensurate with the workers’ efforts and time spent on their job, Thuc said.
read more.
VNNews new

LW + 2

20140508

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* A Higher Minimum Wage Is Crucial for Indonesia:

On May 1, Indonesia for the first time commemorated Labor Day as a national holiday.

Tens of thousands of workers thronged the streets of Jakarta, to celebrate and to voice their demands. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared May 1 a national holiday in July 2013, much to the delight of workers all over Indonesia.

The move signifies monumental progress for the labor movement in Indonesia, but it is not enough. A one-day holiday cannot and should appease those who have been struggling for fairer pay. A higher minimum wage is not only imperative for the welfare of the workers, but also necessary for economic progress.

The wage issue has always been at the heart of labor demands. On May 4, 1886, workers in Chicago clashed with police forces after they rallied for an eight-hour workday with no cut in pay, thus effectively demanding a higher wage. The clash, known as the Haymarket affair, was a momentous event for the modern labor movement, and is now celebrated worldwide as Labor Day, or May Day.

Labor in Indonesia
In Indonesia, the labor movement has its roots in the 18th century, and, like its US counterparts, better remuneration has always been at the core of its demands. In 1920, Soerjopranoto, now one of Indonesia’s national heroes, led a strike by the Personeel Fabrieks Bond labor union to demand higher wages for sugar mill workers in Java from their Dutch owners.
The governor-general of the Dutch East Indies quickly condemned the strike as communist political action against the government.
read more.
jak-globe

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* It’s a joke:

Some workers’ organisations have recently asked for the minimum wage to be raised to Rs20,000 per month. Minimum wage is basically defined as the minimum or lowest amount that is paid to employees.

Some of the indicators used to set minimum wage are GDP, inflation, productivity, growth, labour supply and demand etc. Economists disagree whether increasing minimum wage helps or hurts economic growth, supply and demand of workers, poverty, jobs and other areas of economy.

However, this is the wrong debate. The real debate should be about what kind of society we want to live in and what kind of world we want to leave behind for future generations.
If we want a world with equality, equity, fairness and justice for all regardless to color, race, religion, gender, ethnicity or nationality then the debate should be whether increasing minimum wage will move us closer to or farther from that goal.

The discussion about minimum wage will be justifiable and make sense in a world with paucity of resources and generalised want and deprivation, where it would keep the poor from starving to death.
However, when we see extreme wealth on the one hand and extreme poverty on the other, then talk of minimum wage is not only callous but an outright fraud to keep poor people ignorant.
Economists and other experts need to go beyond minimum wage and worry about the system of skewed wealth distribution.
read more.
thenewspk

LW + 2

20140505

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* MP textile industry opposes hike in minimum wages of workers:

They say there has been a hike of 66-72% during 2008 and 2013 in minimum wages

As state government is looking to review minimum wages, textile industry in Madhya Pradesh has demanded to put stagnation on minimum wages.

“The textile industry is already under pressure due to rising prices of raw material, higher power tariff, slowdown in Europe and the United States which has adversely affected exports. If state government puts proposed higher rate of minimum wages it would further hit the industry,” S Pal, chairman of Madhya Pradesh Textile Mills Association said.

The Madhya Pradesh Textile Mills Association has said there was a hike of 66-72% during 2008 and 2013 in minimum wages.
read more
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Minimum wage legislation: A politician’s magic wand for vote bank? :

Amidst the clamour against shrinking paycheques and rising costs of living, one assumes yet another hike in the minimum wage is on the cards in the upcoming provincial budgets.

Minimum wages have seen consistent increases over the last many years. Rather than its economic impact, the customary increase in the minimum wage every year appears to have more to do with politicians’ tendency to outdo each other in making empty promises to the workers.

After the devolution of the subject of labour in 2010, each province now sets its own minimum wage for the unskilled labour. It is Rs10,000 a month in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Rs9,000 a month in the case of Balochistan.

Although most nations around the world have instituted some kind of minimum wage, a large number of studies show such limits end up hurting the same unskilled workers in whose name populist politicians try to regulate the job market.

Instead of helping the poor, most conservative economists believe, minimum wage laws actually increase joblessness among unskilled people. The reason is simple: if you make it difficult for employers to hire unskilled people, they will simply hire fewer of them.
read more.
tribune

LW + 2

20140503

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Apindo to propose new wage  formula:

A business lobby group, the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), is considering proposing a new wage differentiation scheme based on the size and sector of businesses in its annual tripartite talks.

Apindo chairman Sofjan Wanandi said that it would be necessary to differentiate between small and medium enterprises and large firms, as well as labor-intensive and capital-intensive sectors, due to their different wage capacities.

That was partly attributed to the different ratios of labor wages in costs of production, he said.

“Currently, they should pay the same wage increase. Big firms can afford the rise in wages, but the small ones can’t,” he said during a discussion on labor on Wednesday.
read more.
jakartapost

18:56:30 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Hong Kong Garment Makers Lured by Low Burma Wages:

Hong Kong clothing manufacturers will move their factory production to Burma because Burmese wages are only 20 percent of rates in China, an industry report said.

More than 10 Hong Kong-based firms are planning to relocate to the Thilawa Special Economic Zone because costs have become too high in China.

“Hong Kong clothing firms participating in the apparel park aim to benefit from the low cost of production in [Burma] as the cost of labor is only about 20 percent of the wages in China,” said the website fibre2fashion.

“Hong Kong entrepreneurs also expect to benefit from the duty-free access enjoyed by Myanmar while exporting to the [European Union].”

The Thilawa factories could be operational by the end of 2015 and employ up to 30,000 people, said the Associated Press.

Burma has “immense potential” to regain its former glory as a leading international garment producer and exporter, Business Monitor International (BMI) said in April.

But a revival will be from a low base, it said, because other countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia had attracted investment during Burma’s years of isolation. Burmese garment exports in 2012 were valued at US$909 million but that was only 1.5 percent of GDP, said BMI.
to read.
IRRAWADDY

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

 * Call to implement minimum RMG wage structure:

Trade union activists at a rally have stressed the need for implementing the minimum wage structure for readymade garment (RMG) workers and providing the Rana Plaza victim families with adequate compensation for their livelihood, reports BSS.

At the May Day rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club (JPC) recently, leaders of the Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC) put forward a set of recommendations for wellbeing of the working class in the country, said a press release.

The BFTUC leaders also formed a human chain at the same place to press home their recommendations. BFTUC President AA Mukid Khan presided over it.
read more. & read more.
FE bd BSS

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Labour Day: ‘Raise minimum wage, enforce labour laws’:

Thousands of labourers and rights activists carried out various rallies across the city to mark the International Labour Day.

A rally organised by the working women helpline, Awami Workers’ Party, Ittehad Labour Union Carpet Industry Pakistan, Pakistan Bhatta Mazdoor Union, National Database Registration Authority Employees Union, TDCP workers and Muttaihda Labour Union marched from Lahore Press Club to Charing Cross.

They demanded the enforcement of labour laws. They also demanded that the minimum wage be raised to Rs25,000 per month, that social security cards be issued to all workers, and that rates set by the government for bricks kilns workers be enforced.
read more.
tribune

LW + 2

20140502

20:26:30 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Our Labor Day demands: Junk EDCA! P125 Wage Hike Now!:

We mark this year’s Labor Day by protesting Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s recent approval of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and his more aggressive implementation of the Cheap Labor Policy.

He continues to show that the US government and big foreign and local capitalists are his true bosses, not the Filipino workers and people.

The disclosure of the EDCA’s content after it was signed by the US and the Philippines is igniting public anger at this agreement and Aquino. The EDCA is one-sided, violates the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and increases the burden borne by the Filipino workers and people.
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KILUSANG MAYO UNO

* Solons push for wage hike:

Two partylist lawmakers are pushing for a wage increase.

Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said in a statement Thursday, Labor Day, that it is high time that House Bill 253 or the “P125 Wage Hike” be prioritized and enacted.

Colmenares also urged the public to continue to fight for better working conditions.
Kabataan Partylist Representative Terry Ridon, meanwhile, called for the implementation of the P125 wage hike sayiing that it would be “the most humane, reasonable and responsive” action of the Aquino administration.

Ridon considers this year’s Labor Day as the ” worst May 1 for workers in years.”
“Things have gone from bad to worse. In past years, we have lamented how the Aquino administration has given out token minimum wage increases – this year – wages and benefits are virtually at a standstill,” Ridon said.
read more.
MBnew

* Workers urged to unite, fight for rights:

A Minority solon has urged all workers in the country to unite and demand for a wage increase, job security, humane working conditions and union rights.

Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap made the call on Thursday, Labor Day, even as he stressed that these basic workers’ rights are perennially ignored by employers and the government.

“Workers are the producers of social wealth and yet they are among the most impoverished. Their families are poor and hungry. They cannot send their children to school. They survive on a hand-to-mouth existence,” the militant lawmaker said in a statement.

“It’s high time for workers to fight and take back what is rightfully theirs. Beyond the yearly Labor Day demands, workers must work for a better future, a better Philippines. We must fight against exploitation and social inequality and work to realize genuine social change,” Hicap said.
(…)

“All labor groups and organizations must unite and fight for a national legislated wage increase to replace the regionalized wage settings that have nailed wage levels to the basement floor,” Hicap said.
read more.
MBnew

* Netizens want wage hike, end to contractualization:

Agricultural workers under the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), a national federation composed of farm workers’ organizations and unions nationwide, will join protests led by the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Manila and the rest of the country today, Labor Day. 

UMA scores the “hacendero administration” of President BS Aquino for brazenly disregarding the people’s demand for wage increases and improved social services, while railroading schemes which will only benefit his foreign bosses such as the recently signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US, and the dubious Charter Change moves in Congress.
read more.
bulatlat_tagline

19:26:30 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Workers march on May Day, seek lower cost of living:

Thai workers yesterday marched to Sanam Luang |to mark International Workers’ Day, urging the government |to keep consumer-product |prices under control and |raise wages.

More than 1,000 workers from 14 federations of the National Congress of Thai Labour, after making merit yesterday morning, gathered at the Royal Plaza and marched to Sanam Luang in Bangkok, where a National Labour Day event was taken place.
read more.
theNATIONnew

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* May 1 Rallies Marred By Police Violence:

20140502 CD
Union members retreat after being pushed back from the National Assembly by police in Phnom Penh on Thursday morning. About 200 people had gathered near the barricaded parliament building on International Workers’ Day, holding signs calling for better working conditions, independent courts and more pay. (Lauren Crothers/The Cambodia Daily)

An otherwise peaceful International Workers’ Day took a violent turn Thursday morning as authorities attacked passersby and peaceful protesters near Freedom Park without provocation.

At least five people were seriously injured, and several others —including journalists—slightly injured by Daun Penh district public order guards who chased down people indiscriminately as they sought to disband small crowds of workers and supporters who had turned up to call for higher wages and better protection of their rights.

Ralliers who turned up at the blockaded park and several other points in the city were dismayed by the mass police presence aimed at quelling what is typically a peaceful and exuberant annual affair in which thousands of workers, teachers, students and activists take part.

“Why are they blocking the road when we hold it every year?” said garment worker Neth, 22, who attended Thursday’s rally to call for a raise to the minimum wage. “When we do anything, the authorities say it’s illegal. But when they do anything, it’s always right.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* At government rally, all proceeds smoothly:

While workers and opposition supporters marched to mark Labour Day yesterday, and baton-wielding district security guards enforced a ban on gatherings, a very different, uninterrupted rally took place at the capital’s Koh Pich Exhibition Center.

About 2,000 workers from pro-government unions and government officials heard Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng call for talks to raise the minimum wage – a key demand of workers protesting yesterday.
read more.
PPP new

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Thousand of Workers Flock to Hotel Indonesia Traffic Circle for International Workers’ Day Rally:

Thousands of workers gathered at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle on Thursday morning to mark International Worker’s Day and rally for higher wages and better conditions.

“It’s crowded,” Jakarta Police traffic management officer Brig. Erwin said.
Police predicted that around 30,000 of workers representing a variety of organizations from Jakarta and the surrounding areas took to the streets in the morning to march from the traffic circle to the State Palace and Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta.

The rally’s main agenda was a 30% regional minimum wage increase for in 2015.
The Jakarta Government hiked the capital’s minimum wage to Rp 2.4 million ($206) per month earlier this year. Critics argue that frequent wage hikes force layoffs, discourage industry and do not help the vast number of workers in the informal sector.
read more.
jak-globe

* Labors: 30 Percent Wage Rise Non-Negotiable:

The president of Labor Union Confederation of Indonesia (KSPI), Said Ikbal, has asked the government to increase the minimum wage by 30 percent.

“The [minimum wage] rise is non-negotiable,” he said in a press release today.
Said said the minimum wage in Indonesia is far lower than that in Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia, although Indonesian labor productivity is considerably equitable with other ASEAN countries’.

Therefore, Indonesian labors are demanding the 30 percent wage rise in 2015 and 84 items of the basic cost of living (KHL) to be met in facing the ASEAN single market in 2015.
If the government refused to raise the minimum wage, Said said Indonesia is not ready to participate in the ASEAN single market.
“Indonesian labors will keep launching strikes to reject the implementation of ASEAN single market,” he said.
to read.
tempo-eng

* President SBY: No More Cheap Labor:

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that the era of cheap labor in Indonesia has come to an end.

Cheap labor should no longer be the key factor to attract investment in Indonesia. According to SBY, the economy and businesses must continue to grow, and laborers’ productivity must be in line with the increase of minimum wage.

“Today, we are celebrating the International Labor Day. I congratulate all workers, heroes of Industry,” President Yudhoyono said on Thursday, May 01, 2014, on his official Twitter account @SBYudhoyono.
read more.
tempo-eng

* President Declares ‘Respect for Workers’ Amid Wage Hike Calls:

Indonesian Workers' Unions (KSPI) members march during a May Day rally at the business district in Jakarta
Union members march during an International Workers Day rally on Jalan Sudirman in South Jakarta on Thursday. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has pledged the government’s support to the cause of both workers and businesses, as Indonesia marked its first official celebration of International Workers Day on Thursday.

“May 1 is international Labor Day and Indonesia has chosen to make it a national holiday to honor workers as the heroes of industry,” Yudhoyono wrote on his Twitter account, @SBYudhoyono, on Thursday morning.

“This is our respect for our workers,” he added.
“The government will continue to develop pro-worker and pro-industry policies, including providing housing, transportation and health care for workers,” Yudhoyono wrote in another tweet.

He said that higher wages should come alongside economic growth.
Workers are fighting to raise the regional minimum wage by 30 percent for 2015 after a series of steep hikes to the current figure, which varies by province. The minimum wage in Jakarta for 2014 is Rp 2.4 million ($208) per month.
read more.
jak-globe

* Workers demand 30 percent increase in minimum wage:

Thousands of workers have demanded that the minimum wage be increased 30 percent starting next year. During Labor Day rallies on Thursday, workers presented a list of “Ten Public Demands”, among them pay increases.

Confederation of Indonesian Worker’s Union (KSPI) chairman Said Iqbal said he was optimistic that the government would heed the demand.

“The government has increased the minimum wage by 20 to 25 percent before. This year, we demand that the increase reaches 30 percent,” he told journalists during a rally at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.
read more.
jakartapost

* Workers press political demands at Labor Day rallies nationwide:

Thousands of Indonesian workers marked Labor Day on Thursday by demanding the next government put an end to the cheap-labor policy and provide better protection for labor unions.

With the presidential election set to be held in the next few months, several labor unions called on political figures contesting the July election to directly address their demands.

Workers grouped under the Confederation of Indonesian Worker’s Union (KSPI) and its partner organizations such as the Indonesian Metal Workers Federation (FSPMI) gathered at the Bung Karno Sports Stadium in Central Jakarta on Thursday to publicly announce their support for the presidential bid of Prabowo Subianto of the Gerindra Party in return for his commitment to fulfilling a list of 10 demands proposed by the KSPI.
read more.
jakartapost

18:56:30 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Workers in Kyauktada stage May Day protest over minimum wage:

More than 500 factory workers in Kyauktada Township, Yangon Region staged a May Day protest calling for immediate changes to the minimum wage.

The protesters, who were given a permit for the demonstration, shouted slogans and carried banners which read, ‘to get a minimum wage of Ks 5600 for a day’s eight-hour work’, ‘nominating permanent workers as salary work’, and ‘unity of all workers’.

At the same time, the workers also called for amendment of the 2008 Constitution, including such as sections as  436, 59 (F), 261, 418, 6 (F), 17 (B), and 60 (B).

The procession set off from Mahabandoola Park St and paraded along Mahabandoola St, Pansodan St, Merchant St, and in the vicinity of Sule Pagoda.
read more.
Eleven

* May Day marchers demand better pay and working conditions:

More than 300 workers demanded better pay and improved working conditions during a march through downtown Yangon on May 1 to mark International Labour Day.

The workers, from the industrial zones at HlaingTharyar Township, on Yangon’s western outskirts, marched through the city centre in sweltering heat for three hours from 11am.
They carried banners demanding a basic daily wage of K5,600 (about US$5.75), an eight-hour working day and permanent contracts to ensure improved job security, Mizzima Daily reported.
read more.
MIZZAMA new

18:11:30 local time map of nepal NEPAL

* Rallies demand min wage, social security:

The 125th International Labour Day, also known as ‘May Day’, was observed across the country on Thursday, organising various programmes. Stakeholders, including trade unions, organised rallies, interactions and mass meetings.

Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), affiliated to the Nepali Congress, organised a rally from Tripureshwor to Bashantapur, where it turned into a mass gathering. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala also attended the mass meet.

The General Federations of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), another major labour organisation affiliated to the CPN-UML, also organised a rally. GEFONT President Bishnu Rimal addressed the concluding event of the rally.
read more.
EKANTIPUR

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Trade unions’ 10-point wishlist for new government:

On May Day leaders of various trade unions came up with a ten-point charter of demands which they hoped the new government would implement in the interest of workers and employees.

In February, the trade unions went on a two-day strike in support of their demands, including strong measures to check price rise, minimum wage of Rs 10,000, universal social security cover for organized and unorganized workers, halt disinvestment in profit-making PSUs and the right to form trade unions and collective bargaining.
read more.
TOInew

* Higher minimum wage key demand on May day:

With a demand for increased minimum wage, stronger social security schemes, members of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) held a meet to mark ‘May Day’ here on Thursday.

Starting their procession at the CITU office on Maidan road, the workers — comprising autorickshaw drivers, industry workers, loaders at the port, among others — culminated their march with speeches at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.

Among the demands CITU mentioned were raising the minimum wage to Rs. 15,000, social security — general and health insurance, pension coverage — and basic facilities of housing, water and sanitation for the workers.
read more.
THEHINDU

* Workers demand minimum wage, social security benefits:

20140502 THEHINDU
Making demands:Workers participating in a rally to mark May Day in Mysore on Thursday.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

A large number of workers participating in a rally to mark May Day here on Thursday resolved to uphold workers’ rights and protest the government’s policies of liberalisation.

The workers assembled near the Palace Gate North and marched through the main thoroughfares of the city. They drew attention to the plight of workers in the unorganised sector who were not eligible for social security benefits.

They reiterated their demands for minimum wage, social security and job security as well putting a stop to the policy of outsourcing and contract labour. They pointed out that in the absence of strong labour laws, none of the demands would be implemented.
read more.
THEHINDU

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Workers cry foul on Labour Day:

A large number of labour leaders and workers belonging to different organizations Thursday staged a protest demonstration at Chairing Cross (Faisal Chowk) to press for their demands on the occasion of Labour Day.

The protest rally was jointly organized by All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF), Working Women Organization (WWO), Pakistan Workers Confederation (PWC), Awami Workers Party and Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF).

Starting from different points in the City, the organizations and their workers congregated here at the Chairing Cross and chanted slogans in favor of increase in salary, raise in national minimum wage, registration of PESSI social security cards, NADRA registration and social security for brick-kiln labour, restoration of fired PTCL, WAPDA, ETPB, Railways employees, and strict enforcement of existing labour laws.

Starting from Hamdard Center, Litton Road, leaders and workers belonging to APTUF and WWO walked with colorful banners to the State Bank of Pakistan and shouted for an end to patronage politics plaguing the institution and called for an increase in the minimum wage to account for rising inflation.
read more.
thenewspk

* Workers speak out against privatisation:

Trade union leaders at a May Day gathering called upon the government to halt the privatisation of state entities and end unemployment, price hike, loadshedding and terrorism.

They also sought the regularisation of all contractual employees, daily wagers and the raising of the minimum wage in accordance with the rise in prices of essential commodities.
read more.
DAWNnew

* World Labour Day marked across KP:

Various trade, labour unions and civil society organisations held various events to mark the International Labour Day in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday.

A seminar was organised by Prime Workers and Labour Union at the Peshawar Press Club in which Minister for Industries Shaukat Ali Yousafzai participated as a chief guest. The union president, Mukhtar Hussain, general secretary Abdul Salam and other leaders and workers were also present.
(…)
The minister said the labour class was struggling for attainment of their rights since the inception of the country, adding feudal landlords and capitalists were not providing them due rights.He said the labourers should raise voice for their legitimate rights and challenge the capitalists and feudal lords. He assured the provincial government would take every possible step to resolve issues of workers and would also implement Rs10,000 minimum wage payment.
read more.
thenewspk

LW + 2

20140501

20:26:30 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Aquino draws brickbats over pre-Labor Day dialogue:

One day before Labor Day, national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned Pres. Noynoy Aquino over his Tuesday dialogue with labor groups, saying the chief executive has conducted such dialogues with workers’ groups since 2011 but has refused to meet workers’ demands.

In the said dialogue, Aquino either rejected outright or merely promised to study workers’ demands for tax breaks for minimum wage earners, lower power rates, the elimination of per-project basis job orders, security of tenure, and salary hike for government employees.

“We condemn Aquino for engaging in this yearly ritual of pretending to be listening to workers’ demands while at the same time spitting on our faces by rejecting our demands. Puro papogi at paasa itong si Noynoy, pahirap naman sa manggagawa,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

The labor leader said the truth is that Aquino is behind policies that lower the value of wages, promote contractual employment, increase workers’ tax burden, and hike rates for power and other social services.
read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO

19:26:30 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Ministry to consider workers’ Labour Day demands:

The Labour Ministry has set up a committee to consider 12 demands made by workers on May 1, Labour Day.

Labour Day activities organised by the National Congress of Private Industrial of Employees were held at Sanam Luang and the Royal Plaza, the ministry’s permanent secretary Jeerasak Sukonthachart Jeerasak told a press conference yesterday.

The workers’ 12-point demands mostly covered calls for law amendments. Among the demands was that Thailand ratify International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention Nos 87 (on freedom of association and protection of the right to organise conventions) and 98 (the right to organise and collective bargaining convention), said Jeerasak. Amendments to two laws required for the ratification of the ILO Convention were being considered by Parliament at the time of its dissolution, he said.
read more.
theNATIONnew

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Standardise minimum wage, says MTUC Sarawak:

The Malaysian Trade Union (MTUC) Sarawak has called for minimum wages in Sarawak and Sabah to be standardised with West Malaysia.

The union said the current wage disparity did not augur well for the country in its drive to become a high income nation.
“Despite Sarawak’s higher cost of living, the minimum wage here is only RM800 compared to RM900 in (the) Peninsular.

“This disparity must be removed at the next minimum wage review session,” said MTUC Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo.
He said businesses in Sarawak have flourished at the expense of consumers.
“Price increases are exorbitant. House ownership is now out of reach for most people.
“In Sarawak, the cost of living is 15% to 25% higher than in West Malaysia.

While government employees have a regional allowance, private sector employees do not,” Lo said.
Citing examples he said the New Straits Times newspaper is sold at RM1.60 in Sarawak as opposed to RM1.20 in West Malaysia.
read more.
FREEMALAYSIATODAY

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* No nat’l minimum wage in place for half a century:

The elaborate observance of May Day, or International Workers’ Day, by successive governments has only academic significance as workers, who have been fighting for the national minimum wage for about half a century, still lack a wage that they should receive from employers regardless of the sectors they work in.

The national minimum was was last declared based on the report of the Noor Khan commission in 1969 and it was implemented that year.
No governments have since then tried to revise the national minimum wage although the cost of living has increased significantly over the years
and this has been the main issue of all labour movements that have taken place in the country, labour leaders said.

The election manifesto of the ruling Awami League for the latest national elections held on January 5, 2014 said that the minimum wage would continue in keeping with the cost of living and inflation, with making any direct commitment.
The party’s manifesto for the 2008 elections, however, said, ‘The national minimum wage will be revised.’
Labour and employment ministry officials, however, said that they had not seen any policy-making initiative about revising the national minimum wage in four to five years.

Governments since 1984 have signed at least six agreements with Sramik-Karmachari Oikya Parishad, the coalition of labour organisations. But major features of all the agreements, including the national minimum wage, have remained unimplemented, prompting the coalition to rally repeatedly.

SKOP leaders now demand that the national minimum wage should be Tk 8,000.
Syed Sultan Ahmed,  assistant executive director at Bangladesh Institute of Labours Studies, said that the national minimum wage was yet to be declared although it was badly needed for workers for a decent living.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Highest one-time hike in minimum wages:

20140501 theHINDU garment
Garment workers. File photo: K. Gopinathan

Garment workers have something to cheer about this May Day

Garment workers numbering over four lakh in the State have something to cheer about this May Day.

The revision of minimum wages notified recently has provided for an increase in their daily wage by an average of Rs. 60 a day, inclusive of the Dearness Allowance applicable since April.
This is the highest one-time increase in minimum wages since 1979, when “tailoring industry” was brought under the ambit of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.

Court directive
The fixing of minimum wages for different categories of garment workers was based on the recommendations of the tripartite sub-committee of workers, managements and government representatives, set up following a direction of the High Court of Karnataka.

Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU) had approached the High Court in 2010 challenging an earlier notification and seeking revision of wages.
read more.
THEHINDU

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Labour Day rally demands rights:

Participants in a procession, organised by the Adara Samaji Behbood, Pakistan Interfaith Peace Council and Human Rights, on the eve of the Labour Day on Wednesday urged the government to award wages to workers considering the real living expenditures.

Protesters rejected government’s announcement of awarding a Rs1,000 annual increment for workers on the International Labour Day.
They also enchanted slogans against low wages, skyrocketing inflation and loadshedding.
PMLN MPA Dr Najma Afzal, Arif Ayaz and Irshad Parkash spoke.

They said living wage was a minimum income necessary for a worker to afford the basic needs of a family for a safe, decent standard of living.
The government should ratify ILO conventions protecting the rights of home-based and domestic workers.

Speakers said home-based workers needed security for employment, income and social security simultaneously because they did not have social and legal protection despite their major contribution to the economy.

They said living wage differed from minimum wage set by the government as minimum wage had failed to meet the requirements of a worker. The poverty and low pay were closely associated with social disadvantages, including poor health, substandard housing and personal debt.

They urged the government to implement labour laws, including elimination of bonded labour and child labour strictly.
to read.
DAWNnew

* Govt urged to safeguard rights of working class:

As the International Labour Day is being observed today (Thursday), President of the National Labour Federation (NLF) Shamsur Rehman Swati has called upon the government to take practical steps to safeguard rights of the working class.

Addressing a press conference in connection with the International Labour Day, the NLF president asked the government to announce a practicable labour policy and initiate legislation in order to improve working conditions for the labour class particularly those working in the private industry.

He also termed minimum wage of Rs10,000 per month for a worker as fixed by government as insufficient to meet expenditures of a poor family. “Most of the industrial units and other organisations have not been implementing government directives regarding minimum wages,” he said.
read more.
thenewspk

* Labour in Pakistan underpaid: PTI:

PTI Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhry Wednesday said the labour in Pakistan is one of the most underpaid in the world.

Speaking to the party labour wing, the PTI Punjab president said the government had promised to raise the minimum monthly wage of the labor to Rs 18,000 but it had backed out of its promises and was barely raising their pays by 10 per cent, terming the same very unfair.

Due to negligence of this area, there was a high level of unemployment and exploitation of labor, he said. Quoting brick making industry as an example, he added, the working conditions in the industry were terrible and the labor was treated like bonded labor where they were not paid for many months and were left to survive on their own. He demanded the government announce their labor policies.

PTI Punjab general secretary Dr. Yasmin Rashid said female labor was the most neglected and exploited where women were subjected to domestic violence. She said females were being exploited and they faced harassment and gang rapes at their workplace, with very few laws in place to protect them.
read more.
thenewspk

LW + 2

20140430

19:26:30 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Workers struggle with low salaries, rising costs:

A widening gap between rising living costs and the income of lower wage earners is leading to problems for working families and growing conflicts between employers and their employees.

A worker at a local factory typically earns around Ks 30,000 (US$ 30) a month or merely a dollar a day. With the rise of consumer product prices, increases in rental fees and government hikes on electricity and other services, many families are struggling to survive.

“Living costs are getting higher than our income. We are currently living in Hlaingthara Township. Over the last two months, the living cost rose by 25 percent. Though our factory raised our salary, it doesn’t cover the costs,” said Moe Wai from a worker union at Tai Ye Shoe Factory.With over 900 recorded disputes between employees and employers in factories and workshops across the country last year, most were over questions of pay raise, according to workers’s rights activists.
read more.
theNATIONnew

* Aid for needy workers urged:

Low-income earners turning to loan sharks

Academics suggest the government implement relevant measures to curb the growing distress of workers suffering a drop in income as the cost of living rises, often forcing them to resort to loan sharks. 

Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) adviser Veerathai Santiprabhob said the drop in earnings reflects a slowdown in macroeconomic activities as workers’ overtime is cut and the recent manufacturing production index pointed to a decline in output. Domestic consumption has slowed since the middle of last year.

The rising cost of living is partly due to the government’s policy to raise the daily minimum wage to 300 baht from 2013, he said.
read more.
bangkokpostBusiness

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Bavet factories close as protest continues:

20140430 PPP bavet_strikes
Police and security guards man a blockade at the entrance to Bavet town’s Manhattan Special Economic Zone during a garment worker strike yesterday in Svay Rieng province. Photo by Pha Lina.

Entire special economic zones (SEZs) in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town were closed yesterday after striking workers broke factory and car windows earlier this week.

Security guards and police blocked factory gates from workers as local authorities kept strikers from gathering at their employers, which they began protesting against in mid-April after Khmer New Year.

“Some workers are forcing others who want to work to join the strike,” Orn Bandol, a 19-year-old worker at Kingmaker Footwear in the Manhattan economic zone, said in front of his Bavet town home yesterday morning. “If we do not, they will throw rocks at us or destroy factory property.”

Workers at the Shandong Sunshell SEZ said security guards blocked all workers from entering, and security staff at Manhattan SEZ told Post reporters that all of the factories there were closed. Gates at the vast majority of factories at Tai Seng SEZ were closed before 7:30am, the beginning of the day for most factories.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers – which represents many of the striking workers – estimated that 30,000 were on strike as of yesterday, though only a couple of hundred showed up outside the gates of factories in the three economic zones. Strike activity petered out by mid-morning.
read more.
PPP new

* Uneasy Calm In Bavet as Factories Ordered Shut:

The government has ordered all factories here to shut down until Thursday at the earliest in a bid to keep escalating strikes from spiraling out of control and spreading nationwide.

“[Provincial] Governor Chieng Am said in a meeting yesterday [Monday] that we should tell the factories they should close for a few days because the strike is getting bigger and bigger, but he did not say for how many days,” said In Visoth, the governor’s chief of administration.
“The government is worried the strike could spread if we do not take action soon,” he said.

The strikes started off small after the Khmer New Year holiday earlier this month, when some workers heard that colleagues at another factory had been paid a one-time $50 bonus for having not gone on strike over the past few months and decided to demand the same deal for themselves.
The strikers gradually rallied more workers to their case and brought work to a standstill on Monday at more than 30 Bavet factories employing some 30,000 workers.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Thousands of Workers to Join May Day Rally:

More than a hundred thousand workers from Jakarta and its greater metropolitan area are expected to join May Day rallies on on Thursday, the head of one of Indonesia’s largest union organizations said.

“As part of the May Day 2014 celebrations, 120,000 workers in Jakarta and the region, along with 10,000 teachers on temporary contracts will demonstrate in front of the State Palace and Bung Karno stadium in Senayan, Jakarta,” said Said Iqbal, president of the Confederation of Indonesian Labor Union (KSPI), as quoted by state run Antara news agency on Sunday.

Workers in 20 other provinces were expected to join demonstrations as well, he said.
He said that the teachers working on temporary contracts were fighting for an additional Rp 1 million ($87) in monthly salary and to be brought into the formal sector as full-time employees.

“One of the issues which will be highlighted by the workers is a 30 percent increase of the [regional] minimum wage in 2015,” Said said.
The Jakarta Government hiked the capital’s minimum wage to Rp 2.4 million a month for this year.
to read.
jak-globe

* Thousands set to mark Labor Day:

As many as 100,000 workers are expected to take to the streets of Jakarta on Thursday in the first ever Labor Day in Indonesia, on May 1.

Confederation of Indonesian Workers’ Unions (KSPI) chairman Said Iqbal said preparations for the day were in full swing.

He expected to see 100,000 workers at the rally, which will head from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta to the Presidential Palace.

“After the rally, we will gather at Bung Karno Stadium [in Senayan, Central Jakarta]. On Monday we received confirmation from over 70,000 workers who bought tickets to our event,” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
read more.
jakartapost

* Thousands will March to State Palace on Labor Day:

The Indonesian government has decided to make the International Labor Day on May 1 a national holiday.

Nevertheless, workers will still hold protests. Nining Elitos, chairwoman of the Indonesian Trade Union Alliance Confederation (KASBI), said that tens of thousands of workers from the Greater Jakarta area will rally in front of the Hotel Indonesia (HI) roundabout, and proceed to the State Palace, Jakarta.

“We will have a long march [to the palace),” Nining said inJakarta, yesterday.
According to Nining, from Jakarta alone there will be some about 10,000 workers participating in the rally. They will gather with workers from other areas at the HI roundabout at around 09.00 am before reading their demands at the state palace until 17.30.
read more.
tempo-eng

20140420 * Indonesian Labor Union wants wage rise by 30% in 2015:

We will bring this agenda in our rally next May 1, coinciding with International Workers` Day.”

20131028 ANTARA Demo-Buruh-Pulogadung-281013
Photo document of labor protests in Jakarta. (ANTARA/Rosa Panggabean)

The Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) demanded a wage rise by 30 percent in the year 2015, the organizations president Said Iqbal said here on Sunday.

“We will bring this agenda in our rally next May 1, coinciding with International Workers Day,” Said said.

According to him, a wage rise in Indonesia is necessary as the country will soon join ASEAN Single Market in 2015. Said argued the minimum wage standard in Indonesia is far behind other ASEAN countries such as Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia while the productivity in Indonesia is as good as other ASEAN countries.

“Minimum wage in Jakarta is Rp2.4 million (US$210), in Thailand its US$280, and the Philippines US$315 whilst the average cost of living in those countries is the same,” Said added.
read more.
antara

* Thousands of workers to stage Labor Day rally in Medan:

Thousands of workers under the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union have announced their plan to stage a rally on thoroughfares in Medan, North Sumatra, as part of their observation of International Workers’ Day, which falls on May 1.

The federation’s coordinator, Minggu Saragih, said as many as 5,000 workers had confirmed they would join the rally.

“We will march our way to the governor’s office and the North Sumatra Police headquarters, to ask [whether there are] any updates on previous reports made by our colleagues,” he said.

He said the workers would demand that the government raise their salaries by 30% to help meet increasing living costs.
read more.
jakartapost

18:56:30 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Trade Unions Federation calls for K8,500 minimum daily wage:

The Myanmar Trade Unions Federation has called for a national daily minimum wage of K8,500 in a statement released a day after the issue was discussed at a conference in Yangon attended by about 180 labour groups.

Speaking after call was made on April 28, federation chairman U Aung Lin said the figure of K8,500 was set on the basis of data gathered by the 180 groups in surveys involving 50 townships throughout the country and more than 186,000 families in 30 townships in Yangon Region.

U Aung Lin said the federation would discuss the minimum daily wage with employers after submitting the proposal to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.
The proposal called for a minimum daily wage to vary according to the cost of living, he said.
read more.
MIZZAMA new

* Fixing a minimum wage to alleviate poverty:

ince Thein Sein’s government took office in 2011, it has promised to carry out three main tasks of poverty reduction, anti-corruption, and national reconciliation.

Four years on and the progress around these tasks has become questionable. Truthfully, there has been no significant progress and they continue to inch further away from reality. The poverty reduction program seems to be only backtracking instead of moving forward with life becoming more difficult for the general public.
During the previous administration, a privileged economy was in place where only a small elite with close ties to the military enjoying the benefits.

This group of people continues to receive the same privileges while the majority of the public live in poverty despite political changes. The average salary of a factory worker is between Ks 1,000 (US$ 1) and 1,500 (US$ 1.50) per day and around Ks 30,000 (US$ 30) per month. With commodity prices getting higher, this salary cannot hope to support a single person, let alone a family.
read more.
Eleven

LW + 2

20140429

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Bangladesh looks for 29 cents:

A year on from the April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the world’s attention largely seems to have shifted away from the problems in the garment industry that were exposed by the tragedy.

There has been some tentative progress to improve conditions for workers. But serious challenges remain if the 1,132 deaths in that accident aren’t to be in vain, let alone repeated.

The government in Dhaka and the foreign retailers who buy garments from Bangladesh have not been idle. Starting in December, the minimum wage has been increased to $69 per month from $39 without overtime.

The Labor Law also was amended last year. New provisions include a requirement that factories with more than 5,000 workers have a clinic and a lower threshold (of 100 workers as compared to 200 before) above which factories need to offer compulsory group insurance. And workers are starting to organise to press for better safety standards and pay.

Meanwhile North American retailers’ Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, and European brands’ Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a five-year programme committing to improve factory conditions and source from safe factories that comply with structural integrity along with fire and electrical safety.

These initiatives are unique and are not applicable to any other country.
All of these moves are helpful. Yet the fundamental economic problems facing the industry remain unsolved. Consider some simplified calculations for a small factory of four “lines,” or rows of 50 sewing machines:

The minimum wage hike works out to 20 US cents per garment for this hypothetical factory, and suppose a recent audit shows that the owner has to spend $132,000 in building improvements within a year.
An approved fire hydrant system will cost $75,000, a reservoir for the fire sprinklers will be $15,000, a fire-system control panel will be $25,000, and nine fire-proof doors will cost a total of $17,000. Assuming this factory produces 1.4 million pieces annually, it will incur an additional cost of approximately 29 cents per piece in wages and safety improvements.
read more.
daily star bd

LW + 2

20140428

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Bavet protest: No-strike bonus offer backfires:

A union-estimated 20,000 garment workers in Svay Rieng province are now on strike after learning one factory in their industrial zone distributed a bonus to workers for not protesting in mass garment sector demonstrations during the first week of January.

Workers from about 30 factories in the Manhattan Special Economic Zone in Svay Rieng’s Bavet town have joined the protest, which began following Khmer New Year, after one company, A+J Factory, gave its worker a $50 no-strike bonus, the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) claimed.
read more.
PPP new

* Bavet City Garment Strikes Gain Momentum:

Trade unions may have failed to get a stay-at-home strike for higher wages off the ground after the Khmer New Year earlier this month. But a strike for bonus pay is picking up steam in Svay Rieng Province, where some 20,000 garment workers protested at a pair of Bavet City special economic zones on Saturday.

A frustrated Garment Manufacturers Association in Cam­bodia (GMAC) put out a statement on Friday rebuking the workers and the government alike, urging local authorities to do more before the protests get out of hand.

The Bavet City strikes got started at a few factories after the new year holiday when some workers grew envious of their colleagues at other local factories who had just been paid a one-time, $50 bonus for agreeing not to strike over the past three months. Though most factories had not offered their workers the same deal, more and more workers at the Manhattan and Tai Seng Bavet special economic zones are insisting on it.

“We will protest until the factory gives us $50,” said Dy, a worker at the BK factory who joined Saturday’s strikes and gave only his first name for fear of retaliation from his bosses.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Implement labour laws:

On March 24, The Express Tribune published a photo with this caption — “Hands that build empires — Sughra Bibi, a brick kiln worker makes 1,000 bricks in 14 hours in a day and earns just Rs 500 to feed her family of four”. It depicts the gap between prolonged hard work and the meagre wage that a large majority of our working people suffers from. This causes a huge gap between consumption and income.

As reported in newspapers on April 15, the Supreme Court observed how could ‘families survive on (the) minimum wage’?

The problem is that a large majority of workers don’t even get the minimum wage. In spite of repeated orders of the Supreme Court, bonded labour persists and the ruling parties are not serious enough to implement their own laws, including the minimum wage and orders of the apex court.

Because of this shameless negligence, it is highly likely that the Punjab government would fail to achieve its much-touted target of 100 per cent school enrolment. Think this.
As mentioned above, due to a gap between consumption needs and wages, working parents have no option but to force their children to work.
This subsequently keeps their children away from school. No wonder, currently, in Punjab alone about four million children are out of school. Those who go, drop out. Some donors are generously providing funds for primary education, but they seem to be addressing the issue from a wrong angle.
(…)
Implementing the minimum wage in all 51 unskilled trades and punishing all those employers who are violating the labour laws, i.e., depriving workers of social security and EOBI cards, practising child and bonded labour, not providing safety and hygiene standards and failing to form anti-sexual harassment committees, etc.
A long-term measure could be to replace the labour department by establishing a labour commission, which is independent of government influence and has district level offices.
read more.
tribune

LW + 2

201404256-27

GLOBAL

* Thinking Big: The Global Minimum Wage:

Let’s finally get globalization to work for people and begin – perhaps with anti-sweatshop campaigns – to organize for a global minimum wage.

After years of neglect, the minimum wage has suddenly become a major national issue. President Obama has proposed an increase in the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour, fast food workers are agitating for $15, and candidates who back a higher wage floor, including an avowed socialist in Seattle, are winning local elections. In February, the retailer Gap Inc. announced that it was implementing a nationwide minimum wage for 65,000 of its own 90,000 employees (although only $9 an hour).

The minimum wage is an important issue in other countries as well, although we rarely hear about these cases.

● Thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers took to the streets last September, blocking roads and setting factories on fire as they demanded an increase of the monthly minimum wage to about $104.

● Haitian workers staged a two-day walkout from Port-au-Prince’s apparel plants in December, shutting down the country’s assembly sector as part of a continuing struggle for a minimum of $12 a day.

● Hundreds of thousands of apparel workers went on strike at the end of December in Cambodia around a call for a monthly minimum of $160. At least five people were shot dead on Jan. 3 when police attacked a massive workers’ protest; this was the first time Cambodian police had fired into a crowd since 1997.

A Use for the WTO?
For workers in Bangladesh, Haiti, and Cambodia there’s one hurdle that most of us don’t face here: if they win, they stand a good chance of losing their jobs.

The combination of neoliberal trade agreements and technical advances in transport and communications has made it easy for garment manufacturers and retailers to move production from one country to another.
“(L)arge multinational companies systematically search the globe for the most advantageous conditions for their production facilities,” British journalist and activist Tansy Hoskins wrote in The Business of Fashion in January.
“(I)f factors like rising wages or the expansion of unions threaten profits, companies can simply source their labor elsewhere.
For workers, this constant threat of replacement makes fighting for higher standards risky because if things do shift, companies just up and leave for other locations.”

For Hoskins, the author of the recently released Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion, the solution is obvious: Remove the incentive to relocate to countries with lower wages. If the apparel industry can globalize production, the producers need to be able to globalize the minimum wage.
(…)

An Awareness-Raising Tool
In any case, a push for a global minimum would have important benefits long before the wage itself could become a reality.
“The campaign would be a powerful educational and awareness-raising tool,” according to Bjorn Skorpen Claeson, a former grassroots anti-sweatshop organizer from Maine who is now a senior policy analyst at the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), a DC-based nonprofit that has played a leading role in fighting sweatshop conditions.
“It would place workers from different parts of the world side by side,” he wrote when asked for his appraisal, “and help us make connections to each other and to institutions and decisions that impact all of our lives.”
read more.
truthout

20:26:30 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Aquino worst recent president for minimum wage – KMU:

Less than a week before Labor Day, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the Department of Labor and Employment’s main office in Intramuros, Manila this morning to condemn the government of Pres. Noynoy Aquino for attacking the minimum wage.

The workers claimed that Aquino has not only refused to implement a significant wage hike which workers have been calling for, but has attacked the minimum wage through the Two-Tiered Wage System (2TWS) and plans to give workers the “option” not to receive the minimum wage.

“As far as protecting and upholding the minimum wage is concerned, Aquino is the worst president in recent memory. Not only has he refused to implement a significant wage hike despite huge increases in the prices of basic goods and services, but has attacked the minimum wage and is scheming to further attack the latter,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Unions prepare for May Day:

Less than a week before the first ever May Day holiday this year, the Confederation of Indonesia Labor Unions (KSPI) is preparing for a large demonstration.

“We workers are consolidating our May Day plan. One of our demands is to raise the 2015 minimum wage by 30 percent and revise the basic living costs to number 84,” KSPI president Said Iqbal said as quoted by tribunnews.com on Thursday evening.

The KSPI also demanded the removal of the outsourcing system and a pay rise for contract teachers’ salaries.

In his speech in a youth community hall in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, Iqbal also called on the government to protect domestic and migrant workers. He also asked that the government stop the common practice of companies withholding workers’ salaries.
read more.
jakartapost

17:56:30 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* A national minimum wage – is it desirable?:

The trade unions have recommended to the Presidential Commission on Wage Policy to establish a ‘national wage minimum’.

Presently we have national minimum wages fixed by different Wages Boards for particular sectors like industry or agriculture and for particular trades.

Such minimum wages are raised from time to time. In 2013 the minimum wage rate indices for such employees increased by an overall 3.7% according to the Central Bank Annual Report for 2013.
Additionally, there is also the informal sector where wages are determined in a free market environment where wages are adjusted according to changes in supply and demand forces operating in the particular labor market.

But as the Central Bank observes in its Report “the level of reservation wages in the economy also acts as a determining factor in this respect”.
So expect any general national minimum wage fixed by the authorities to affect the entire spectrum of wages in the economy, across all sectors and occupations except the informal sector where it may not be possible to enforce it.
But they are they not the persons who really need wage protection?
read more.
island

SOUTH AFRICA

SACTWU update on state of wage negotiations in the clothing, leather and textile sectors:

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has commenced its annual wage negotiations in the clothing, textiles and leather sectors.

First round negotiations commenced in mid-April this year, for 9 out of 13  national centralised sector wage bargains in which the union participates. For 4 sectors, negotiations will kick off between next week and mid-May, depending on when wage increases are due.

Following our National Collective Bargaining Conference held in early March this year, SACTWU had submitted a range of substantive demands to employers in our industry, including wage increases, improvements in retirement funding, better trade union organisational rights, employer contributions towards the union’s HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment campaign, additional holiday pay, and other related proposals.

Employer responses to date, for those sectors in which negotiations have already commenced, ranged between a wage freeze and a 5.5% wage increase.

In the clothing sector, the union has declared a national wage dispute after employers failed to table a response to the union’s wage demands. The union has referred the dispute to the clothing industry bargaining council. We now await a date for the conciliation processes to commence, as is required by the industry’s dispute resolution procedures.
to read.
SACTWU

LW + 2

20140425

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Factories Mostly Skip Minimum Wage Meeting:

Government officials and union representatives met behind closed doors Thursday to start hashing out a better way to set the minimum wage for the country’s all-important but troubled garment sector at a workshop brokered by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

But what was supposed to be a start of frank, three-party discussions between the government, unions and factory owners was more of a bilateral affair with scant participation from manufacturers.

Amid the many government officials and union members in the room was only one representative from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), which represents the bulk of the 500-plus exporting garment factories in the country. An advisor to the Ministry of Labor said their light presence threatened to scupper the reform efforts.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Cost of living: Minimum wage inadequate to meet basic needs, says SC:

The Supreme Court has observed that the fundamental rights to life as given in Article 9 and a life of dignity as envisioned under Article 14 of the Constitution are not available to a substantial number of citizens throughout the country.

At the last hearing, the court had constituted four committees, comprising the federal and provincial governments’ law officers, to check the price and availability of wheat flour on-spot throughout the country.

“The committees have made visits to various sites. From their reports, it does appear that the fundamental rights to life as given in Article 9 and a life of dignity as envisioned under Article 14 of the Constitution may not be available presently to a substantial number of citizens,” a two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, observed on Tuesday.
read more.
tribune

LW + 2

20140424

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* 356 sacked Adidas workers call for support after two-year fight:

July is a big month for World Cup partner Adidas – and for 356 Indonesian workers abandoned by the sportswear giant two years ago.

The company’s carefully protected brand will be challenged by a global labour campaign to win justice for the mainly young female employees sacked in 2012.

Adidas hopes to see its share price leap on the back of the World Cup, which will showcase a hi-tech ball and team uniforms crafted by the German firm.
But Kokom Komalawati and her colleagues are determined to hold the company responsible for the mass sacking of 1,300 workers who took strike action for a minimum wage and other rights.

Ms Komalawati is a local leader of the Shoe, Garment & Textile Workers Union, an affiliate of Indonesia’s GSBI labour federation.
She is also one of the workers unfairly sacked by the PT Panarub Dwikarya company, a subsidiary of manufacturer PT Panarub Industry.

The parent company is a major global supplier to both Adidas and Japanese sportswear brand Mizuno.
PT Panarub Dwikarya dismissed its workforce after a week-long dispute over the company’s failure to pay a six-month old minimum wage increase.

Financial hardship and management intimidation forced many of the sacked workers to renounce their union membership – but 356 fight on with fortnightly protests outside the company compound 40 kilometres west of Jakarta.

With July marking the second anniversary of the dispute, the union campaign is building global pressure on Adidas and Mizuno to insist the Panarub companies settle the claims of sacked workers.

Unions want the 356 workers reinstated with backpay and all rights restored.
read more.
INDOZ

* Workers to take to street on May Day in Indonesia to demand higher pay:

Tens of thousands of workers will stage May Day rallies in Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta on May 1 to demand a pay hike, chief of the worker’s union said here on Tuesday.

The workers would march at the downtown and express their demand outside the State Palace and the parliament building, Chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions Said Iqbal said.
“About 120,000 labors plan to take to the street to voice their demands,” he said at Mega Hotel here.
Past experience indicates the real number of protesters is always below the plan.

“The priority of our struggle is to express demand for a 30% pay hike,” said Iqbal.
read more.
XINHUAnet

LW + 2

20140423

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Wage-setting meet up in air:

20140423 PPP
A garment factory worker holds a placard during a protest that saw Russian Boulevard blockaded by razor wire and riot police in Phnom Penh in December. Photo by Vireak Mai.

Exactly who will participate in a workshop to set the minimum wage in the garment sector with the Ministry of Labour this week remained unclear yesterday, with some key figures saying they had not yet been invited.

During the workshop, to be held on Thursday and Friday, the ministry, with technical assistance from the International Labour Organization, will begin discussions with union, NGO and industry leaders about setting a mechanism to calculate a fair minimum wage for garment industry workers, a Ministry of Labour letter, signed by secretary of state Oum Mean, says.

“I cannot say what I expect of the workshop, since the minimum-wage-setting process will not finish until the end of this year,” said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, after being invited to the event.
“I think the workshop is just the first step.”

As of yesterday, Ath Thorn, president of Cambodia’s largest independent garment union, the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), had not received an invitation.
“I expect to be invited, but until now I did not receive an invitation,” Thorn said.

Dave Welsh, country manager for labour rights group Solidarity Center, also remained unsure whether the meeting would go forward, having not received an invitation or heard about the event in weeks.

Noting that the court suddenly pushed the trial of 23 people arrested during January strike demonstrations from last Friday to April 25, Welsh said he believed it possible this event could also be delayed.
read more.
PPP new

* Strikes still on in some provinces:

Unrest in the garment sector spread yesterday, as hundreds of workers from Kandal province demonstrated outside their factory.

The 700 workers at Unity Fashion factory walked off the job after managers said they would dock wages of workers who did not show up on April 17, the first day after Khmer New Year, said Ry Sithinet, a Free Trade Union officer.

Striking that began on Saturday continued yesterday at three factories in Svay Rieng province’s Tai Seng Special Economic Zone, said Meas Sokna, the local Collective Union of Movement of Workers officer.
read more.
PPP new

* Isolated Protests Emerge in Wake of Failed Garment Strike:

A day after union leaders conceded that a nationwide stay-at-home strike in the garment sector had failed, fresh strikes raged in Svay Rieng, Kandal and Kompong Speu provinces, with workers claiming bosses reneged on agreements for extra Khmer New Year vacation days.

Striking staff swelled to 10,000 at Svay Rieng’s Bavet City special economic zone, according to union leaders, while hundreds refused to work in Kandal and Kompong Speu provinces.

“The workers are still striking in Svay Rieng because the authorities have not made any effort to solve the problem,” said Pav Sina, head of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.

The strike in the SEZ began when factory bosses announced that staff who did not return to work after the Khmer New Year—from April 14 to 16—would be docked pay for their absence. Unions had called for the stay-at-home strike to start on April 17.

“The authorities only threaten activists,” Mr. Sina said, adding that unionists had received visits from police, warning them against “taking part in the opposition strikes or they will face problems.”

At the Unity Fashion Garment and Knitting Factory in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district, workers claim they worked overtime in the lead-up to the new year, with a promise from bosses that they could extend their holiday through April 17.

Vuy Idie, a 20-year-old worker at Unity, said between 400 and 500 staff had been on strike since Friday, when they were told that they would not be paid for April 17. They claim that they worked two hours overtime on April 10 and 11 in exchange for the extra day.

“We request that the factory does not cut our salary for April 17, and we demand $12 per month for lunch and travel costs,” Ms. Idie said, adding that the Kandal provincial labor department had promised to solve the dispute today.

At the Victco Hand Bag factory in Kompong Speu’s Samroang Tong district, workers say that, upon going to work on Friday, they were told by factory managers to go home because there were no food vendors open near the factory, leaving them unfit to work.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

LW + 2

20140422

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Thousands continue their strike:

Nearly 4,000 workers in Svay Rieng province continued protesting yesterday amid a separate stay-at-home strike.

Workers from three factories in the country’s southeast corner held public protests outside their factories in the province’s Tai Seng Special Economic Zone beginning Saturday, said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW).

The striking workers are demanding $50 – the amount of the no-strike bonus all three factories agreed to pay but have withheld in the wake of a nationwide strike that ended in early January, CUMW officer Sok Na said yesterday. They are also calling on factories to rehire 43 workers they say have been fired since the strike earlier this year.

“The factories broke their promise, which caused the workers to get angry and protest,” Na said, adding that workers would continue demonstrating tomorrow.

Employees taking part in the action, which is not related to the stay-at-home strike, represent workers from the Best Way, Smart Tech and You Li factories, Na said.
to read.
PPP new

* Stay-at-Home Strike a Bust as Workers Return to Factories:

The vast majority of the country’s 600,000-strong garment factory workforce appeared to be back on the job Monday despite a call from unions to continue a stay-at-home strike until Tuesday.

Eight unions had spent weeks urging workers to stay home after the Khmer New Year from April 17 to 22 in hopes of pressuring the government and factories to raise the sector’s monthly minimum wage from $100 to $160. They also want the courts to release 21 unionists and workers arrested during the last round of wage strikes that ended in January.

By Monday morning, however, all factories were back up and running and most of their workers were back at their stations.
Outside her factory on Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, Khorn Ya said about 80 percent of her 500 or so coworkers were back Monday, not wanting to miss out on a day’s pay.

“If the workers don’t go back to work, we will have our salaries cut, so we have to go to work,” she said.
Chhum Vet, who works at another garment factory along Veng Sreng, said between 80 percent and 90 percent of her coworkers were back Monday.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Strike falls flat as factories fill:

What was supposed to be a widespread garment protest fell flat yesterday, as most workers returned to their posts, days ahead of the end of a planned weeklong stay-at-home strike.

A program officer at the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) said no workers took part in the strike, while C.CAWDU president Ath Thorn said employees at “more than 10” factories were on strike yesterday, but admitted that the majority of workers had returned to work.

“More [employees] went to work, but some did not,” said Thorn, who earlier yesterday claimed that up to 90 per cent of the garment sector did not work on April 17, the strike’s first day.

Most of Cambodia’s factories remained closed after Khmer New Year until Monday, making yesterday the litmus test for workers’ support of the strike, several industry observers said last week.
read more.
PPP new

LW + 2

20140419-21

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140421 * 2,500 Workers in Bavet SEZ Go on Strike:

More than 2,000 workers at three factories in Svay Rieng’s Bavet City went on strike Saturday, claiming their bosses owed them money.

About 500 workers at the You Li factory, which makes baby clothes, went on strike Saturday because management refused to pay them for Thursday after the workers decided to take the day off without permission, said Heng Davy, one of the strikers.

“We asked them to let us go back to work on April 18 after the Khmer New Year, but they denied our request…and they demanded that we come back to work on April 17,” she said. “We will continue to strike until they do not cut our salary.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20140419 * Nationwide Garment Factory Strike Sputters Into Second Day:

A few garment factories resumed operations in Phnom Penh on Friday, albeit at reduced capacity, as thousands of workers returned to the city after Khmer New Year celebrations in the provinces.

While the majority of factories in Meanchey and Pur Senchey districts stayed closed, it remained unclear if that was a result of a successful labor strike, as unions have argued, or an extended new year holiday, as factory owners claim.

Eight labor unions called for a weeklong stay-at-home strike in the garment industry, beginning Thursday, to demand a $160 minimum wage and the release of 21 activists and garment workers jailed during the last round of protests in January.

However, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) says that factories have agreed to extend the holiday vacation until next week, in what unions claim is an attempt to undermine their strike.

The majority of workers spoken to Friday said that their factories announced a compulsory extended holiday before Khmer New Year, a move that Yaing Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, said is meant to prevent the perception of a major industrial dispute in the embattled industry.

“I can’t believe that the factories and GMAC gave the workers more holidays as a gesture,” Ms. Sophorn said. “The factories are working for the buyers and the buyers are waiting for their goods. This extended holiday is just an excuse. Any worker that isn’t at work [Friday] is on strike.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20140418 * Factories to remain closed until April 21: GMAC:

Garment and footwear factories will still remain closed until April 21 after Khmer New Year holidays, according to Ken Loo, Secretary General of Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).

Ken Loo’s comments came after union leader announced that some 80 percent of workers didn’t go to work on April 17 as part of a week campaign to boycott work after Khmer New Year.

A coalition of 18 labor unions and association has announced its week-long campaign to urge workers not to go to work from 17-22 April to demand release of detained 21 protesters and wage re-negotiation of US$160 per month for worker.
“About 80 percent of workers didn’t go to work to follow the announcement by labor unions,” Chea Mony, President of Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia, told reporters on Thursday.

He added that workers would continue their days off until April in order to demand the release of 21 protesters, and wage be raised to US$160 per month.

However, Ken Loo said the same day that the workers didn’t go to work because most of factories haven’t yet opened for operation.
“Workers didn’t boycott their work as claimed by labor union leaders,” Loo added.
to read.
CAMHERALD

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* One Million Labors to Hold Protest on May Day:

The President of Indonesian Labor Confederation (KSPI), Said Iqbal, said that as many as one million labors from throughout Indonesia are going to hold demonstration on May Day, which is May 1, by marching from Hotel Indonesia Roundabout to the National Palace in Jakarta.

“In the afternoon, there will be May Day Fiesta at Bung Karno Stadium, Senayan, where 120,000 labors of Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi) will take part,” Said explained through a written statement on Saturday, April 2014.

According to Said, the May Day celebration will also be held simultaneously in 20 provinces in Indonesia. Among the simultaneous demonstrations are going to be held at the Governor offices in Bandung for West Java, Semarang for Central Java, Surabaya for East Java, Medan for North Sumatra, and Makassar for South Sulawesi.
(…)

During the demonstrations, labors are said to demand the following:

1. Raise the minimum wage for 2015 by 30 percent and revise the criteria of descent living (KHL) to 84 items.
2. Reject the suspension of minimum wage establishment.
3. Commence the compulsory pension assurance for all labors in July 2015.
4. Commence the health assurance for all people by revoking the Health Minister Decree no. 69/2013 regarding the fee, replace the INA CBG with Fee For Service, and run audit on the Social Security Management Agency (BPJS) for Health and BPJS for Manpower.
5. Ban outsourcing, especially in the state-owned enterprises.
6. Approve the Draft of Domestic Workers Law and Revise the Indonesian Manpower Protection Law.
7. Revoke the Law of Mass Organization and replace it with the Draft of Organization Law.
8. Change the status of non-permanent teachers to permanent teachers and give Rp1 million subsidies to the non-permanent teachers per month, per person.
9. Provide affordable transportation means and housing for labors.
10. Reinforce the 12-year compulsory education and scholarships to the children of labors up to the university level.
read more.
tempo-eng

* Indonesian Labor Union wants wage rise by 30% in 2015:

The Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) demanded a wage rise by 30 percent in the year 2015, the organizations president Said Iqbal said here on Sunday.

“We will bring this agenda in our rally next May 1, coinciding with International Workers Day,” Said said.

According to him, a wage rise in Indonesia is necessary as the country will soon join ASEAN Single Market in 2015. Said argued the minimum wage standard in Indonesia is far behind other ASEAN countries such as Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia while the productivity in Indonesia is as good as other ASEAN countries.

“Minimum wage in Jakarta is Rp2.4 million (US$210), in Thailand its US$280, and the Philippines US$315 whilst the average cost of living in those countries is the same,” Said added.
read more.
antara

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20140421 * RMG workers block city road demanding dues:

20140421 FE

Workers of a readymade garments (RMG) factory demonstrated at Tejgaon area demanding their due wages on Monday, disrupting traffic movement on Mohakhali-Tejgaon road for an hour.

Md Salahuddin, officer in-charge of Tejgaon Industrial area Police Station said the workers of All Weather Garments factory took to the street demanding their outstanding wages at around 90:30am.
They blocked the busy road halting traffic movement.
On information, police rushed in and fire teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the RMG workers.
to read. & read more.
UNB FE bd

* Minimum Wages Implementation – Workers’ leaders have no data:

The workers’ leaders have no information regarding the non-implementation of the garment workers’ minimum wages.

State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu on Saturday came up with the observation on Saturday.

He addressing at a workshop titled “Bangladesh Labour Law-2006 and Industrial Relationship” as the chief guest at BGMEA building in the city’s Tejgaon area.

Mujibul Haque Chunnu said, “The leaders say minimum wage is not being implemented, I asked them to come up with the names of the factories, where minimum wages are not being followed; but I haven’t get their responses even one and half a month has been passed.”

“There remains a gap between the factory owners and the workers; if a good relation is built up between them, many problems will be resolved,” he added.

Some 140 trade unions have been registered this year, the minster informed the participants.

Speaking at the function, Labour Ministry Secretary Michael Shipper said, “Situation at the garment industry goes volatile due to unskilled mid level management at different times.”

“If the management becomes skilled, the gap between owners and workers will be lessened and the chaos will be reduced too,” he added.
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Women in the workforce:

We live in a societal setup that is highly stratified according to caste, class, and cultural and regional variations, all of which have implications on the opportunities provided to women.

Thus researchers have suggested that policymakers should take into account women’s experiences of gender systems across the country. In Pakistan, human development indicators for women are weak and experts search for solutions both in terms of the religious-cultural framework and the lack of political will to modify systems.

Participation of women in the labour market is increasing over time in developing economies. This increased participation is mainly due to push as well as pull factors. The push of growing urbanisation, larger demand for consumer goods and low wages has forced a greater number of women to participate in the labour force. Similarly, rising literacy rate and growing educational attainment and the desire for economic sovereignty among women has produced the necessary pull towards remunerated work.

Industrial sectors namely garments, pharmaceuticals, plastic and food are based on relatively high levels of women’s employment and are likely to be the important centre for women’s employment in future.

One would expect that incomes by working in the registered large scale manufacturing industry would be higher than in the informal sector (both small manufacturing units and home based work).
The wage rates in the informal sector are one-fourth less than the wage rates prevailing in the formal sector. However the disparity in the capital-labour ratio and in labour productivity between the two sectors is much higher than the likely wage differentials.
(,,,)

Further, in small-scale enterprises, 61 percent of women earn below the minimum wage compared to more than three-fourths of home-based workers.

The fabric industry of Pakistan contributes 54 percent to the total export earnings of the country. The fabric and clothing industry accounts for 46 percent of total manufacturing and provides job opportunities to 38 percent of the manufacturing labour force. It provides entry level employment for women with limited income opportunities.

The textile industry of Pakistan has prospects for expansion in labour productivity, research and development, manufactured goods diversification and branding.
In 2006, the United Nations Development Programmme in alliance with the private sector of Pakistan launched its direct initiative Gender Promotion in Garment Sector through Skills Development with an aim to widen a cadre of skilled women to increase productivity and job creation for semi urban and urban women.
read more.
labourwatch

LW + 2

20140418

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Stay-at-home garment strike off to weak start:

A weeklong stay-at-home garment worker strike over wages began with a whimper yesterday as factories remained closed after a holiday and some workers were ambivalent about the action.

A day after the end of Khmer New Year, the official kick-off date for the boycott, steel gates at factories were closed along the typically bustling National Road 2 spanning Phnom Penh and Kandal province.

“Do we call it strike or not? We don’t care,” Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said yesterday. “It gives the impression to the owners that the strike threat won’t go away unless they resolve the existing conflict.”

The impact of the industrial action will likely not be seen until Monday, when most factories plan on opening their doors after the holiday and the weekend, Dave Welsh, country director of labour rights group Solidarity Center, said.

Lacking a specific number, Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, yesterday said some factories tried to open but had too few employees to operate.
read more.
PPP new

* Little Appetite for Garment Strike in Phnom Penh:

Most garment factories did not open for business Thursday, choosing to extend the Khmer New Year holidays—which officially ended Wednesday—rather than face industrial action in the form of a planned nationwide stay-at-home strike.

However, a number of workers interviewed Thursday said they knew nothing about the strike, called by eight unions to demand a higher minimum wage and the release of 21 unionists and factory workers arrested during the last round of strikes in December.

Motivated by the fear of violence, the need to earn every dollar they can, or simple indifference, they said they would be back at their workstations as soon as the factory doors opened in the next few days.

Touch, who gave only her first name, was playing a game of cards with fellow garment workers in her dormitory along factory-lined Veng Sreng Street. The unions behind the strike are asking workers to stay home until Wednesday. But Touch said she had not even heard of the strike and would be back at work on Monday, as soon as her factory reopened.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Workers in Savar Strike For Wage:

Workers of CPM Knit Composite Limited in Savar, the northern outskirts of Dhaka, went on protest this morning for their wages from the month of January 2014.

As minimum wage 2013 still remain unimplemented in almost half of all the garment factories, unrest for wages are erupting and promises given by management to quickly adjust with new wages are going empty.

As the strike went on from the morning, at least 200 workers went on towards violent demonstrations through breaking windows and pelting stone at about 11:00AM; 15 workers were injured during their clashes with police as they rushed in to stop the protesting workers with baton. Later, the Ashulia Industrial Police came in equipped with riot gear, firing rubber bullets at the agitated workers who were in turn pelting stones at them.
read more.

* Workers-police clash injures 50:

At least 50 people have been injured as the workers of a jute mill locked into sporadic clashes with police in Sharishabari upazila in the district on Thursday evening.

Sharishabari police station Officer-in-Charge Billal Uddin said: “The workers of Alhajj Jute Mill have been staging demonstrations from last couple of day demanding dues and other allowances. They were promised to be paid the dues on Thursday. But, the authorities reportedly started to make excuses without giving them the due salaries.

“At one stage, the agitating workers confined the top officials of the factory and went on a rampage in the factory premises. Later, they locked into clashes with the law enforcers as we went there to rescue the confined officials,” he added.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* CITU to protest:

CITU will organise a protest at Palladam on April 18 demanding an early solution to the wage revision issue for job-working powerloom units in the district.

The units are on strike demanding implementation of the revised wages in this sector.
to read.
THEHINDU

HAITI

* Garment Exports Rise but Haitian Workers Paid Starvation Wages:

Despite a 45 percent increase in apparel exports since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the women and men who sew T-shirts and jeans primarily destined for the U.S. market barely earn enough to pay for their lunch and transportation to work, a new Solidarity Center survey finds.

The average cost of living for an export apparel worker in Port-au-Prince is 26,150 Haitian gourdes (about $607) per month. Yet workers are paid only between 200 gourdes (about $4.64) and 300 gourdes for an eight-hour day (about $6.96). After insurance and social security deductions, most export apparel workers must spend more than half of their salaries on transportation to and from the factory and a modest lunch, leaving little to sustain a family or keep a roof over their heads.

“Workers interviewed in this study had to forgo basic necessities given the disparity between their earned wages and the cost of living,” according to the report. “When asked what they would purchase if they had sufficient income, workers responded with: more food to feed their families, land to build a home, (and) a car or moped to drive their children to school.”
read more.
SOLIDARITYCENTER

LW + 2

20140417

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Cambodian Garment Workers commence strike for a Living Wage:

Today, thousands of garment workers in Cambodia will stay at home as part of a new series of actions to demand of a Living Wage

The stay at home strike is supported by 18 Cambodian unions and international campaign groups such as Clean Clothes Campaign, and will last for seven days. Workers are calling on major clothing buyers like H&M, Inditex, C&A, Next, Tesco, Puma, Levi’s, GAP and Adidas to take immediate action to ensure an increase in the minimum wage.

Cambodian workers and their unions are demanding an increase in the minimum
wage to USD 160 per month. After unions called for a national strike on December 24th, 2013 the police and military responded with violence on January 2nd and 3rd, killing at least 4 people and injuring almost 40.

Athit Kong from the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) calls on the brands to resume good faith wage negotiations:

“Diplomatic pressure from brands is not enough any more. It is high time brands take their responsibility and use their buying power to take concrete steps and tackle the issue which lies at the heart of our protests: a living wage.”

In ‘Crackdown in Cambodia ‘, a recently published report by the the US based Worker Rights Consortium, the labour rights monitoring organisation reveals how garment workers in Cambodia have been confronted with growing repression of their human and labour rights. State authorities have banned public gatherings completely and still continue to hold 21 workers in detention.
The workers have reportedly been beaten after being seized by authorities and security forces continue to put down any sign of worker protest.

Clean Clothes Campaign is supporting the workers in their demand of:

* A minimum wage of USD160 per month for garment and other workers

* The release of the remaining 21 prisoners arrested in the early January crackdowns on garment worker strikes and the dropping of charges against all 23 charged.

* To stop the persecution and targeting of unions and workers, including legal actions against unions by GMAC, the Cambodian Garment Manufactures Organisation, – which represents the suppliers of mayor buyers like H&M, Inditex, C&A, Next, Tesco, Puma, Levi’s GAP and adidas.

* Respect the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining and resumption of good faith minimum wage negotiations.

Site

20:26:30 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* ‘Pay employees holiday wages’:

The department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday reminded employers to abide by the pay rules for the Holy Week holidays.

“Voluntary compliance with labor laws, including the correct payment of wages during holidays, promotes workplace harmony and excellence, which redound to the productivity and competitiveness of businesses,” said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz in a statement.

Maundy Thursday (April 17) and Good Friday (April 18) have been declared regular holidays and Black Saturday (April 19) is a special nonworking day.

“If an employee reports for work during a regular holiday, he shall be entitled to 200 percent of his regular pay for that day for the first eight hours, and for work in excess of the eight hours, an additional 30 percent of his hourly rate,” Baldoz said.

If the day falls on an employee’s rest day but he goes to work, he shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his daily rate of 200 percent. For work in excess of eight hours on those days, he should receive an additional 30 percent of his hourly rate.

“If an employee does not render work during a regular holiday, he is still entitled to 100 percent of his salary for that day,” Baldoz said.
read more.
INQUIRER new

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Can you survive on minimum wage in M’sia?:

Living on less than RM1000 a month is tricky business indeed so in the interest of curiosity, this article will attempt to look into the lives of minimum wage workers to determine how they survive in Malaysia.

There has been and will continue to be a lot of talk about minimum wage recently due to the enforcement of the new ruling in January 2014. The minimum monthly income was set at RM900 for peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for east Malaysia.

The announcement has been met with mixed reviews thus far, with several Malaysians arguing that the amount is insufficient, considering the recent surge in the cost of living. Conversely, some Malaysians feel that the law decreases the competitiveness of the nation’s industries while doing more to benefit foreign laborers rather than locals. Some business heads also lamented that it would in turn force them to raise prices even more.

Whichever side you’re on, the minimum wage law is here to stay (for now) and nothing’s going to change that. Living on less than RM1000 a month is tricky business indeed so in the interest of curiosity, this article will attempt to look into the lives of minimum wage workers to determine how they survive in Malaysia.

Survive NOT thrive
In case you didn’t already know, earning minimum wage literally means that in terms of pay, you’re at the very bottom of the food chain.

Minimum wage workers form the backbone of society within Malaysia.
They do menial jobs that most Malaysians often take for granted such as cleaning tables at food courts, washing toilets and manning the multitude of factory assembly lines across the nation. If all of them packed up and quit overnight, then life in Malaysia would come to a virtual standstill.
read more.
FREEMALAYSIATODAY

LW + 2

20140416

20:26:30 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Workers hit wage commission for ‘lies’ vs. P125 wage hike:

Workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the office of the National Wages and Productivity Commission in Malate, Manila this morning to condemn the agency for spreading “lies” against the P125 across-the-board wage hike that workers have been clamoring for.

The labor group, which burned an image of the agency’s logo to show its condemnation, said that contrary to the NWPC’s claim, such a significant wage increase can be absorbed by capitalists’ profits and will not lead to massive retrenchment or to soaring inflation.

“We condemn the NWPC for using the age-old tactic of blackmailing workers with retrenchment and inflaton into accepting starvation wages. The truth is that capitalists’ profits have increased over the years and can absorb a significant wage hike. A P125 wage hike is aimed at partially recouping the value that has been eroded by price hikes through many years,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Cambodia’s Garment Workers: Videos of a Struggle- Rising For Rights:

Over the past two years, there has been a growing campaign to highlight the plight of workers in Cambodia’s garment industry, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the country’s exports.

The workers, over 80 percent of whom are women aged 18-35, face a myriad of problems including extremely poor wages and living conditions, and the lack of protection for health and safety. When these workers organise themselves to voice out about these issues, they are often met with threats of arrest, violence, and in some cases, death.

In December 2013, Cambodian garment workers went on a nation-wide strike asking for a higher monthly minimum wage than the $75 they currently earn. This led to a violent crackdown by Government authorities and a complete ban on demonstrations.
read & see more. (video reports)
ENGAGEMEDIA

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Rising wages ‘squeeze’ RMG makers as factories await upgrades:

Bangladesh garment factory owners say they are soaking up much of the cost of nearly doubling wages as some global retailers balk at price hikes, leaving less money for safety improvements urged by apparel chains after last year’s Rana Plaza disaster.

The task of coping with a 79 per cent increase in the minimum monthly wage to $68, imposed last December at the urging of some retail chains, comes as competition intensifies among emerging markets producing garments for stores like Walmart and Zara. That is squeezing sales in Bangladesh’s main export industry.
At Dhaka-based clothing company Simco Group, one of the thousands of businesses the sector comprises, chairman Muzaffar Siddique said that before the wage increase his net profit margin was a little more than 2 per cent. Now he’s losing money on orders, and reckons four out of every five garment makers in the world’s second-biggest clothing exporter after China are in the same boat.
‘I approached one of my Western buyers to raise prices, and the relevant company said, “It is your business and you have to manage it … you cannot slip it to us”,’ Muzaffar said. He declined to identify the Western buyer.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

brands PAY 2

* H&M CEO warns rising Bangladeshi wages may spook some firms:

Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, supports higher wages for textile workers in Bangladesh, its chief executive said, but warned that higher costs could also prompt some companies to go elsewhere.

“After all, many companies source from Bangladesh, not just us. The country needs to take into account that jobs could be lost to other countries,” German daily newspaper Die Welt cited CEO Karl-Johan Persson as saying in an interview published on its website on Tuesday.
“In Bangladesh, the clothing industry offers 4 million jobs that are relatively well paid compared with others. Textile workers earn about as much as teachers,” Persson said.
read more. & read more. (german) & read more.
daily star bd dieWELT NEWAGEnew

* H&M CEO warns rising Bangladeshi wages may spook some firms:

“In Bangladesh, the clothing industry offers 4 million jobs that are relatively well paid compared with others. Textile workers earn about as much as teachers”

Hennes & Mauritz, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, supports higher wages for textile workers in Bangladesh, its chief executive said, but warned that higher costs could also prompt some companies to go elsewhere.

“After all, many companies source from Bangladesh, not just us. The country needs to take into account that jobs could be lost to other countries,” German daily newspaper Die Welt cited CEO Karl-Johan Persson as saying in an interview published on its website on Tuesday.

“In Bangladesh, the clothing industry offers 4 million jobs that are relatively well paid compared with others. Textile workers earn about as much as teachers,” Persson said.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

LW + 2

20140415

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Strikes and Unrest Continue in Factories Cheating Minimum Wage 2013 Implementation:

Apart from factory inspections, the GSP, battle between Accord and Alliance, the social problems continue in some of the garment industries in Bangladesh.

While many Garment Factories have already implemented the minimum wage, some still deny their workers their wage rights, which in a way adds blemish to all the good work most factory owners are doing in implementing proper wages and safer working conditions.

Recently, there have been many hostilities in some garment factories regarding wage, and a good number of factories continue such behavior of creating restlessness out of what should have been by now a “settled issue”. Earlier on 11 April this year, ATS Pearl Ltd, a garment factory employing around 1,700 workers in Chittagong Export Processing Zone, agitated for yearly increment on the factory premises, an issue already settled in the epz minimum wage 2013.

In a case that is not only unsettling, but displays a vivid example of negative attitude, below is a case study collected from a worker in Dhaka’s Matrix Dresses Limited, where a worker expresses her story in bitterness, looking forward to a decision to end her painful experience by switching job into another factory even if she has to start all over again without benefits paid.

A female Operator, P**** (name concealed for her safety), Matrix Dresses Limited
P*** has been targeted for over a month now for her taking part in a strike to receive wages according to the minimum wage 2013 as declared and applicable from December 2013 and payable starting from January 2014. “I am simply helpless,” she says “I am failing to keep my children fed, looking for a new job these days is not so simple with the inspections going on and the new minimum wage being implemented”, she adds “all we wanted was our minimum wage being implemented as per the gazette published by government, but even that has not happened. Who is there to listen to our grief?”
read more.

* Garment factory owners suffer from mandatory wage hike:

Garment factory owners in Bangladesh are suffering from rising costs primarily due to the increased wages of labourers amid international calls for better working conditions after the Rana Plaza disaster.

The owners nearly doubled wages and have less money for safety improvements at factories, as their profits are squeezed. In addition, a number of global retailers who source from those factories are not willing to share the rising costs, report agencies.

The cost concerns come as Bangladesh’s garment export industry is facing stiff competition from other low-cost Asian countries such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia.
(…)
As a result, authorities in Bangladesh and clothing companies, especially in the US and Europe, have pledged to increase wages and improve safety standards at the country’s factories. Europe and the US account for 60pc and 23pc of clothes export from Bangladesh, respectively.

Britain’s supermarket operator Tesco said in a statement to Reuters that it had lobbied for higher wages for Bangladesh’s labourers and would continue to work with suppliers to improve pay and shorten workers’ hours. US clothing chain Gap and Sweden’s fast-fashion retailer H&M also noted that they had pushed for increased wages in Bangladesh.
read more. & read more.
UNB DAWNnew

LW + 2

20140414

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* CPP vows to increase monthly wage to 250 dollars for civil servants and 160 dollars for garment workers by 2018:

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has issued nine points of its policies for upcoming local council Election which will be held on May 18, 2014.

According a statement issued on Saturday, the policies included a promise to increase the monthly salary to 1,000,000 riel or 250 dollars for civil servants and soldiers and US$160 for garment and footwear factory workers in 2018 and strong commitment to solving land disputes.

CPP also mentioned the good governance, social order and development as its priorities.

The campaign for the Council Election will last from 2-16 May. Five political parties are eligible for the election.
to read.
CAMHERALD

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Rising Wages Squeeze Bangladesh Garment Makers as Factories Await Upgrades:

Employees work in a factory of Babylon Garments in DhakaEmployees work in a factory of Babylon Garments in Dhaka January 3, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Andrew Biraj

Bangladesh garment factory owners say they are soaking up much of the cost of nearly doubling wages as some global retailers balk at price hikes, leaving less money for safety improvements urged by apparel chains after last year’s Rana Plaza disaster.

The task of coping with a 79 percent increase in the minimum monthly wage to $68, imposed last December at the urging of some retail chains, comes as competition intensifies among emerging markets producing garments for stores like Walmart and Zara. That is squeezing sales in Bangladesh’s main export industry.

At Dhaka-based clothing company Simco Group, one of the thousands of businesses the sector comprises, chairman Muzaffar Siddique said that before the wage increase his net profit margin was a little more than 2 percent. Now he’s losing money on orders, and reckons four out of every five garment makers in the world’s second-biggest clothing exporter after China are in the same boat.

“I approached one of my Western buyers to raise prices, and the relevant company said, ‘It is your business and you have to manage it … you cannot slip it to us’,” Muzaffar said. He declined to identify the Western buyer.

Nearly a year after the eight-story Rana Plaza building collapsed in Dhaka’s Savar district, killing more than 1,100 workers, Bangladesh’s garment export growth has slowed to the lowest rate in 15 years. Some buyers have shifted orders to countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia because of concerns about workshop safety, higher wages and political uncertainty.

Rana Plaza was the deadliest of a series of workplace tragedies in Bangladesh’s garment business. Some Western retailers have lobbied for higher wages and better standards for workers — and also have warned investors there may be a price to pay in terms of reduced profit margins.

‘Idle gossip’
Babylon Group, a garment factory in Dhaka that says it makes clothing for major global retailers, is another company struggling to adjust to the higher cost base. It employs more than 12,000 people, and since the wage hike has lost money making clothing for customers, according to documents seen by Reuters.
read more. & read more.
jak-globe reuters

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Call to release labourers :

Labour leaders have called for the release of labourers charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act, strict implementation of labour rights, including minimum wages and social security.

They announced holding a labour conference on the sidelines of the upcoming South Asia Labour Conference (24-26 April) if their demands were not met by the government.

Speaking at a press conference here Sunday, Hassan Muhammad Rana, Mian Abdul Qayyum, Sarwar Bari, Shazia Khan and Niaz Khan said the current PML-N government was attempting to present a positive image of labour rights in Pakistan, whereas the ground realities were different.

Talking to the press, Qayyum said the implementation of minimum wages in both government and private corporations, in addition to registration of eligible workers under the Punjab Employees Social Security Institution benefit scheme was embarrassingly pathetic.
He said trade unions’ freedom of protest was on the decline.
read more.
thenewspk

 

LW + 2

20140412-13

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

20140412 * ‘Revise wages’:

About 20,000 job-working power loom units in Palladam and nearby areas have stopped production as some of the textile manufacturers are not paying the revised wages.

Nearly two lakh power looms in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts were on strike from February 21 for 34 days.
to read.
THEHINDU

20140313 * Power loom unit owners seek revised wages:

While the textile manufacturers at Somanur, Tirupur and Avinashi have started paying the revised wages, some in Palladam are reluctant to do so.

About 20,000 job-working power loom units in Palladam and nearby areas have stopped production as some of the textile manufacturers are not paying the revised wages.

Strike
Nearly two lakh power looms in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts were on strike from February 21 for 34 days as the owners of the job-working power loom units demanded hike in wages from the textile manufacturers. Labour Department officials held talks with the unit owners and the textile manufacturers and recommended 30 per cent increase in wages for job-working units that weave the Somanur variety fabric and 27 per cent for others.

Wages
While the textile manufacturers at Somanur, Tirupur and Avinashi have started paying the revised wages, some in Palladam are reluctant to do so. Hence, the power loom unit owners have gone on strike.
read more.
THEHINDU

* CITU flays move on PF payment methodology:

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has opposed the Government’s reported move to change the definition of ‘wages’ for the purpose of provident fund (PF) contribution.

In a letter to Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, CITU President AK Padmanabhan, who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation, said the move to amend the circular of Central Provident Fund Commissioner, dated November 30, 2012, relating to definition of wages would take a heavy toll on eight crore PF subscribers.

“After the circular was issued by the then CPFC RC Mishra, it was put in abeyance. A tripartite working group was formed to “examine various aspects of the circular” which had CBT members representing employers and workers and also higher officials of EPFO. …
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

LW + 2

20140411

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Staying at Home Not a Strike, Factories Say:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) warned garment workers on Thursday that they risk losing their jobs if they extend their Khmer New Year vacation by joining a stay-at-home strike.

Aiming to avoid police suppression of street protests for a higher garment sector minimum wage, the unions are asking workers to stay home for five days after the New Year holiday ends next Wednesday.

But in a newspaper advertisement, GMAC argues that a strike is only a strike if it takes place “within an enterprise or establishment,” citing the Labor Law. The ad also says that arrangements for annual leave can only be made between individual workers and their employers.

“There is no law giving unions or professional organizations the right to decide or request annual leave for individual workers,” the ad says. It warns that workers who stay home after the New Year would be legally exposed to punitive measures.

“Although some workers will not work to demand something from the employers, this action cannot be considered a strike, since they do not come to work and stay at the factory complex,” it says. “Not coming to work is considered an absence, for which they can face punishment or fines in accordance with the laws and rules on labor and the internal regulations of the company.”

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Unions of Movement of Workers, one of the unions planning the strike, said every garment worker should be able to make up his or her mind about whether to join.

He argued that the unions have every legal right to act on their members’ behalf and that it was the workers themselves who had asked unions to help.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Workers demonstrate in CEPZ for timely increment:

Hundreds of workers of ATS Pearl Ltd, a garment factory employing around 1,700 workers in Chittagong Export Processing Zone, agitated for yearly increment on the factory premises yesterday.

Some of the workers were supposed to get increments with their previous salaries given to them on Wednesday, but no increment was given, which fuelled the demonstration, workers said.
The workers vandalised factory windows and chanted slogans demanding the increment in due time, said Sub Inspector Alamgir Hossain of EPZ Police.
Later, the factory authorities assured the workers of meeting their demands by April 25, said SM Abdur Rashid, general manager of CEPZ.
to read. & read more.
daily star bd  BANGLA NEWS24

LW + 2

20140410

20:26:30 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Workers hit gov’t think-tank’s pitch for wage cuts:

Workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) picketed the office of a government-linked think-tank in Makati City this morning to condemn its statement that the minimum wage prevents Filipinos from being employed and therefore contributes to poverty.

The labor group said the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) incorrectly blames the minimum wage for worsening unemployment and poverty and provides big capitalists with an excuse to cut workers’ wages.

After the PIDS made the statement at its “Jobs Expansion and Development Initiative” forum last Thursday, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines immediately proposed that workers be given the option to receive wages lower than the minimum.

“We are revolted by the PIDS’s attack on the minimum wage. The minimum wage in the country is already at poverty and starvation levels and cannot be blamed for unemployment and poverty. It should be increased, not cut,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Unions drum up strike support:

20140410 PPP union-leaflet
Union members head out information leaflets about scheduled workers strikes in front of the Canadia Industrial Park on Veng Sreng Boulevard yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo by Heng Chivoan.

At the site where security forces shot dead at least four people during a nationwide strike on January 3, union leaders yesterday passed out fliers encouraging workers to join a stay-at-home strike after Khmer New Year.

When workers filed out of Canadia Industrial Park’s gates for their 11am lunch break, Seam Sambath, president of the Workers Friendship Union Federation, made his case to passing garment workers – action similar to that which resulted in a unionist being detained in Svay Rieng province on Sunday.

“We must work together in order to help workers earn higher wages and enjoy better living conditions,” he said.

Authorities did not interfere with the group, from at least three unions, as it handed out fliers about the strike, scheduled for April 17 to April 22, to workers at several factories along Veng Sreng Boulevard.

The 18 unions that signed the flier demand the Ministry of Labour raise the $100 minimum monthly garment wage to $160 and drop charges against 23 people arrested during demonstrations on January 2 and 3.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia say the Labour Ministry already set the 2014 minimum wage, and that cases against the 23 defendants – 21 of whom are still detained – are a court matter.
read more.
PPP new

* Unions Spread Word of Strike Through Radio, Web:

With new garment factory strikes only one week away, union activists are using new means to spread the strike call, trying to duck harassment from factories and arrest by police.

Union leaders say members have been fired for handing out leaflets promoting the April 17 to 22 stay-at-home strike. They say police have detained others or confiscated their supplies. While those detained were soon released, police and government officials continue to warn of arrest if pamphleting continues.

Undeterred, the eight unions planning the strike for higher wages are turning to radio and social media to thwart the threats.
(…)

The unions’ main demands, outlined in their leaflets, include a boost to the garment sector’s minimum wage from $100 a month to $160, and the immediate release of 21 men still in jail after a wave of arrests during the last strikes, in early January. Those strikes came to a violent and abrupt end after military police shot into a crowd of protesters on January 3, killing five and injuring dozens more.

Despite their turn to the airwaves and Internet, the unions aren’t giving up on old-fashioned fliers.
Mr. Thorn said the eight union groups have printed about 100,000 fliers in all and still have roughly 20,000 left to hand out.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodian opposition-aligned trade unions call for strike after Lunar New Year:

20140409 XINHUAnet
Union activists hand out flyers to garment workers in front of the Canadia Industrial Park on the outskirts of capital Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 9, 2014. Representatives of 18 opposition-aligned trade unions and associations on Wednesday called a weeklong strike scheduled for April 17-22. (Xinhua/Phearum)

Representatives of 18 opposition-aligned trade unions and associations on Wednesday called a weeklong strike scheduled for April 17-22.

Dozens of union activists handed out leaflets to workers in front of the Canadia Industrial Park on the outskirts of the capital on Wednesday during a lunch break.

According to the leaflets, the strike organizers demanded a 160 U.S. dollars minimum wage for garment workers and the release of 21 detainees who were arrested in early January during violent protests.

Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, spoke to reporters that the 18 unions and associations were urging workers to go on strike following Lunar New Year holidays from April 14 to 16.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said the opposition-aligned trade unions represented over 100,000 out of 600,000 workers in about 900 garment and shoe factories in the kingdom.

A 23-year-old garment worker at the Canadia Industrial Park said he might not join the strike for fear of job loss.
“Of course, we want higher wage, but job stability is more important,” said Nuch. “If I have no job, I have no money to support my family.”
Current monthly minimum wage for garment workers is 100 U.S. dollars, up from 80 U.S. dollars last year.
read more. & to read.
XINHUAnet CHINAORG

* BetterFactories Media Updates 10 April 2014, Unions spread word of strike through radio, web:

* to read in the printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:

2014-04-10 Unions drum up strike support

* to read in the printed edition The Cambodia Daily:

2014-04-10 Unions spread word of strike through radio, web

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

map of asia ASIA

* Priorities of Asia Floor Wage Alliance:

Asia Floor Wage Alliance has been working steadily to

* increase its credibility with governments & international institutions,
* develop strategies to take AFW to new levels of power…!
*
act in solidarity with garment workers’ struggles across Asia

AFW featured by Governments of Bangladesh & The Netherlands!
The governments of Bangladesh and the Netherlands organized an event on living wages during the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York on March 10th entitled “Decent Work for Women: the Case for Living Wages”.  AFWA was invited by the governments to present on AFW as a form of living wage.  The panel was multi-stakeholder with unions, businesses, governments and civil society organizations.

* Bangladesh trade unions have launched a Pay Up! Campaign calling on all clothing brands who source from Bangladesh to immediately pay into the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, which is collecting donations on behalf of the Rana Plaza Arrangement.  US$40 million is required to compensate those injured and the families of those killed for loss of income and medical expenses.

* Your actions have contributed to more Brands paying into the Fund but we still have ways to go. So keep your pressure up!  April 3rd was the Day of Action against Benetton who has not paid up at all!

* Jobs with Justice in the USA is organising a national week of April 21-24 leading up to the Anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy.  JWJ is targeting Walmart’s anti-labour practices within the USA and across its global supply chain; and is pushing Walmart to contribute $17 million into the compensation fund

National People’s Tribunal continue across Asia….. Indonesia is next!
June 21-24 are the dates for the next NPT to be held in Indonesia on Minimum Wages and Decent Working Conditions for Garment Workers as a Fundamental Right.
read more.
ASWA

SOUTH AFRICA

* SACTWU Bargaining Conference 2014 declaration: SACTWU also has a good story to tell!  :

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) held its Annual National Bargaining Conference from 6 to 9 March 2014, in Durban.

We met under our union’s national theme for the next three years, as adopted by our 12th National Congress held in Augustlast year: “Unity, Cohesion & Radical Transformation for Sustainable Growth & Decent Work”

The Conference was attended by 430 delegates and unionofficials – double the amount of delegates in previous years.This followed our 12th National Congress decision to broaden worker participation and shopfloor democracy by expandingthe Conference to involve more worker leaders and workplaces in our collective bargaining processes.
Delegates were 400 shop stewards representing 99000 SACTWU members in the clothing, textile, leather, distribution and related sectors in all parts of South Africa.

Over the last month and a half, SACTWU has collected approximately 18 000 living wage demands from its members in just over 1 610 workplaces nationally.
These demands were reconciled provincially, and were collected in metro area-based workplaces as well as workplaces in non-metro areas.Our 2014 Bargaining Conference has now consolidated these living wage demands into more coherent national sectoraldemands, to be backed up by an aggressive national programme of action.

We demand a living wage!
The Conference noted that SACTWU will this year negotiatein 3 national bargaining councils (clothing, textiles and leather), 2 provincial bargaining councils (canvass goods in Gauteng and laundry in KwaZulu-Natal), 8 company group level negotiations (including Service Products/Sheltered Employment) and in just over 100 plant level wage bargains.The outcomes of our negotiations will affect over 100 000clothing, textile, leather, footwear, distribution and relatedworkers.

The main purpose of the Conference was to consolidatenationally the union’s workplace-collected living wage demands for the 2014 round of substantive negotiations. The Conference successfully completed this task and re-affirmedour determination:

  • to step up the fight for a living wage
  • to smash the reactionary attacks on the union’s bargaining structures, such as bargaining councils and the extension of our industry-wide collective agreements
  • to strengthen centralised bargaining
  • to stamp out the scourge of non-compliance with bargaining council agreements and labour laws in our industry
  • to strengthen our fight against the scourge of HIV/AIDS
  • to step up our campaign against illegal imports and customs fraud
  • to strengthen the Buy Local and Proudly South African campaigns with a special focus on ensuring compliance by provincial governments and municipalities with government’s directive that all clothing, textile, footwear and leather goods purchased are made in South Africa
  • to concretise our solidarity support for other COSATU affiliates’ living wage, recruitment and organising campaigns
  • to unite COSATU and ensure the federation takes up an aggressive fight for decent work and a living wage for all workers
  • to crush  bogus cooperatives, set up to deliberately circumvent the provisions of our labour laws, including by using the new Cooperatives Amendment Act to ensure bogus co-operatives are exposed and workers’status as employees with worker rights are restored
  • to strengthen capacity building amongst our newly elected and re-elected shop stewards, to help with better service delivery for our members
  • to campaign and work tirelessly for a resounding victory by the ANC in the 2014 National Elections, as the best party to advance worker rights and interests in the upcoming general elections
  • to use the appropriate structures to address the introduction of the Employee Tax Incentive (ETI) Act without proper consultation and agreement at Nedlac
  • to monitor the implementation of the ETI Act to ensure employers who abuse it by firing older workers or employing ineligible workers are reported and fined

read more.
SACTWU

LW + 2

20140409

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Costs don’t top brands’ concerns:

20140409 PPP Garment-Strike-wageGarment workers rally for a $160 minimum wage in Phnom Penh in December. Photo by Vireak Mai.

In their latest bid for a $160 minimum monthly wage for the garment industry, independent unions will lead a “stay at home” strike late next week.

While the chances of that figure being approved anytime soon seem slight – the government has only just announced a date for a committee to begin wage reform talks – industry and government officials have warned that another raise could drive factories and international brands out of Cambodia in search of cheaper markets.

According to International Labour Organization figures released early this year, Cambodia paid the fifth-lowest minimum wage of the world’s top 25 apparel-exporting countries and Myanmar. Only Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar paid less than the Kingdom’s $100 per month.

The idea that buyers would commit to paying more to facilitate higher wages for workers in the industry seems unlikely to Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC). Apparel firms that buy from Cambodia are only willing to pay so much before pulling out in favour of cheaper countries, he said.
“If the price that we’re costing buyers increases . . . then buyers will leave. It’s not a question of them wanting to leave, it’s a question of economics,” Loo said, adding a rising the minimum wage had already driven some brands out of the country – though he did not name any when asked.

In a speech on February 25, Prime Minister Hun Sen echoed the sentiment, sounding the alarm that factories and buyers could leave the country if the government implemented a wage hike.
“We are waiting to see if there are any factories that close their doors because of strikes demanding higher wages,” he said.

But analysts, rights groups and buyers themselves say government repression and acts of violence against unionists in the Kingdom’s garment sector – security forces shot dead at least four people in January – are a greater threat than the prospect of paying higher wages.
read more.
PPP new

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* “Is Rs 175 a day enough to feed a labourer’s family?”, asks Karnataka HC:

Not satisfied with the explanations with regards to fixation of minimum wage for workers engaged in coffee and tea estates in the state, the Karnataka high court has directed the a senior official of the labour department to give details as to how the said figure was arrived at.

 

“How can a family comprising children and elderly can survive with that amount ?” Justice Rammohan Reddy asked.

The Judge also asked the authorities to furnish the educational qualifications of those in the committee that fixed the said amount as minimum wage.

“The fixation of minimum wage at the rate of Rs 175/- per day for labourer engaged in Cinchona, tea, rubber and coffee estate in the State of Karnataka is said to be based upon a report of one V Shanthappa.
The criteria mentioned therein is said to be the basis and foundation for calculating the minimum wage.
In order to ascertain as to whether or not the relevant criteria is considered along with realities of every day s life, regard being had to dearness allowance and other relevant factors, T. Srinivasa, the joint labour commissioner, is directed to file an affidavit with relevant material particulars over the fixation of minimum daily wage which shall also contain material particulars about the educational qualification of each and every member who constitute the committee for the purpose of fixing the minimum wage” the Judge has said in his order.

The association of coffee planters has challenged the said fixation claiming that it is not in accordance with the norms and methodology .
read more.
TOInew

* Weavers fear exodus of migrant workers due to ongoing strike:

With more than 4,000 weaving units in the city still closed due to ongoing agitation over wage hike, the powerloom industry fears exodus of the migrant workers to their hometowns in large numbers.

 

There are about six lakh powerloom machines in the weaving sector, employing about seven lakh migrant workers from Odisha, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. A majority four lakh are from Bihar and Odisha. The weaving sector that manufactures about 3 crore metres of grey fabric per day has been badly affected following the workers’ agitation.

Industry sources claimed that the migrant labourers have a history of not indulging in the agitation and strikes. This is the second time that the weaving sector is facing the closure due to the wage hike issue after the agitation in 2011.
read more.
TOInew

LW + 2

20140408

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Unions press ahead with strike plans despite arrest threats:

2014-04-08 CD Unions-press-ahead-with-strike-plans-despite-arrest-threats

* BetterFactories Media Updates 5-8 April 2014, Linking the worst factories with the labels:

* to read in the printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:

2014-04-07 Date set for wage reform talks
2014-04-07 Leaflets get unionist in hot water

2014-04-08 Union activist freed, but cops keep fliers

* to read in the printed edition The Cambodia Daily:
2014-04-08 Unions press ahead with strike plans despite arrest threats
2014-04-08 World Bank predicts slight slowdown in 2014

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Trisula International to Acquire Mido Uniform for Rp 23 Billion:

Worker holds part of a pair of trousers at PT Trisula Garmindo Manufacturing in Bandung

Trisula International, an Indonesian garment manufacturer and clothing retailer, aims to take control of Mido Uniform, a Singapore-based firm, in the second quarter of this year in order to boost sales.

Lisa Tjahjadi, president director at Trisula International, said the acquisition was valued at Rp 22.9 billion ($2 million).
“We plan to own 85 percent of Mido,” she said during a shareholders’ meeting in Jakarta on Monday.
The acquisition is expected to boost sales growth at Trisula by 6 percent, the company said in a press statement.

Mido supplies uniforms to various companies including Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Singapore Airlines ground crew. Both Trisula and Mido are units of Trisula Corporation, a Jakarta-based textiles group.Trisula eked out a 6.3 percent gain in net income to Rp 32.1 billion last year, as it booked a 20 percent growth in sales.
Net sales at Trisula rose to Rp 670 billion last year, compared with Rp 558 billion the year before.

Analysts said that the 44 percent increase in the minimum wage in Jakarta — to Rp 2.2 million a month — has affected margins at many Indonesian retailers.
“The 44 percent increase was the biggest strain on our performance — the reason why our net income growth last year was smaller than our sales growth,” Lisa said.
read more.
jak-globe

17:56:30 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Lankan unions propose national minimum wage for private sector :

Sri Lanka’s trade unions are proposing a national minimum wage for private sector employees and to implement an unemployment benefit insurance scheme as well as a pension scheme for Employees Provident Fund members and a social security scheme for the informal sector.

They have also proposed to set up a national wages commission for the private sector.
These were the major suggestions included in a 9-point proposal submitted jointly by four leading trade unions to the National Pay Commission appointed by the President to assist the government in formulating National Wage Policy.

In computing the private sector minimum wage the basis should be the present public sector minimum wage amounting to Rs. 21,876 inclusive of allowances for increases in cost of living and inflation, trade unions pointed out.
read more.
STM-long

 17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Call to increase wages, pension:

Meeting arranged by the Peoples Labour Federation of Pakistan has demanded increase in the wages and pensions of labour in the national budget and condemned the unlawful firing of government employees from various departments.

This was said in a meeting of the Peoples Labour Federation of Pakistan and representatives of the government employees’ trade unions at the Federation’s office in Munshi Chamber, Old Anarkali, on Monday.

In the meeting chaired by Federation General Secretary Khalid Bokhari, labour policies and measures of PM Nawaz Sharif’s government were criticised for discrediting the country’s workforce. It was also decided by trade union leaders to launch a nationwide movement demanding the increase of wages, pensions and against unfair hiring and firing policies of government departments.
read more.
thenewspk

LW + 2

20140405-07

19:26:30 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Striking Burmese Workers at Mae Sot Factory Win Concessions:

Protesting Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot, Thailand, returned to work on Friday at the Yuan Jiao Garment factory after successful negotiations produced a resolution to the labor dispute there on Thursday.

More than 500 workers had staged a more than weeklong strike, demanding a wage increase and other labor rights and benefits, including more time off and a sick leave allowance.

Following protests that began on March 25, the employer warned striking workers to pack their belongings if they did not drop their demands and return to work, saying they would have until April 3 to comply.

But after negotiations between 17 employees’ representatives, factory management and Thai labor protection officials on Thursday afternoon, the bulk of the workers’ demands were met, said Zin Mar Thet, a labor activist of the Mae Sot-based Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association.

Zin Mar Thet said that the striking workers came up short only on the wage issue. Pay will be raised, but not to the level demanded.

“The increased wages are only 15, 17 and 20 baht per day [depending on an employee’s tenure at the company] to their current wage, which is about 175 baht per day,” she explained.

The owner agreed to give the workers Sundays off, and will allow them to take a maximum of 30 days sick leave annually. Overtime pay, which was previously calculated as 10 percent of workers’ daily salary per hour of additional work, will rise to 12.5 percent, Zin Mar Thet said.
read more.
IRRAWADDY

* Burmese Workers in Mae Sot ‘Paid Only Half of Thai Minimum Wage’:

Hundreds of Burmese workers at a garment factory in Mae Sot on the Thai border with Burma have been on strike to try to win the minimum legal wage, said human rights NGOs.

The migrant workers, at a Thai-owned factory producing upmarket “Jack Wolfskin” German brand clothes, are in some cases receiving only half the minimum Thai daily wage of 300 baht (US$9).

Workers identity documents are held by the company, Yuan Jun Garment Limited, 14-hour working days are enforced and compulsory deductions made from wages, said noted activist Andy Hall in an email to The Irrawaddy on behalf of Burmese and Thai NGOs.
read more in Irrawaddy Business Roundup (last item).
IRRAWADDY

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Date set for wage-reform talks:

20140407 PPP wokers-demand-wage
Garment workers march towards the Ministry of Labour during a demonstration last year to demand the industry’s minimum wage be raised to $160. Photo byVireak Mai.

The first phase of promised minimum wage reform is set to begin later this month, when representatives of workers, employers and the government will hash out ideas on how to set a base salary for the garment sector, in a move meant to avert labour unrest like the kind that rattled the country in January.

In an announcement released on Friday, the Ministry of Labour invited members of its Labour Advisory Committee, union representatives and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) to participate in initial talks scheduled for April 24 and 25.

“In essence, this discussion isn’t something about the figure of the minimum wage, but rather focusing on the principles to be used to set the minimum wage,” said Tun Sophorn, national project director for the International Labour Organization (ILO), which the government commissioned as technical advisers.

Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng enlisted the ILO’s help to put in place a minimum wage-setting mechanism after a nationwide garment worker strike erupted following a ministry decision to raise the figure for the garment sector from $80 (including a $5 health bonus) to $100, rather than the $160 unions demanded.
read more.
PPP new

* Labor Ministry, ILO Set Out Plan for Minimum Wage Reforms:

Facing public pressure from major garment brands and labor unions, the Ministry of Labor and the International Labor Organization (ILO) will cooperate in the coming months to reform the current system of setting the minimum wage in the garment sector.

The reform process will begin with a public seminar planned for April 24 and 25, which will mark the first tripartite meeting between the government, factory owners and union leaders since labor protests were violently suppressed in early January, according to ILO national coordinator Tun Sophorn.

“The aim of the meeting on the 24th and 25th is to have a discussion by all parties on the principles to set the minimum wage, rather than the figure. The purpose is for [the three parties] to set what formula will be used in minimum wage setting or minimum wage adjusting,” Mr. Sophorn said.
The Ministry of Labor released a statement Sunday announcing the seminar and inviting public involvement.
“The seminar will show the risk of setting the lowest minimum wage or the highest and evaluate limits to the minimum wage,” the statement says.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Union leader: Workers to hold protest after New Year:

Labor union leader expressed pleasure and welcomed the study of minimum wage for footwear and garment factory workers. However, he said that the workers will hold protest after the New Year.

Pav Sina, President of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, expressed satisfaction after Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training announced to work with International Labor Organization (ILO) to study the minimum wage for workers.

However, Sina was also unhappy because the ministry would take a lot of time to study and discuss the wage.
read more.
CAMHERALD

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* 60,000 Contract Workers Yet To Receive Minimum Wage – MTUC:

More than 60,000 contract workers in schools nationwide have yet to receive minimum wages, said Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president, Mohd Khalid Atan.

These workers, who included cleaners, gardeners, security guards and traffic wardens, were still being paid old wages averaging between RM400 and RM600 per month, he told Bernama here Friday.

He urged the Education Ministry to look into their plight urgently as they were facing great hardship due to the increasing cost of living.

The minimum wages policy of RM900 per month for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 per month for Sabah and Sarawak came into effect on Jan 1 2013, but was only fully implemented in January this year.
read more.
BERNAMA

* Enforce minimum wage law, Education Ministry urged:

The Education Ministry must be responsible for third-party contract workers in schools not earning the minimum RM900 wage monthly, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said yesterday.

MTUC president Khalid Atan, who raised the matter recently, said at least 60,000 workers, mainly locals hired as guards, cleaners and gardeners, in schools had been affected since the policy was implemented last year.

Khalid said the workers only received between RM400 and RM600, which was not enough for them to pull through the month.

“Although the ministry does not directly employ the workers, it gives the authorisation to the third party to hire these workers. Therefore, something should be done to ensure they are not cheated,” he said.
read more.
MALAYonLINE

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* 1200 sub-contracting RMG units yet to implement new wages:

The country’s 1,200 sub-contracting readymade garment (RMG) factories are yet to implement the new wage board even after more than four months of its announcement, which could spark violence in apparel industrial hubs, officials said.

The state-run Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment (DIFE) said nearly 99 per cent of the sub-contracting factories did not implement the new wages announced by a government-formed wage board in November last year.

The DIFE officials said implementation of the new minimum wage in sub-contracting garment factories located in Dhaka and Chittagong is very low— less then 1.0 per cent.

According to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), more then 1200 garment factories do subcontract jobs employing nearly 0.7 million workers.

“Almost all of sub-contracting RMG factories are yet to implement the new wage structure for workers,” DIFE Inspector General (IG) Syed Ahmad told the FE.
read more.
FE bd

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Proposal to combine allowances with basic pay rejected; trade unions to
approach Election Commission:

Trade unions will approach the Election Commission against the government decision to reject the proposal to club allowances with basic pay for PF deductions.In a letter last week, the Labour Ministry has asked the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) not to go ahead with clubbing wages with basic pay.

The EPFO will soon issue a notification in this regard. “We will definitely protest against this anti-worker move. We will soon write about this to the Election Commission as well as the Labour Ministry,” All-India Trade Union Congress D L Sachdev told PTI.

“The government cannot do this as model code of conduct is in force. Splitting of wages has been a problem for a long time. Employers split wages into allowances to reduce their PF liability,” Sachdev, who is also an EPFO trustee, said.
read more.
et

GLOBAL

* Hard-hitting CCC report names and shames brands for inaction on wages:

The Clean Clothes Campaign this week published a high quality report “Tailored Wages”, looking at the issue of living wages in the international clothing supply chain.

Research compiled over nine months was used to profile 50 leading European brands. The report could not award the “green” grade to any of the brands, meaning no company was found to be doing sufficient work to ensure that those workers making their clothes receive a wage large enough to live in dignity.

The four brands identified as having started innovative work toward making a living wage a reality were Inditex, Marks & Spencer, Switcher and Tchibo.

Download the Tailored Wages report in full here.

Report coordinator Anna McMullen said:
“A colour-coded assessment was developed to show the progress of each company towards a living wage. This assessment takes into account a variety of work areas which we feel are significant for achievement of the living wage goal: worker empowerment, commitment and practice, collaborative approach and strategy towards a living wage.”

The CCC says:
“In a handful of cases we were pleased to notice some interesting work initiated by brands that was actually increasing real wages in workers’ pockets.

However, overall, we were disappointed that progress is really still only at the trial stage, and work that is actually putting wages up is still rare. There are very few retailers who have tried to truly ingrain throughout their business work towards a living wage.”
read more.
Home

LW + 2

20140404

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Human Resources Ministry Wants Public Feedback On Minimum Wage – Riot:

Employers, workers and the public have been urged to provide feedback about the implementation of minimum wage before July.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem said this was neccessary so that he could bring up the suggestions at the National Wage Council meeting in July.

“I am asking the public including the employers and workers to come back to us with suggestions on how we can improve the minimum wage,” he said after launching ‘HR Risk Management Solution’, here today.

“Hopefully with this, we can ensure that the minimum wage can be fully implemented, and it must be a win-win situation.” he added.
read more.
BERNAMA

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Minimum Wage Increases, Labor Productivity Remains Low:

Hariyadi Sukamdani, Deputy Chief for Public, Fiscal, and Monetary Policies at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said that the minimum wage for laborers in Indonesia is too high and not equitable with laborers’ productivity.

“Compared to other countries in Asia, our minimum wage is higher but the productivity is lower,” he said on Thursday, April 3, 2014.

Based on sample data gathered by USAid and Bappenas in the shoe manufacturing industry, which considered to absorb a large number of workers and has export potentials, an Indonesian worker can only produce an average of 0.8 pair of shoes a day. On the other hand, the amount of minimum wage in 2013 had increased to US$242 per month from US$176 per month in 2012.

Meanwhile in Vietnam, with a minimum wage of US$140 per month, a worker can make a pair of shoes each day. In China, with a minimum wage of US$235 per month, a worker can finish 1.1 pair of shoes per day.
read more.
tempo-eng

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* More powerloom workers on warpath for wage hike:

Production of unfinished fabrics in the country’s biggest man-made fabric (MMF) industry here may get hit as textile workers and powerloom weavers are on a collision course over the former’s demand for a wage hike.

 

More than 1,200 weaving units housing around 12,000 powerloom machines have come to a grinding halt in Pandesara as the textile workers have struck work for wage hike for the past two days.
Industry sources said there is a severe shortage of workers in the weaving units as more than 40 per cent of migrant workers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha are yet to return from their Holi vacation.
The present workforce is made to work for extra hours without any wage hike. Two weeks ago, textile workers in Bhestan and Unn had struck work in more than 1,500 weaving units. After a week-long strike, the weavers accepted their demands by increasing the wages by around 25 paise per metre.

There are around 6.5 lakh powerloom machines installed in areas like Pandesara, Udhna, Limbayat, Sachin, Ved Road, Katargam and Varachha. The daily production of unfinished fabric is around 3 crore metre.
read more.
TOInew

 

LW + 2

20140403

19:26:30 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Mae Sot migrants demand labour rights:

Nearly a thousand Burmese migrant workers staged a rally outside their garment factory in northern Thailand, calling for improved labour rights.

Workers at the Thai-owned Yuan Jiou Garment Co Ltd in Thailand’s border town Mae Sot are striking over unpaid wages and long working hours.
A factory worker told DVB they are punished for not keeping up with demands.

“We have to work from 8 am until 10 o’clock at night and make 120 garments. If we cannot make them we are all scolded. If we can make 120 garments, they ask for 140 garments the next day,” he said.

The minimum wage in Thailand is 300 baht (US$9) per day. However the migrant workers said they are not receiving that amount, and are forced to lie during inspections of the factory.
read & see more (video report).
dvb

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Battle for lashes:

The price of Western beauty may be too high for the 100,000 workers who toil in central Java’s lucrative false-eyelash industry

Flashbulbs fire. The audience rises as one. The model departs to an ovation. But behind every eyelash flutter in the fashion industry and beyond lie the untold stories of invisible low-paid workers.

In Purbalingga, central Java, numerous small workshops represent the first step in a global supply chain.
Almost all workers are women, all of them scraping a living by measuring and cutting artificial hair to the requisite size for false eyelashes, and then knitting them onto a thin plastic thread.
The job requires intense concentration, often leaving workers with sore eyes and backs. Their financial remuneration for such monotonous work is about $0.04 per pair, sometimes lower. By the time the product reaches Western consumers, the price they pay has often reached $10 a pair – a mark-up of 2,400%.

According to the Guardian, factories in Purbalingga supply some of the world’s biggest beauty and cosmetic brands, including L’Oréal, Mac and Maybelline.

Indonesian eyelash exports were estimated to be worth $210m in 2012, with Purbalingga very much the operational hub. The town has a population of about 850,000 people, but is home to almost 20 major factories, with about 100,000 locals employed in the industry, a third of them reportedly being paid far less than the local minimum wage of $73 a month.
read more.
SEA GLOBE

LW + 2

20140402

20:26:30 local time map of china CHINA

* Seven regions raise minimum wage standards:

Seven regions across China have raised their minimum wage standards so far this year, with Shanghai’s standard leading the nation, according to statistics from local governments.

The regions are Chongqing, Shaanxi, Shandong, Beijing, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Shanghai.
With a minimum monthly payment requirement of 1,820 yuan ($290) and a minimum hourly rate of 17 yuan, Shanghai topped the nation.
Shenzhen followed closely, with a minimum monthly payment requirement of 1,808 yuan and minimum hourly pay of 16.5 yuan.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, in 2013, 27 regions across China raised their minimum wage standards, with an average increase of 17 percent.
read more. & to read.
ECNS.CN CHINADAILY

* Three major cities in China raise the minimum wage:

Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin today all announced an increase in the minimum wage for employees in those cities. Shanghai raised its monthly minimum wage rate to 1,820 yuan and the hourly rate to 17 yuan, making them the highest rates in China.

Shenzhen, which normally has the highest rates, had already increased its minimum wage on 1 February to 1,808 yuan per month and 16.50 yuan per hour.

The rates in Beijing and Tianjin are in the higher to mid-range in China, standing at 1,560 yuan per month and 1,680 per month respectively. At least seven regions have increased their minimum wage so far this year, starting with Chongqing which raised its rate to 1,250 yuan per month on 1 January 2014.
read more.
CHINA LABOR Bulletin

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Ministry reiterates holiday pay:

The Ministry of Labour has announced that factory managers must allow employees three days off for Khmer New Year, even as some union leaders encourage workers to extend that time.

In a letter to factory owners dated March 25, Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng reminds owners that workers have the legal right to paid time off from April 14 until April 16.

“The ministry wants to mention that in cases where factories cannot stop work for the holiday, owners and managers must find employees who volunteer to work,” Sam Heng’s letter, obtained yesterday, reads. “Those who work are entitled to receive [double-time].”

Tomorrow, the leaders of eight unions will send a letter to the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) asking them to communicate to factory owners that union members request annual leave for April 17 to April 23, said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW). This would ensure workers receive pay while taking part in a stay-at-home strike.

Workers’ demand for a minimum monthly wage of $160 and for the court to drop charges against 23 defendants – 21 of whom are still detained in prison – arrested at January strike demonstrations have slowed since a boycott of overtime work in February, Sina said. But enthusiasm for the strike is high.
read more.
PPP new

LW + 2

20140401

19:26:30 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Salaries expected to rise 6% in 2014:

Overall salaries in Thailand are projected to increase by 6% this year, compared with 5.4% in 2013, driven mainly by the higher cost of living, says global professional services company Towers Watson.

According to its latest survey, factors taken into account by companies for salary changes include economic stability, domestic supply of talent and the unemployment rate.

Conducted from January to March, the survey covered 93 companies from the automotive, financial services, insurance, manufacturing, electronics, high-technology and chemical industries.
read more.
bangkokpostBusiness

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Workers Hold Machines Ransom Over Wages:

More than 20 workers in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district are holding a small garment factory’s sewing machines as ransom over unpaid wages, said a district official.

The workers decided to disrupt production at the Korean-owned S-One factory in Choam Chao commune on Sunday after the owner failed to pay their wages on time, said deputy district governor Khem Sun Soda.

In an effort to resolve the situation, factory owner Byun Yong Jig agreed to pay back half of last month’s salary on April 10 and the other half the following month, Mr. Soda said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodia’s garment workers fight poor working conditions:

Garment strikes hit Cambodia in record numbers in 2013, with disgruntled workers taking their calls for an increase in wages to the streets. This year, the protests have been even bigger and demands met with deadly force.

Seventeen-year-old Yon Chea had been working at a garment factory on the outskirts of the capital, Phnom Penh, for a little more than a year when government forces found him at the scene of a protest.

‘I heard fighting outside so I went down with my camera phone to see what was going on and take pictures,’ he said. ‘[But] when I was there military police surrounded me. They did not speak, they just charged at me.’
(…)
Dave Welsh, country director for labour rights group Solidarity Center, said January’s crackdown is just one example of the government’s ‘blanket assault’ on trade unions and workers. ‘It’s hard to imagine anything further from freedom of association than what we have here at the moment,’ he said.
(…)
‘It just shows how profitable conditions have been for manufacturers and buyers but not for workers,’ said Joel Preston, a consultant with the Community Legal Education Centre.
‘There is a huge amount of money to be made but none of it is making its way into the workers’ pockets.’

Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, agreed: ‘Cambodia has more, so the workers should have more.’
read more.
NEWINT

LW + 2

20140331

GLOBAL

* Tailored Wages – new report investigates clothing brands work on living wages:

20140331 CCC tailored wages

Survey of 50 leading clothing brands show they must do much more to ensure garment workers receive a wage they can live on.

Today, Clean Clothes Campaign have launched ‘Tailored Wages’ an in depth study of what the leading 50 clothing brands across Europe are doing to ensure that the workers who produce the clothes they sell are paid a living wage.

Based on a multi brand survey “Tailored Wages” found that whilst half of those surveyed included wording in their codes of conduct saying that wages should be enough to meet workers’ basic needs; only four brands – Inditex, Marks & Spencers, Switcher and Tchibo – were able to show any clear steps towards implementing this – and even they have a long way to go before a living wage becomes a reality for the garment workers that produce for them.

More action and less talk
“Although a living wage is a human right, shockingly none of Europe’s leading 50 companies is yet paying a living wage,” said Anna McMullen, the lead author on the report. “The research showed that while more brands are aware of the living wage and recognise that it is something to be included in their codes of conduct and in CSR brochures, disappointingly for most of the brands surveyed this was as far as they went. With millions of women and men worldwide dependent on the garment industry it is vital that these words are turned into definitive actions sooner rather than later.”

The survey did find some interesting work being carried out by some brands to increase the amount paid to workers. Swiss company Switcher has set up a fund to pay an additional 1% on top of the price paid to the factory, which will go directly to the workers. Whilst other companies such as Spanish retail giant Inditex is looking at ensuring better conditions by forming agreements with global union IndustriALL. However as Ms. McMullen adds “whilst this is all innovative work it remains in the pilot stage and workers can wait no longer.”

Struggle for living wages reaching critical point
read more.
Site

20:26:30 local time map of china CHINA

* City’s minimum wage up by 200 yuan:

The minimum wage of workers in Shanghai will be raised to 1,820 yuan (US$293) per month starting next month, up 200 yuan from last year.

The increase is 30 yuan more compared with last year’s increase of 170 yuan. Meanwhile, the minimum wage per hour will be hiked to 17 yuan from 14 yuan. Officials said the adjustment was made based on many factors such as residents’ living expenditures, consumer price index, average salary and economic development.
It also took companies’ business status and capacity into consideration. Shanghai’s minimum wage is the highest in China’s mainland.
to read.
SHANGHAIDAILY

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Brands ‘failing their workers’ :

20140331 PPP Garment-Protest
A garment worker yells slogans while holding a placard during protests in Phnom Penh’s Russian Boulevard in January calling for a $160 minimum wage.
Photo by Vireak Mai.

European mega-brands are not doing enough to ensure that the Cambodian workers who make their products receive a basic living wage, according to a report released today.

Tailored Wages, an analysis of 50 of Europe’s biggest clothing brands, found that many major high-street chains are doing little to combat the meagre wages of Cambodian garment workers.

The report was produced by the Clean Clothes Campaign, an alliance of organisations in 16 European countries, in cooperation with the Asia Floor Wage, an alliance of trade unions and labour rights activists.

“A living wage is a human right. Yet the scandalous truth is that the majority of workers in the global fashion industry cannot afford to live with dignity,” the report says.

Calls for a monthly minimum wage of $160 reached a breaking point in January when security forces cracked down on protesters, killing at least four and detaining 23. Twenty-one remain in prison.

According to the report, as per United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, “in cases where the state fails to protect human rights – such as when the legal minimum wage fails to meet the minimum subsistence level (living wage) – business still has an obligation to respect the human right to a living wage”.

The monthly minimum wage of garment workers across Cambodia stands at just $100.
read more.
PPP new

LW + 2

20140329-30

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Implement minimum wage or face court action: Ismail:

Employers who failed to implement the minimum wage despite repeated warnings, risk a five-year jail sentence, a RM20000 fine, or both.

Deputy Minister of Human Resources Datuk Ismail Abd Muttalib said an employer could be fined RM10,000 for the first offence and RM1,000 daily for the second offence for each employee.

“Those who are stubborn and refused to implement minimum wage despite warnings and action will be fined RM20,000 or five years jail or both,” he told reporters after presenting multi-purpose cards to more than 100 retirees from the Community Development Department (Kemas) here, today.
read more. & read more.
sunnew MALAYonLINE

17:56:30 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* National minimum wage problematic for certain sectors : EFC:

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC), in a recent submission to Sri Lanka’s National Pay Commission, the country’s apex employer body, has signalled that a “national minimum wage could distort and create problems to certain sectors which need to be separately considered for fixing minimum wages”.

Putting forward its case, the EFC stated; “The issue of the minimum wage is controversial. Many argue that it is too blunt an instrument to be useful and could have detrimental effects on employment, growth and incentives to work, and that it can negatively impact opportunities for lower skilled workers and the youth. Supporters of minimum wages conversely argue that it is an effective instrument in protecting the lower paid and in combatting poverty.
Minimum wages are essentially labour market interventions used by governments, either as an instrument of political macroeconomics or as a social tool. Minimum wages represent the lowest levels of pay, established through a minimum wage fixing system, to be paid to workers by virtue of a contract of employment”.

It also added; “The concept of minimum wage can be broadly distinguished into two categories. First is the adoption of a national minimum wage, which is applicable to all workers across regions and sectors, irrespective of the peculiar capacities of different industries.
On the other hand, minimum wages could also be fixed in relation to different industries, as in the case of Sri Lanka in terms of the Wages Boards Ordinance. In such a situation it is envisaged that minimum wages be fixed taking into account the nature of the industry and its peculiarities”.
read more.
STM-long

* A national wages policy – how desirable or practical? :

A news report says that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa had directed the new National Pay Commission Secretary to establish a National Wage Policy. The Terms of Reference according to the report are as follows:

*The services of the professionals in management, medicine and science in the public sector should be retained by removing the discrepancies and anomalies faced by them.

* To obtain optimum productivity and efficiency from the government sector professionals, the obstacles faced by them have to be removed and that should be done before the private sector absorbs the services of the said professionals.

* To create a conducive environment for both public and private sector professionals introduce welfare programmes.

* To introduce welfare benefits and suitable salary structures for the employees in the private sector steps should be taken to enhance their career developments.

* To introduce an effective social security system for all private sector employees who are about to end their services.

* To introduce better salary structures for the public sector professionals who have exceptional abilities in various fields on merit basis.

How useful will such an exercise be and how should it be done?
read more.
island

LW + 2

20140328

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Putrajaya urged to add RM300 cost allowance to minimum wage:

A federal lawmaker urged Putrajaya today to tack on RM300 to existing minimum wage in order to bypass employers’ resistance to paying a cost of living allowance (COLA).

Kuala Langat MP Abdullah Sani made the suggestion to include the amount sought for the allowance into the minimum salary of RM900 and RM800 respectively in the peninsular and east Malaysia after the Human Resource Ministry said it could not compel employers to pay the stipend.

“We propose that COLA — which is not in the Act — be inserted into the minimum wage,” the chairman of the parliament’s bipartisan caucus on workers and foreign workers told reporters at the Parliament lobby here.

During Question Time, he also asked if the ministry could include the requested amount in the process of reviewing the implementation of the minimum wage.
read more.
MALAYonLINE

* MTUC Suggests Act To Direct Private Sector To Pay Cola To Workers:

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has suggested that the government form an act that requires the management to pay the cost of living allowance (Cola) to private sector workers.

MTUC deputy president Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid said the act should also provide for legal action to be taken against employers who fail to pay the allowance, either with a fine or jail sentence.

“I call on the ministry to include the Cola in the minimum wage, form an act, make it compulsory and anyone who does not pay be punished with a RM10,000 fine or jail sentence,” he told reporters at the Parliament Lobby here Thursday.
read more.
BERNAMA

LW + 2

20140327

21:26:30 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

* 100x Textile Sector Wage Rises in 6th Month:

Textile and clothing enterprises that dramatically raised the wages of employees in autumn last year have continued to provide the same high level of payment through the second quarter of 2014, Daily NK has confirmed. 

The majority of workers with Pyongyang Potonggang Garment Factory and connected enterprises are satisfied with the current state of affairs, sources add. However, there have also been complaints at the pressure laborers are under, and instances of ill health are on the rise.

A source from the North Korean capital told Daily NK on the 25th, “People working for factories with links to Potonggang Garment Factory started receiving the increased 300,000 won wage since September last year, and continue to do so.”
“People seem to be satisfied,” he went on. “Most of them turn up to work every day and on time.”

However, “After the Upper [the authorities] decreed the salary increases for the textile sector, they ordered workers to arrive at dawn and hiked up individual quotas. They say that employees who fail to meet their target during working hours should stay late until it is met.”

In an outcome reflective of many developing countries that pursue an export strategy, the harsh working hours and environment are leading to ill health among staff, the source revealed. Employees must perform repetitive tasks, mostly while standing, and this leads to joint and muscular difficulties. Exposure to dust created during the textile manufacturing process has also begun to produce high rates of respiratory tract infection.

As workers are supposed to perform their duties even while sick, there have been a number of cases of people attempting to bribe their way into a different enterprise or factory.

“Quite a few workers returned to work in the factory when they heard about the wage increases, but because of the tough work here they are trying to find ways to get out again,” he explained. “The wage rise isn’t enough, as 300,000 won is still less than what the average market trader can make in a month. So, they want to move to other places.”
read more.
DAILY NK

19:26:30 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Mae Sot migrants garment workers demand labour rights:

Nearly a thousand Burmese migrant workers staged a rally outside their garment factory in northern Thailand, calling for improved labour rights.

Workers at the Thai-owned Yuan Jiou Garment Co Ltd in Thailand’s border town Mae Sot are striking over unpaid wages and long working hours.
A factory worker told DVB they are punished for not keeping up with demands.

“We have to work from 8 am until 10 o’clock at night and make 120 garments. If we cannot make them we are all scolded. If we can make 120 garments, they ask for 140 garments the next day,” he said.

The minimum wage in Thailand is 300 baht (US$9) per day. However the migrant workers said they are not receiving that amount, and are forced to lie during inspections of the factory.
“If we tell the truth, we are laid off from work,” another worker at the factory said.
read & see more.
dvb

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Crackdown in Cambodia:

New report calls on brands and retailers to end cycle of inadequate wages and deadly repression.

On January 2 and 3, 2014, Cambodian security forces engaged in deadly attacks on protesting garment workers in the country’s capital, Phnom Penh.The country’s military police killed at least four people and injured at least 38 by firing assault rifles at workers who were protesting outside garment factories, demanding higher wages.
According to the country’s leading human rights organization, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (known by its French acronym, LICADHO), military police fired at workers with live ammunition for a prolonged period with no apparent effort to avoid inflicting injury or death.
Those killed included workers employed at factories supplying a number of major international brands and retailers, including Walmart, Hudson Bay, Sears, Abercrombie and Fitch, Nike, Russell, adidas, Puma, Uniqlo, HanesBrands, Primark, and Marks & Spencer.
The deadly assault was a response to strikes and demonstrations by tens of thousands of garment factory workers calling for a wage adequate to meet their basic needs.The protests were sparked when the Cambodian government announced a new minimum wage in December 2013, and the increase declared fell below the widely publicized assessment, by an official tripartite body, of the wage workers actually need to meet their basic needs.
read more and download here.
WRC

* Unions to lead holiday strike:

20140327 PPP Garmnet-Strike
Garment workers protest for a wage rise outside Phnom Penh’s Ministry of Labour in December. Photo by Heng Chivoan.

When is a strike not a strike?

That’s a question being asked after union leaders yesterday announced they will inform garment factory owners that their members want to use annual leave days to wage their stay-at-home strike the week after Khmer New Year.

The leaders of eight unions plan to send a letter to the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) this afternoon, asking it to communicate the message to all member factories, Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), said yesterday.

“We ask the factory owners to compensate workers [for April 17 to 23],” Thorn said, adding that workers will stay home those days regardless of the response.
Taking annual leave simultaneously falls short of a strike, but keeps pressure on the government and factories, said Moeun Tola, head of the Community Legal Education Center’s labour program.

“It’s hard to call it a strike,” he said. “But people are communicating their dissatisfaction.”
When asked why unions are requesting the week to count as their annual leave, rather than just call a strike, C.CAWDU vice-president Kong Athit said the action avoided violent government crackdowns.
read more.
PPP new

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Gov’t powerless over COLA in private sector:

The Human Resource Ministry said today it was powerless to compel private sector employers to pay their staff a monthly cost of living allowance (COLA) of RM300, saying it was the sole prerogative of employers.

“The implementation of COLA is under the employer’s jurisdiction and the ministry has no power over the matter.
“However, the ministry encourages constructive negotiation between employers and employees so they can come to an agreement that includes a COLA,” Deputy Minister Ismail Abdul Muttalib told the Dewan Rakyat during the question session this morning.
(…)
Add COLA to minimum wage
But speaking later at a press conference at the Parliament lobby, Pakatan Rakyat MPs urged the government to introduce a law requiring employers to pay their staff a COLA.

They pointed out only 8% of Malaysian workers, or 1.8 million people, were members of the MTUC, leaving another 92% or 11.3 million workers unprotected and defenceless.
“The government must be responsible for the 92% of workers who are not union members. At the very least, it should add the COLA to the minimum wage,” said Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, a PKR lawmaker and vice president of the MTUC.
read more.
FREEMALAYSIATODAY

LW + 2

20140326

20:26:30 local time map of china CHINA

* East China province raises minimum wage by 10 pct:

East China’s Shandong Province will raise its minimum pay by about 10 percent next month in a bid to attract workers and help them offset rises in living costs.

As of March 1, the minimum monthly wage for full-time workers in Shandong will be raised to 1,500 yuan (245 U.S. dollars), 1,350 yuan or 1,200 yuan in the province’s different cities, depending on economic level, the provincial government said in a statement Tuesday.
The 1,500 yuan level is the fifth highest nationwide.

The rise in minimum wage in Shandong mirrors similar moves in other parts of the country where fewer new workers are entering the labor force.
The rapid rise in living costs is also a factor behind the wage hikes.
read more.
people rood

20:26:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesian workers and the neoliberal discourse that scorns them:

When it comes to the neoliberal discourse of ’emerging markets’, we are all too familiar with the lexicon of Asian ‘dragons’, ‘tigers’, and, most recently, ‘tiger cubs.’

In typical bien-pensant fashion, such terms have been applied to the economies of the East for some time – firstly to the newly industrialised societies of South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore (the ‘tigers’), and more recently to the newly industrialising societies of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, who together make up the ‘tiger cubs.’
Prior to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, much was made in investment circles of the ‘economic miracle’ minted by the original ‘tigers’, and a comparable fuss is currently being made around the evolution of the four little ‘cubs’ – especially Indonesia. But, beneath the catchy rhetoric, what’s in it for workers?

Recently we have heard lively encouragements to invest in Indonesia from several sources, not only state officials working within Indonesia, but also various observers and actors abroad.
The latest spokespeople to disregard Indonesian workers while eulogising Indonesia as an investor’s paradise are the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) and the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO). In a widely recycled news piece originally published by Bloomberg this week, both organisations revealed their indifference to the plight of Indonesian workers, by repeatedly citing cheap labour costs and an abundant workforce as being among the tip-top reasons to invest in Indonesia. In common investor parlance, such labour market conditions are typically referred to as an ‘opportunity.’

The long-overdue implementation of a minimum wage system in Malaysia, effective since January 1st 2013, has been identified by investment circles as a major reason to shun Malaysia and open up shop in Indonesia.
‘Medan will benefit from the introduction of minimum wages in Malaysia’, proclaims Bloomberg, paraphrasing a high-ranking JETRO spokesperson.
But is this really the sort of investment that Indonesia needs: yet more Japanese production lines lured across the Malacca Straits only by the relative destitution of the Sumatran labour pool, and poised to repatriate the proceeds back to a faraway country? Such projects have ‘vulture capital’ written all over them.
(…)

Indonesia currently boasts the world’s 16th largest GDP, yet its minimum wage remains one of the lowest in Asia, surpassed only by the former command economies of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
To put this into perspective, consider that Indonesia’s economy makes four times the GDP of neighbouring Thailand, yet the average minimum wage in Indonesia (around $1’087 per annum since it varies from one region to another) is still only one third of its Thai counterpart ($3’012 per annum).
The discrepancies here are vast, needless, and only serve to index the shocking extent to which organised labour has historically been trampled on in Indonesia, having only recently re-emerged as a formidable social force after 32 years of laying dormant and subdued under the brutal repression of Suharto’s New Order period.
read more.
newleftproject

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Power loom units call off strike:

Owners of about 15,000 power loom units in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts that do job work for textile manufacturers (master weavers) have called off their strike as an agreement was reached here on Tuesday on the wage issue.

P. Kumarasamy, secretary of Coimbatore district job-working power loom unit owners’ association, said that about two lakh looms in the 15,000 units in the two districts were not operating since February 21 demanding revision of wages.

Several rounds of talks were held by the District Collectors of Coimbatore and Tirupur and the officials of the labour department with the master weavers and the job-working unit owners. The unit owners sought 80 per cent increase in wages as the input costs had increased.

An agreement was reached on Tuesday for 30 per cent hike in wages for those who make the Somanur variety fabric and 27 per cent increase for those who make the other varieties.
“It is up to the Labour Department to ensure that the revised wages are paid,” he said.
An official in the department said that the officials held talks with the master weavers and the job-working unit owners.

“We have intervened and resolved the issue by giving advice to implement 30 per cent increase in wages for the Somanur variety and 27 per cent hike for the other varieties,” the official said. The higher wages will come into effect immediately.
to read.
THEHINDU

LW + 2

20140325

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Wing Star Workers End Weeklong Strike:

Workers at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kompong Speu province on Monday agreed to end a weeklong strike and return to work today after an agreement was reached not to cut workers’ pay during the strike and raise their bonuses by $2, officials said.

“The workers agreed to go back to work tomorrow because the company this morning promised that they would not cut their monthly wage during the strike and they will raise [their bonuses] by $1 per month for both travel and lunch,” said Phorn Phal, deputy secretary-general of the Free Trade Union, which organized the strike.

“This is a small solution, but our workers agreed to accept this agreement, and we will continue to negotiate for the rest of the points,” he added.

Last week, thousands of workers protested for five days outside the Wing Star Shoes factory, demanding 11 points, including a $5 increase to their monthly bonuses.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

20140319 * Demanding pay rise, 200,000 power-loom operators continue strike:

Over 200,000 textile workers employed at about 38,000 small to medium power-loom units in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts have been on indefinite strike since February 21 to demand better pay and working conditions.

These districts located in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu are known as the “Manchester of India” because of their massive concentration of textile industries.

The workers, who receive a pittance for back-breaking work, are demanding an 80 percent rise in their piece-rate pay. They are also demanding the establishment of a retirement saving fund scheme (Provident Fund), medical benefits known as ESI, and paid festival holidays. Workers often work twelve hours per day with a workweek of six days in cramped, dusty and unsafe working conditions.

The strike was called by the Coimbatore and Tirupur Districts’ Job Work Weavers Association. The workers took this action after eight rounds of talks with the big textile manufactures in the presence of state labor department officials who failed to make any progress on their demands. Around 12 million meters of grey cloth worth about $8 million are produced every day by these workers.
Small power-loom owner operators have also stopped work in solidarity with strikers.

Almost a million people depend directly and indirectly for their livelihood on the power-loom industries in these two districts. Work in neighbouring districts that are tied in one way or another to textile manufacturing in Coimbotore and Tirupur have also come to a halt as a result of the strike.

Wage agreements in the local power-loom industry are renewed every three years and no agreement has been reached in recent years without a bitter struggle, sometimes lasting months. The previous agreement of a forty percent increase in piece rates was won after a three month-long strike from August through October 2011.
(…,)
The CITU and AITUC union federations—which are affiliated respectively with the two main Stalinist parties, the CPI (M) (Communist Party of India – Marxist) and the CPI (Communist Party of India)—are seeking to contain and suppress the power-loom workers’ struggle. After the strike had erupted independently of them, they formed a joint committee to “organize” the strike. This so called joint committee has mounted no campaign to mobilize support among the working class in this industrial area, let alone in the rest of Tamil Nadu and India.

World Socialist Web Site reporters recently travelled to Tirupur and spoke to striking power-loom workers and small-loom owners.

Selvan, a 35 year-old power-loom worker told the WSWS: “My employer owns 16 looms. There are another seven workers who work along with me. I run eight looms. I get paid about Rupees (Rs.) 300 (US $4.90) per day. It takes 12 hours of work for me to earn this since I am paid by piece rate. There is no provident fund or medical facility for us. They pursue ‘No work No pay’ policy. We don’t get any paid holidays for festivals. Some workers who are provided with accommodation are compelled to work even longer hours since they are paid less because they are provided with lodging.”
read more.
WORLDSOCIALIST

* Wage talks to continue on Tuesday:

Talks will continue here on Tuesday for revision of wages for the power loom unit owners in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts who do job-work for the master weavers.

Additional Labour Commissioner P. Marimuthu told The Hindu that talks were held on Monday with both, the master weavers and the owners of the job-working power loom units.
“The talks are positive and there are chances of reaching an agreement on Tuesday,” he said.

About 15,000 job-working power loom units having nearly two lakh power looms in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts are on strike from February 21 seeking revision of wages.
They have demanded 80 per cent hike in wages as the input costs have gone up.

The production loss a day because of the strike is estimated to be nearly Rs. 40 crore.
Since several rounds of talks have been held and an agreement is yet to be reached, the job-working unit owners are on indefinite fast from Monday at Somanur, Palladam, Mangalam and Kannampalayam. Those in Avanashi are expected to join on Tuesday, said P. Kumarasamy, secretary of Coimbatore district job-working powerloom unit owners’ association.
to read.
THEHINDU

LW + 2

20140322-23

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Wing Star Workers Strike Despite Closure Threat:

One day after the Wing Star garment factory threatened to shut down, thousands of workers responded by protesting Friday, demanding hikes in lunch and transportation bonuses.

If the owners shut down the factory, they will incur large labor severance costs, warned Sim Rattanak, labor department director for Kompong Speu province, the region west of Phnom Penh, where Wing Star is located.

“Until now, I have not heard the factory call to say they will solve the problem or not, the factory should have the solution,” said Mr. Rattanak. Mao Chhiv Song, a Wing Star adviser, could not be reached.

A trade union leader also warned that the factory will have to compensate thousands of workers if it tries to close.

Mr. Phorn Phal, deputy secretary-general of the Free Trade Union, said that protesting workers have only interrupted production by temporarily leaving their work places.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Regional Unions Push for Minimum Wage Hike:

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) urged the Cambodian government on Friday to raise the minimum wage of garment factory workers, to find justice for the five workers killed and to release the 21 workers in jail since January.

ITUC representatives from Asia and Europe held meetings on Thursday and Friday in Phnom Penh to discuss developments in Cambodia’s garment sector—particularly the defacto ban on freedom of assembly and the violent crackdown on protests in January. At that time, military police opened fire on demonstrators, killing five workers and injuring dozens more.

“The trade unions from the Southeast Asia region are all deeply concerned with the developments in this country…. Representatives from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Fiji and Singapore…are supporting the Cambodian trade unions in their struggle,” said Jeffrey Vogt, legal adviser at the ITUC’s department of human rights and trade union rights in Brussels.

“They produce over $5 billion [in exports] a year, so certainly [the factories] can support a higher minimum wage,” than $95, said Frederick Ho, deputy director of the Singapore National Trades Union Congress. The unions’ concerns, he said, would be discussed with the International Labor Conference in Geneva in May.
(…)

Ath Thorn, President of the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said that workers would continue to strike until their demands, including a minimum wage of $160, were met.
“If the government cannot solve all our problems, then the [investors] will consider whether to invest in Cambodia or not,” Mr. Thorn said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* CEPZ workers demand dues:

Workers of a garment factory in Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) in the port city yesterday observed daylong work abstention demanding overtime dues, as their net income was almost halved after the new wage was implemented from December 2013.

Around 240 workers of Mithun Knitting and Dyeing (CEPZ) Ltd were on strike from 6am to 4pm.
The company started three shifts of work instead of two in the past, cancelling all overtime hours to cut costs of production. An overtime hour of production costs double the basic salary per normal working hour.
“In the past, we used to get around Tk 13,000 to 14,000 monthly with daily eight hours of main duty and four hours of overtime. After the new wage was implemented and two shifts of work were turned to three, we are getting only half the amount,” said Afil Mahmud, a worker.
Workers said they asked the factory authorities several times to resume the overtime system or compensate for lost earnings.
Instead, the factory officials threatened to take legal action against the protesters, several workers alleged.
read more.
daily star bd

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Labour strike enters 4th day, fabric output hit:

Production of unfinished fabrics in the country’s biggest man-made fabric (MMF) industry here is set to be affected by the ongoing labour unrest over wage hike in the city.

The strike for wage hike by more than 10,000 powerloom workers in Bhestan industrial estate has entered its fourth day on Saturday. There is a daily production loss of around 70 lakh metre of fabrics at over 1,000 powerloom units in Bhestan.

Industry sources said striking workers have started contacting employees in Katargam, Udhana, Udhana-Magdalla, Limbayat, Varachha, Pandol and other areas to asking them to join the wage hike movement. Some workers at Pandol industrial estate approached their unit owners demanding wage hike on Saturday.

Katargam Weavers Association president Devesh Patel said, “There is no question of increasing the wages now. Wages are raised by the unit owners periodically. The workers are trying to gain benefit from the fact that the sector is facing severe shortage of workers as many had returned to their hometowns and now are only likely to arrive in the first week of May.”
read more.
TOInew

* Powerloom units’ wage talks to continue on Monday:

About 15,000 units in the two districts, having two lakh powerlooms, are on strike since February 21 demanding revision of wages.

Owners of powerloom units in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts that do job-work for master weavers called off the protests they had planned for Saturday as the officials of the Labour Department called them for talks for the wage issue.

The talks will continue on Monday.
About 15,000 units in the two districts, having two lakh powerlooms, are on strike since February 21 demanding revision of wages.
Though the Collectors of the two districts and the officials of the Labour Department had held several rounds of talks, an agreement was not reached on the issue. Hence, the unit owners planned a human chain from Karanampettai to Karumathampatti and protests at Palladam.
read more.
THEHINDU

* Coimbatore power loom unit owners to stage protests:

The job-working power loom unit owners have sought 80 per cent increase in wages.

Owners of job-working power loom units in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts, who are on strike for the last one month, will stage protests at Palladam and form a human chain for 10 km from Karanampettai to Karumathampatti on Saturday.

P. Kumarasamy, president of Coimbatore District job-working power loom unit owners’ association, said that District Collectors of Coimbatore and Tirupur and officials of the Labour Department have held talks with the job-working power loom unit owners and the master weavers. However, there is no solution in sight.

About 15,000 units, which have nearly two lakh looms, are on strike from February 21. The job-working power loom unit owners have sought 80 per cent increase in wages. Since, an agreement has not been reached despite the talks held, the unit owners have decided to intensify the protests. They also plan to go on indefinite fast from Monday, he said.
to read.
THEHINDU

LW + 2

20140321

20:26:30 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Workers reject Cha-cha, demand wage hike:

One week after the House of Representatives went on recess after having passed a resolution that seeks to amend the 1987 Constitution, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno marched to Mendiola this morning to condemn moves to amend the country’s Charter and call for a significant wage hike.

The workers said Pres. Noynoy Aquino, who said he will not stop Congress from pursuing Charter change (Cha-cha) and whose leading allies in the Liberal Party are responsible for resolutions to amend the Constitution, is really the driver of the Cha-cha train.

Carrying a large streamer that reads “P125 Dagdag-sahod, hindi Cha-cha! (P125 Wage Hike, not Cha-cha!)” the workers condemned Aquino for pushing for Cha-cha in Congress and ignoring their clamor for the legislation of a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide.

“By seeking Cha-cha and refusing to implement a significant wage hike, Aquino is trying to further enrich big foreign capitalists and is allowing Filipino workers to become even poorer. It is clear who his real bosses are,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
read more. & read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO bulatlat_tagline

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* The few who stayed at home to strike:

20140321 PPP Breang-Sopheap
Breang Sopheap, originally from Takeo, works between 7am and 4pm. She funds both of her brothers, a teacher and a student. She has worked in factories for more than 10 years. Photo byCharlotte Pert.

The week-long stay-at-home strike proposed by all 18 union groups might have been postponed until after Khmer New Year, but last week four of the unions decided to continue with their own.

The unions and workers who back a strike have asked for a $160 minimum monthly garment wage as well as the release of 21 workers and unionists arrested in early January.

Last Friday, in shared accommodation off National Road 2, where many factories are located, some workers had decided to remain at home.

Long Naty, 26, lives inside a pagoda complex with her mother and sister, who are also both garment workers. They rent a small section of a shared floor. Their corner, measuring roughly 2.5 metres by 2 metres, is marked out by a sheet. She is not worried about her job, she said.
“This is just a small part of the protests – there are many protests in Cambodia now.”

Breang Sopheap, 33, works at the same factory and lives on the other side of National Road 2, down a narrow alley filled with rubble.
She believes that if all the workers in Cambodia join together, there might be change. “Two factories are not powerful,” she said, in between sewing pajama collars which she sells for extra money.
to read.
PPP new

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Solving Bangladesh’s ‘Living Wages’ Problem Demands Global Support:

Garment workers in the developing world are mostly women, who barely make decent wages. Campaigns to increase their pay globally face huge complexities. Here, Bangladeshi workers.

The dialogue on living wages has come a long way since the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 people in 2013, but there will be no solution to the living wage problem until all parties involved work together, a diverse group of panelists agreed at a panel on the topic, held during this year’s session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations.

In April 2013, an eight-story commercial building called Rana Plaza collapsed in a district of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, leaving 1,100 workers inside the building dead. It was a garment factory that housed 3,122 workers during the collapse, and news stories revealed after the disaster that most of the garments produced there were exported to multinational firms. The workers were barely paid a living wage, an average minimum income necessary to meet their basic daily needs. Living wages vary by country and are generally based on cost of living numbers.
read more.
PassBlue

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Powerloom workers stage protest and court arrest:

As many as 355 workers involved in powerloom weaving courted arrest at Sankarankoil on Thursday after they staged a road roko on Sankarankoil – Thiruvengadam junction.

The agitating workforce was demanding hike in wages. They resorted to road blockade since their demands had not been considered by the employers.
The agitation was led by Madasamy, district vice president of the CITU.

Over 10,000 workers had been relying on this powerloom industry in Sankarankoil and its surroundings.
Even after two years, wages had not been revised as per agreement.
To fulfil their demands seeking a hike in wages, the workers boycotted work for the past 10 days.
read more.
THEHINDU

LW + 2

20140320

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Wing Star workers hit the road:

About 5,000 workers yesterday blocked a national road outside the Wing Star Shoes factory, an Asics supplier in Kampong Speu, as a strike calling for improved working conditions continued to rage on.

Employees walked off the job on Friday with 10 demands, including an additional $10 per month for lunch and transportation, but after two failed negotiations, the most recent on Tuesday, strikers moved to block National Road 3, said Chek Borin, labour bureau chief at the provincial labour department.
read more.
PPP new

* As Wing Star Shoes Strike Enters Third Day, Workers Block Road:

Thousands of workers at the Wing Star Shoes Co. Ltd. on Wednesday blocked the road to the factory in Kompong Speu province for two hours.

They demanded the company raise their bonuses by $5 and properly enforce labor laws after arbitration talks failed Tuesday.
It was the third day in a row that thousands of workers have protested outside the Wing Star Factory, officials said.

“We blocked the road to push the company to find a solution for the workers’ demands,” said Phorn Phal, deputy secretary-general of the Free Trade Union, which has organized the strike. “We don’t want to protest, but we have no choice to get an appropriate solution from the company’s owner.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* All quiet on the garment front:

20140320 PPP Freedom-Park-Garment-workers
Garment workers fill Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park during a CNRP rally in December. Photo by Hong Menea.

Analysis
A hush has fallen over Cambodia’s garment sector. With the exception of the occasional strike, life on the factory floor has in ways returned to how it was before the mass strike that turned deadly in January.

“The situation is much quieter than after the violence,” says Ear Chheng Lim, 26, a worker at the Canadia Industrial Park, near where security forces shot dead at least four people on January 3. “I have not seen any police or military police along Veng Sreng [Boulevard] this month. The situation outside the factory, actually, is normal.”

Except it isn’t. The wage issue, which led to the deadly violence, remains unresolved, results of a government investigation into the fatal shootings remain unreleased and calls continue for 21 unionists and workers arrested to be freed.

“All this could be resolved overnight,” said Dave Welsh, whose labour-rights organisation Solidarity Center has been meeting with the government regularly. “Momentum continues in terms of fairly massive pressure and attention … but there’s been no movement.”

Last week, unions postponed a stay-at-home garment strike until after the Khmer New Year, citing workers’ financial concerns. While unions demanding a $160 minimum wage remain confident they will still be able to rally workers, communication between them and the government has broken down.
read more.
PPP new

* Cambodia’s stability is hanging by a thread:

The conflict over raising the minimum wage in Cambodia’s textile industry reflects a growing power struggle between the government and the opposition, which might throw the nation into a political deadlock.

Textile workers in Cambodia have been demonstrating for weeks demanding a monthly minimum wage of around 115 euros. Violent clashes broke out during protests that took place last December and in January. According to human rights organizations, five protesters were shot dead by the police and many more were seriously injured. Twenty-three people were arrested.

David Welsh of “Solidarity Center,” a labor rights organization in Phnom Penh, is concerned about the recent developments. “This is a gross violation of trade union rights in the largest and most important economic sector of the country. This has nothing to do with the rule of law,” said Welsh.

Overwhelmingly women
More than half a million workers are employed in Cambodia’s textile industry. With total revenues amounting to around 5.5 billion USD, the sector generates some 80 percent of the Southeast Asian nation’s export earnings.

However, real wages in the sector haven’t risen for years. Women account for more than 80 percent of the textile industry’s workforce. Van Thina is one of them: She works more than 60 hours a week and makes just over 70 euros a month.

“How will I ever support a family if my salary is not even enough for me to survive on?” asks the 18-year-old. The textile worker says she will take part in a strike set for next month, despite the fact that such a step could cost her her job. Textile workers in Cambodia are usually hired on short-term contracts and they generally lack career opportunities in factories.
read more.
DW

$160 We Need

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Job-working powerloom units continue strike:

About 15,000 job-working powerloom units in Tirupur and Coimbatore districts are on strike since February 21 seeking revision of wages from master weavers.

Wage talks for job-working powerloom units in Tirupur and Coimbatore districts did not see any progress on Wednesday as representatives of two associations of the master weavers did not participate in the talks called by the Labour Department officials here.

About 15,000 job-working powerloom units in Tirupur and Coimbatore districts are on strike since February 21 seeking revision of wages from master weavers.
There are about two lakh looms that do job work for the master weavers at Tirupur, Avanashi, Somanur and Palladam.
read more.
THEHINDU

LW + 2

20140319

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Wing Star Strike to Continue After Meeting Fails:

Thousands of workers at the Wing Star Shoes factory demonstrated Tuesday for the second day in a row outside the factory in Kom­pong Speu province after a meeting between union and company officials failed to reach an agreement that would end an ongoing strike, worker representatives said.

About 7,000 workers protested Tuesday and Monday morning. They are demanding the company raise their bonuses by $5 and stop committing what workers say are abuses of the Labor Law.

“I told workers to continue to protest tomorrow unless they get an appropriate solution,” said Phorn Phal, deputy secretary-general of the Free Trade Union, who attended Tuesday’s meeting at the provincial labor department.

The workers are demanding 11 points, including an increase from $10 to $15 in their monthly bo­nuses, which include lunch and transportation costs. They also want the company to stop forcing employees to work overtime, stop cutting monthly wages during strikes and remove male security guards from outside the factory’s female restrooms.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

18:56:30 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Workers win wage victory in Myanmar:

20140318 I-ALL yes_garment_factory_workers
Yes 1 garment workers gather outside the factory. Source FTUM.

Collective bargaining by a Myanmar union has succeeded in securing a 20 per cent wage increase for workers at the Yes 1 Garment factory in the country’s industrial centre, Yangon.

After tense and drawn-out negotiations, Korean factory owners agreed to a wage increase of US$26 (25,000 Myanmar Kyats) to raise the maximum monthly salary from US$124 to US$150 a month.
The contract was signed on 13 March 2014 by the Yes 1 Garment Basic Labor Organization and factory director, Kim Yaung Hon.

Yes 1 Garment Factory, which is located at Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, employs 1,600 workers of which 1,200 are union members.
The wage proposal, which took into consideration workers’ living costs, was formulated in an IndustriALL Global Union training workshop attended by the union’s woman president, Win Theinghi Soe, as well as other Executive Committee members in December 2013.

There are approximately 400 garment factories in Myanmar employing more than 200,000 workers and the numbers are growing. In 2013 alone, 200 new factories were set-up. Many brands are now eyeing Myanmar as a new country to source and manufacture their products due to cheap labour costs.
to read.
Home

LW + 2

20140315-18

21:26:30 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

* N. Korea seeking 10% wage hike for Kaesong workers:

Seoul says raise will be discussed at July meeting, but that retroactive raise can’t be enacted due to losses from April-September shutdown

North Korea is demanding talks toward a 10% hike in wages for its workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

The 10% total includes two regular annual 5% rises, one for 2014 and one for last year, when wages were not raised because of a long-term shutdown at the complex. South Korea’s Ministry of Unification is now indicating that it will not agree to the hike as a matter of principle.
Ministry spokesman Kim Ui-do reported on Mar. 14 that North Korea’s Central General Bureau for the Central Guidance to the Development of Special Zones, its body in charge of administration of the Kaesong complex, recently proposed talks toward a 10% wage hike for North Korean workers.
read more.
HANI korea

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Workers Demand Bonus Increase, Labor Laws:

About 7,000 workers protested in front of the Wing Star Shoes Co. Ltd. factory in Kompong Speu province on Monday, demanding that the company raise their bonuses by $5 and properly enforce a number of labor laws, a union official said.

The strike comes ten months after a ceiling in the factory collapsed and killed two workers.
Workers are demanding that Wing Star raise their bonuses, which include lunch and transportation, from $10 to $15 per month, said Phorn Phal, deputy secretary-general of the Free Trade Union (FTU).

He said the workers are also demanding that the company stop forcing employees to work overtime; stop cutting monthly wages during strikes; and remove male security guards from outside the factory’s female restrooms.
“The strike started in the early morning today and stopped at 11 a.m. after provincial authorities arranged a meeting for workers and company representatives to find a solution,” said Mr. Phal.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Wing Star workers walk out:

Provincial Ministry of Labour officials will today meet with union representatives and management at the factory where a ceiling collapse killed two workers last May, in an attempt to resolve a strike.

About 5,000 employees at Wing Star Shoes, an Asics supplier, walked off the job on Friday, demanding 10 changes including an additional $10 per month for lunch and transportation, said Bin Srey Mom, a Free Trade Union representative at the factory in Kampong Speu.

“Factory management has not negotiated with us since we began striking,” Srey Mom said yesterday. “If the factory still refuses to find a resolution … we will block National Road 3″, where Wing Star is located.
read more.
PPP new

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* New garment wage yet to see full implementation:

The new wage structure for garment workers is yet to see full implementation three months after the due date.

Around 87 percent of the factories in Dhaka and its adjacent areas and 80 percent in Chittagong have so far employed the new wage structure, according to a recent survey of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
BGMEA surveyed 1,500 factories in Dhaka region and 600 in Chittagong between January and March.
In theory, all garment factories were supposed to introduce the new pay scale, a 77 percent raise, on December 1 last year.
“The owners are implementing the wage gradually despite the sector going through a period of adversity,” BGMEA Vice-president Shahidullah Azim said.
Labour leaders, however, are disputing the high implementation figures put forward by the sector’s apex trade body.
Sirajul Islam Rony, workers’ representative on the wage board, said about 75 percent of the factories in Dhaka and Chittagong implemented the new pay structure.
read more.
daily star bd

* 50% RMG units yet to pay new wages:

Workers of about 15 per cent of the surveyed readymade garment (RMG) factories are yet to get enhanced wages even three months after the new wage structure was announced, according to the BGMEA.

However, labour leaders alleged that 50 per cent of the factories are yet to implement the new wage structure. They said the number of non-implementing factories is higher in Dhaka metropolitan city compared to those in different industrial zones like Ashulia and Gazipur.

They said mainly dearth of job opportunities has forced the workers not to raise their voices against the non-compliant owners.
On the other hand, the government has no clear information about the wage implementation in the garment sector.
read more.
FE bd

* Many RMG units yet to execute new wage structure in 3 months:

A good number of garment factories are yet to implement the new wage structure for workers after more than three months of its announcement.

Labour leaders said less than 50 per cent of the factories implemented the new wage announced by a government-formed wage board on December 5 last year.
Factory owners, however, said that more than 85 per cent of garment units had so far implemented the new wage structure.
Labour leaders said in some cases workers had been downgraded and they (workers) were deprived of the benefits of the new wage.
The government officials concerned, however, said that they had no documentation and observation on the implementation of the new wage in the garment sector in the month of February.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association conducted a survey on 1,500 factories in Dhaka and found that 15 per cent of the factories failed to implement the new wage structure.
read more.
BD new age

* Cops-RMG workers clash injures 50:

Around five thousands readymade garment workers of a sweater factory protested on a demand of opening the closed factory in Savar municipal area of the district on Saturday morning.

Witnesses said that the agitated RMG workers of Dynamic Sweater staged a demonstration in front of the factory in the morning to meet their 10-point demands including wage hike, production bonus and opening the closed factory.
At one stage of the protest, they vandalized the factory and blocked Dhaka-Aricha highway.
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

LW + 2

20140314

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Nationwide Garment Factory Strike Fizzles After First Day:

What was initially planned as a nationwide garment factory strike involving hundreds of thousands of workers has effectively ended after its first day, with only a few factories reporting work stoppages, according to the two union leaders who called for the strike.

“All workers have gone back to work as normal because they received information that the Ministry of Labor is working to look into workers’ salaries,” said Yaing Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions.

On Tuesday, six other union leaders pulled out of the planned strike, which was set to begin on Wednesday, claiming that workers were scared that they would not receive their salaries before the Khmer New Year holiday in April.

Ms. Sophorn said that comments made by Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng following an event at Phnom Penh’s Sofitel hotel on Wednesday had convinced workers that the government would reconsider the minimum wage, as unions are demanding.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* New Report Says Garment Sector Fails to Meet UN Standards:

Cambodian garment manufacturers and the association that governs them are failing to meet the standards set by the U.N.’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as evidenced by lethal violence against workers during garment strikes in January, when five people were shot dead and scores wounded by state forces, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has said.

The Cambodian garment sector is “mired in ongoing human rights violations” and the Garment Manufacturers’ Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has “refused to condemn the lethal use of force against striking workers,” a briefing paper released by FIDH late Wednesday said.

“Cambodian manufacturers and GMAC have clearly failed to respect workers’ rights,” in light of the guiding U.N. principles, the statement said.

“Brands have failed to prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts by their business partners, and have failed to exercise leverage with Cambodian suppliers and business associations to prevent such abuses,” it continued.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

LW + 2

20140313

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* On 1st Day, Garment Strike Gains Little Traction:

Two unions that called for a stay-at-home strike by garment factory employees Wednesday had little success in mobilizing workers after six other unions, under pressure from the government and factory owners, pulled out of the planned industrial action on Tuesday.

Union leaders who pushed ahead with the industrial action said that their members in 14 factories joined the strike, though some were back to work by the end of the day for fear that they would lose their jobs.
Workers at one factory confirmed that they had staged a successful walkout Wednesday.

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) reported that none of its more than 400 factories were affected by the strikes, which unions initially said would involve hundreds of thousands of garment workers across the country.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Minority of unions still strike:

A small number of workers from four union groups took part in a stay-at-home-strike yesterday, union leaders said, after mass industrial action was postponed the day before.

Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun said members of his union from a “small amount” of factories had chosen to stay home as they continued calls for a $160 minimum monthly wage and the release of 21 men arrested during a strike in January.
“I think it is an effective way of appealing to the government and factories,” he said. “We told the workers to only do it for three days.”
Most of the 18 union groups involved in planning the strike agreed on Tuesday to postpone it until after Khmer New Year.
read more.
PPP new

* Riot Police Ready for Action, Protests on Standby:

About 100 Daun Penh district riot police on Wednesday held exercises in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park in preparation for possible industrial action in a week that garment workers’ unions had called for a mass stay-at-home strike.

Unions had downscaled plans of street protests to a mass stay-away, scheduled to begin Wednesday, but then were divided Tuesday on whether to go ahead with the strikes at all, and nothing materialized Wednesday.
But Daun Penh district officials said they were continuing security preparations in the event that the situation changed.

“We don’t know whether the unions have really suspended the protests, so we are carrying out exercises in case something does occur and if it does, we will crack down,” said first lieutenant Nuth Vichet.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* BetterFactories Media updates 13 March 2014, On 1st day, garment strike gains little traction:

* to read in the printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:

2014-03-13 Freedom park off limits city

2014-03-13 Minority of unions still strike

* to read in the printed edition The Cambodia Daily:
2014-03-13 On 1st day, garment strike gains little traction
2014-03-13 Riot police ready for action, protest on standby

* to read in the printed edition Koh Santepheap Daily (Khmer):

2014-03-13 About 2000 workers at Ocean garment go on strike and block roads
2014-03-13 Freedom Park closed down and banned from demonstrations

BetterFactories Media updates Overview here.
BF NEW

LW + 2

20140312

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

# * Some 3,147 Employers Comply With Minimum Wages Order – Riot:

A total of 3,147 employers have complied with the minimum wages payment nation-wide since it was fully enforced beginning early this year.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem said the number accounted for 3,218 or 97.79 percent of the total inspections carried out by the Labour Department.

He said in January this year, only 11 out of the 988 employers, who were inspected, failed to comply with the minimum wages implementation.

“It is still premature to see the impact of employers’ failure to comply with the minimum wages order but I believe with the high number of employers complying, it will be successfully implemented,” he said.
read more.
BERNAMA

18:26:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG workers-cop clash hurt 20:

At least 20 people were injured on Tuesday in a clash between police and garment workers in Savar municipal area in the district.

Witnesses said that the workers of Dynamic Sweater Factory (Dhaka Sweater) were staging protest procession from past couple of days demanding 10 points including salary increase.

Following the protest, the factory owner and workers sat in a meeting on the day, but an armed man named Mashiur, reportedly, on behalf of the factory owner threatened workers in the meeting.
read more. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 BD new age

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Powerloom workers seek better work conditions:

They demand minimum monthly wages of Rs. 10,000

The workers in the power loom job working units in Tirupur district, affiliated to six trade unions, submitted a memorandum to the district administration on Tuesday in which they highlighted their demands for better work conditions and social security.

The workers had planned to observe fast at Mangalam but were denied permission by the police citing the ‘Code of Conduct’ in place relating to the elections.
M. Sivasamy, secretary of Tirupur District Powerloom Workers Progressive Union, said the workers in the sector should be given minimum monthly wages of Rs. 10,000 with daily shifts restricted to eight hours.

Weekly holidays should be given and women workers should be sanctioned paid maternity leave.
The other demands were provident fund and ESI coverage for the entire workforce in the sector and issuance of identity cards to all workers in the sector.
to read.
Return to frontpage

SOUTH AFRICA

* SACTWU Bargaining Conference 2014 declaration: SACTWU also has a good story to tell! :

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) held its Annual National Bargaining Conference from 6 to 9 March 2014, in Durban.

We met under our union’s national theme for the next three years, as adopted by our 12th National Congress held in Augustlast year: “Unity, Cohesion & Radical Transformation for Sustainable Growth & Decent Work”

The Conference was attended by 430 delegates and unionofficials – double the amount of delegates in previous years.This followed our 12th National Congress decision to broaden worker participation and shopfloor democracy by expandingthe Conference to involve more worker leaders and workplaces in our collective bargaining processes. Delegates were 400 shop stewards representing 99000 SACTWU members in the clothing, textile, leather, distribution and related sectors in all parts of South Africa.

Over the last month and a half, SACTWU has collectedapproximately 18 000 living wage demands from its members in just over 1 610 workplaces nationally. These demands were reconciled provincially, and were collected in metro area-based workplaces as well as workplaces in non-metro areas.Our 2014 Bargaining Conference has now consolidated these living wage demands into more coherent national sectoraldemands, to be backed up by an aggressive national programme of action.

We demand a living wage!

The Conference noted that SACTWU will this year negotiatein 3 national bargaining councils (clothing, textiles and leather), 2 provincial bargaining councils (canvass goods in Gauteng and laundry in KwaZulu-Natal), 8 company group level negotiations (including Service Products/Sheltered Employment) and in just over 100 plant level wage bargains.The outcomes of our negotiations will affect over 100 000clothing, textile, leather, footwear, distribution and relatedworkers.
read more.
SACTWU

LW + 2

20140310

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Protest Ban Firmly in Place on Women’s Day:

Freedom Park was placed under lockdown and a march by land rights activists was blocked Saturday morning as Phnom Penh’s security officials were out in force to ensure that peaceful rallies on International Women’s Day could not go as planned.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 25 indicated he had restored the constitutional freedom to assemble, overturning a January 4 protest ban instituted by the Ministry of Interior, but authorities have continued to break up demonstrations critical of the government, sometimes violently.

At about 7 a.m. Saturday, police began forming a perimeter of 2-meter tall metal barricades on the east and west sides of Freedom Park, and blocked roads entering the park from the north and south.

Shortly before 8 a.m., Daun Penh district’s extra-legal security guards, the black-helmeted men who have come to symbolize the government’s brute intolerance for public gatherings, began to chase away journalists and human rights observers who had gathered near the park.
(…)
The union leaders laid out their demands for a strike planned for the middle of this week: a $160 minimum wage, the release of 21 protesters who were imprisoned following the violent suppression of garment worker demonstrations in January, the prosecution of military police who shot dead five garment workers and injured at least 40 more and an end to legal intimidation of union leaders.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* After blockade, unions plot next move:

Union federations today will finalise their strategy for a stay-at-home strike scheduled to start on Wednesday, amid recent government and police suppression of union activity.

Unions will first meet individually to discuss whether they are willing to continue striking past the scheduled March 19 ending and whether the strike should consist only of workers staying home or involve workers showing up to factories but not performing their duties, said Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.

Leaders of the 18 union federations supporting the strike will then meet later today and agree on a definite plan.

“We have discussed among the 18 trade union [leaders], now we are … in the process of making sure with the workers,” Thorn said yesterday.

If unions stick to their schedule, the strike will start only days after authorities manned barricades around Freedom Park on Saturday, thwarting plans to hold an International Women’s Day forum, at which they planned to discuss the minimum wage and the continued detention of 21 activists and workers arrested at January demonstrations, among other garment industry issues.

By 7am on Saturday, municipal police and helmeted Daun Penh security guards stood watch in front of Freedom Park and side streets leading there. An hour later, the baton-wielding security guards herded the group of about 50 people gathered across the street from the Freedom Park blockade, blowing whistles and shouting at people while driving them back to the Naga Bridge.
read more.
PPP new

LW + 2

20140308

20:26:30 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Top 5 countries with the highest minimum wage:

Here we take a look at the list of top countries in the world with the highest minimum wage, just to give the rest of you out there the motivation to keep on looking for that ‘perfect job’!

Now how many people can actually say that they are willing to work for free, or would not mind being paid peanuts?
Yes, there are many kind-hearted souls out there who take up a cause to help others in need which do not command a high salary, and we must commend them for their actions.
However, for the rest of us who toil and slug away at regular jobs, the amount of wages earned is an important factor that is taken into serious consideration before accepting any job.

This SaveMoney.my writer also went through the initiation of feverishly running through all the different types of jobs in the market, considering the wage, the benefits, the location etc before finally settling on one. It isn’t an easy task and I must admit I got a little side-tracked every once in a while during the application processes (hey look, an opening for a position to be a babysitter for a wealthy family!) but in the end, it was quite an experience in itself.
Out of curiosity, I wondered how much other employees in countries all over the world earned. Here we take a look at the list of top countries in the world with the highest minimum wage, just to give the rest of you out there the motivation to keep on looking for that “perfect job”!

How does Malaysia compare with the rest of the world?
According to the Malaysian Minimum Wages Order that was decreed to begin on 1 January 2013, the monthly rate for employees in Peninsular Malaysia would be RM900 whereas the hourly rate would be RM4.33. As for Sabah and Sarawak as well as Labuan, the monthly rate for employees would be RM800 whereas the hourly rate would be RM3.85. So how do we fare when compared with the other countries?
read more.
FREEMALAYSIATODAY

17:56:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Silk twisters want Rs. 43 a kg as wages:

Art silk yarn twisters here opened gruel sheds at S. Natamangalam, and Chinna Kondalampatti in the city on Friday, to draw the attention of officials concerned to their plight.

They said the officials should hold talks with employers to revise wages.
Thousands of labourers in the district have stopped work from February 1, seeking higher wages. The weavers and labourers said that they would boycott the Lok Sabha elections if a solution was not found to wage row.

“Our job has a tradition of close to six decades, for which wage is revised once in three years,” they said.
“Three years ago our wages for twisting silk was fixed at Rs. 27 a kg. With electricity usage charges going up, and considering other factors, the wage was revised to Rs. 33,” said S. Shankar of Kondalampatti.
read more.
Return to frontpage

LW + 2

20140307

20:26:30 local time map of mongolia MONGOLIA

* MP S.Odontuya: Immediate minimum wage increases could harm the economy:

Member of Parliament S.Odontuya gave some information about the current economic situation and the minimum wage increase.

 -Right after the start of 2014, the Mongolian People’s Party demanded that the Government increase the minimum wage by 30 percent. What is your position regarding their demands?

-I agree on increasing the salaries of public servants, in particular the salaries of teachers, doctors and  nurses. The reason is, a salary should be directly related to the outcome of the work a person is doing. Doctors work under high pressure. The salary they receive is relatively low compared to their workload. That’s why for many years I have touched upon the issue of a salary increase for teachers and doctors. Increasing the salaries of all state servants tomorrow has the danger of negatively influencing the economy of the country.
read more.
ubp

19:26:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Garment unions: the call for women to represent women:

20140307 PPP Of-Cambodia’s-nearly-half-a-million-garment-workers,-90-per-cent-are-womenOf Cambodia’s nearly half a million garment workers, 90 per cent are women.
Photo by Heng Chivoan.

Of Cambodia’s nearly half a million garment workers, 90 per cent are women. Their unions have played a major role in Cambodian politics recently as their demand for a $160 monthly minimum wage has become a rallying cry for the opposition.

But those unions are dominated by men, creating a situation that one expert has termed “a woman’s movement under male leadership”.
Among the six major union federations, there is just one run entirely by women at the top level: the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC), which has 25,000 members across 32 factories. Morn Nhim, a middle-aged former garment worker, is its president and founder.

She and other women who have risen to the top ranks agree that they are better equipped to respond to women’s unique needs, such as maternity leave, breastfeeding and sexual harassment.
“Women know each others’ problems, so we choose women to represent the workers,” she said in an interview at NIFTUC’s headquarters.

Nhim began her career in the garment sector in 1997 during the industry’s early years. Workers were far less organised than they are today, with the Cambodia Labour Organisation (CLO), a labour rights NGO which shut down in 2005, providing the bulk of support.

“There were no NGOs or unions like [today], but one of the NGO officers from CLO came to train the workers about the laws and the working conditions, and I saw that I should work for workers because there was too much pressure from the employers, and the workers appointed me to be a representative.”
read more.
PPP new

* Labor unions not allowed to hold public forum at Freedom Park:

Phnom Penh City Hall said that it didn’t allow a coalition of 18 labor unions and associations to hold a public forum at the Freedom Park on March 8.

In a letter issued Thursday, Phnom Penh deputy governor Khuong Sreng asked the union leaders to hold the public forum at their offices.
“Phnom Penh City Hall didn’t allow them to hold public forum because the Cambodian People’s Party and Cambodia National Rescue Party’ talks on election reforms are underway,” the statement said.
However, the leaders of the coalition of labor unions and associations still maintained their stance to hold the forum scheduled for March 8 – International Women’s Rights Day.
The forum is expected to draw around 30,000 participants as well as speakers from labor unions, government and the opposition to raise questions over the suppression, arrest of workers and wage demands.
to read .
CAMHERALD

* Security Forces Hold Drills Ahead of Saturday’s Union Forum:

Some 2,000 police officers in full riot gear carried out demonstration-suppression drills at Olympic Stadium on Thursday, ahead of a scheduled forum hosted by labor unions at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park on Saturday.

The U.N. special rapporteur to Cambodia, Surya Subedi, also released a statement Thursday welcoming Mr. Hun Sen’s touted lifting of the ban on the constitutional right to free assembly, despite a number of public gatherings having since been violently quashed this week and other rallies denied permission.

“I was pleased to learn that, in a speech delivered on 25 February, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that the ban would be lifted,” Mr. Subedi said in the statement.

Despite the Prime Minister’s announcement and the Ministry of Interior conceding that his statement trumped its ban on public gatherings, the unions who plan to gather at Freedom Park on Saturday have had their request to hold the forum rejected by City Hall.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Police drill ahead of forum:

On the same day 18 union federations made their final decision to move forward with a labour rights forum in Freedom Park on Saturday, thousands of police officials from several departments gathered in Olympic Stadium for a training session.

“Plans for a demonstration, such as the one on March 8, is nothing new for us; we have faced similar challenges many times already,” said Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito, who insisted yesterday’s training session was unrelated to the planned forum. “We train to strengthen our capacity.

On Saturday, union groups plan to gather at Freedom Park to both celebrate International Women’s Day and discuss pressing issues in the garment industry. Following last week’s boycott of overtime in which some garment workers took part, the forum is the last action before a planned stay-at-home strike, which is scheduled to begin on March 12 and last until at least March 19.

Discussion at the forum will focus heavily on garment workers’ demands for a minimum monthly wage of $160 and the release of 21 activists and workers jailed since January crackdowns.
read more.
PPP new

Cambodian anti-riot police conduct exercise in preparation for future protests:

The Phnom Penh Municipal Police held a special training at the capital’s Olympic Stadium on Thursday afternoon in preparation for any future demonstrations.

More than 2,000 policemen, armed with shields and batons, joined the half-day training, Gen. Chuon Sovann, chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, said.
“It is usual for armed forces to get training in order to strengthen their abilities in maintaining security, safety and public order for the city,” he told reporters at the event.

He said the training had no aim to threaten the opposition or its aligned trade unions that have planned to hold rallies, but it aimed to protect safety and public order if any violence occurred during protests.
“The security forces will protect demonstrators if their demonstrations get permission from the government or the interior ministry,” he said. “But if demonstrations are illegal, protest leaders must be responsible for any incidents.”
read more.
GLOBALTIMES

* BetterFactories Media updates 7 March 2014, Union reps must prove clean criminal records:

* to read in the printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:
2014-03-07 Gov’t passes buck on faintings
2014-03-07 Police drill ahead of forum


* to read in the printed edition The  Cambodia Daily:
2014-03-07 Security forces hold drills ahead of Saturday’s union forum
2014-03-07 Union reps must prove clean criminal records

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

17:26:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Labour rights: ‘CM to approve new policy for home-based workers in two weeks’:

20140307 TRIBUNE womensworkers
“Due to a lack of rights for home-based workers, jobs from garments and automobiles industries have been transferred to homes,” Home-Based Women Workers Federation general-secretary Zehra Khan.

Within the next two weeks, a policy for home-based workers will be approved by the chief minister, said the adviser to the chief minister on labour, Asghar Ali Khan Junejo, on Thursday.

“Very soon, I will give you the good news,” said Junejo to a cheering crowd. The draft has been lying with the chief minister for the last three months.
The auditorium of the Karachi Arts Council was filled with home-based workers to mark the International Women’s Day falling on Saturday. The convention was organised by the Home-Based Women Workers Federation.

(…)
The federation’s general-secretary, Zehra Khan, said that they are planning to form a union of home-based workers very soon.
She believed that due to a lack of rights for home-based workers, jobs from garments and automobiles industries have been transferred to homes.
“The workers are using their homes and their utilities, such as gas and electricity, but they are not even paid the minimum wage.”
read more.
tribune

LW + 2

see parts:

Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 4: 20131223- 20140306

Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 3: 20131116-20131221

Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 2: 20131016- 20131115

Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 1: 20130921-20131015

 

map of Asia

* INTRO- INFO about Living Wage

* A living wage = a human right
* The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA)
* The Clean Clothes Campaign calling for living wage

* Overview of Articles in the News:

20140606
VIET NAM
* Minimum wage should reflect bigger picture

CAMBODIA
* Garment Workers Vow to Continue Protesting
* Workers’ march halted
* Working Cambodian Women ”Too Poor” to Have Children

20140605
INDONESIA
* Indonesia Employers Seek to Cap Wage Gains as Labor Costs Climb

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Minimum wage to be announced by year-end

PAKISTAN
* Bare minimum: ‘The federal budget was not meant to favour workers’
* Worker organisations reject federal budget

20140603-04
CAMBODIA
* Workers’ March Blocked in Ocean Factory Dispute
* Protest blocked: Workers at factory seek full salaries

BANGLADESH
* Female garment workers victims of wage disparity

PAKISTAN
* A pro-business budget

20140531-0602
CAMBODIA
* Beautiful Clothes, Ugly Reality
* Cambodia: Garment workers parade beautiful clothes, ugly realities
* South Korean Embassy Asks Gov’t to End Strike
* S. Korea says protest at Cambo Handsome factory is illegal

BANGLADESH
* RMG workers protest factory closure in Ctg
* Body suggests factory owner-worker consultation to set wage

INDIA
* Trade unions demand wage board

PAKISTAN
* Call for same labour laws for men, women
* A Pakistani’s perspective: Why Bangladesh is doing better than Pakistan

20140529-30
CAMBODIA
* Ocean Garment Workers On Strike After Factory Halts Operations
* One Factory Strike Ends, Another Continues
* Cambodian government under pressure over garment sector
* Does the De-Facto Government Think It Can Afford to Lose Cambodia’s Largest Buyers?
* Cambodian Garment Workers Face Violence in the Struggle for aBetter Wage
* Brands warn problems could see them quit Cambodia
* Levi Strauss Slashes Orders From Cambodian Factories

BANGLADESH
* Workers’ demo at Ashuila for due wage
* Garment workers demand arrears be paid in Gazipur
* RMG sector: Getting paid as you perform

20140528
THAILAND
* Workers seek better wages, rights

CAMBODIA
* Brands ready to incorporate higher wages in Cambodia

20140527
CAMBODIA
* Brands back wage bump: unionist
* Brands, Unions Say Gov’t Moving Slowly on Wage Talk
* Cambodian officials meet with buyers from global brands on garment issues
* ‘Low wages and short-term contracts are like handcuffs’

BANGLADESH
* RMG workers demonstrate for arrears in Ctg
* RMG workers stage demo for due wages in Chittagong
* Workers of Bimond Group Garments staged a demonstration

20140525-26
CAMBODIA
* A ‘Reality’ check for top brands
* Workers Turn Models on Political Catwalk

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Garment factory workers protest better wages

BANGLADESH
* Police attack workers’ demo in N’ganj
* Gazipur RMG workers block highway

20140524
CAMBODIA
* Factory workers show support for arrested unionists

20140523
PAKISTAN
* Workers protest against price-hike, low wages
* Labourers want raise in wages, pensions

20140522
MALAYSIA
* Minimum Wage Order: Ministry Continues To Monitor Employers

INDIA
* Workers call off strike

20140521
GLOBAL
* The deadly business of the bargain garment industry

INDIA
* Poorly Paid Garment Workers Clothed in Worry:

20140517-20
PAKISTAN
* Raise in minimum wages demanded in budget

20140515-16
CHINA
* Real wages for China’s migrant workers stagnate as cost of living escalates

CAMBODIA
* Wage talk for workers to be resumed next week

INDONESIA
* Divided labor force a dilemma for next Indonesian president

20140513-14
BANGLADESH
* RMG workers, demanding payment of their arrear

INDIA
* Implement wage pact: powerloom workers

20140510-11
PHILIPPINES
* Wage hike exemption for firms hit by calamities

CAMBODIA
* Cambodia’s Low Cost Garment Industry: Sustainable for Whom?

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Deputy Labour Minister holds meeting in Thailand’s Mae Sot

SRI LANKA
* Minimum wage necessary for Sri Lankan workers, says union grouping

20140509
VIET NAM
* All work, no play for factory workers
* Economic slowdown prolongs substandard work conditions

20140508
INDONESIA
* A Higher Minimum Wage Is Crucial for Indonesia

PAKISTAN
* It’s a joke

20140505
INDIA
* MP textile industry opposes hike in minimum wages of workers

PAKISTAN
* Minimum wage legislation: A politician’s magic wand for vote bank?

20140503
INDONESIA
* Apindo to propose new wage formula

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Hong Kong Garment Makers Lured by Low Burma Wages

BANGLADESH
* Call to implement minimum RMG wage structure

PAKISTAN
* Labour Day: ‘Raise minimum wage, enforce labour laws’

20140502
PHILIPPINES
* Our Labor Day demands: Junk EDCA! P125 Wage Hike Now!
* Solons push for wage hike
* Workers urged to unite, fight for rights
* Netizens want wage hike, end to contractualization

THAILAND
* Workers march on May Day, seek lower cost of living

CAMBODIA
* May 1 Rallies Marred By Police Violence
* At government rally, all proceeds smoothly

INDONESIA
* Thousand of Workers Flock to Hotel Indonesia Traffic Circle for International Workers’ Day Rally
* Labors: 30 Percent Wage Rise Non-Negotiable
* President SBY: No More Cheap Labor
* President Declares ‘Respect for Workers’ Amid Wage Hike Calls
* Workers demand 30 percent increase in minimum wage
* Workers press political demands at Labor Day rallies nationwide

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Workers in Kyauktada stage May Day protest over minimum wage
* May Day marchers demand better pay and working conditions

NEPAL
* Rallies demand min wage, social security

INDIA
* Trade unions’ 10-point wishlist for new government
* Higher minimum wage key demand on May day
* Workers demand minimum wage, social security benefits

PAKISTAN
* Workers cry foul on Labour Day
* Workers speak out against privatisation
* World Labour Day marked across KP

20140501
PHILIPPINES
* Aquino draws brickbats over pre-Labor Day dialogue

THAILAND
* Ministry to consider workers’ Labour Day demands

MALAYSIA
* Standardise minimum wage, says MTUC Sarawak

BANGLADESH
* No nat’l minimum wage in place for half a century

INDIA
* Highest one-time hike in minimum wages

PAKISTAN
* Labour Day rally demands rights
* Govt urged to safeguard rights of working class
* Labour in Pakistan underpaid: PTI

20140430
THAILAND
* Workers struggle with low salaries, rising costs
* Aid for needy workers urged

CAMBODIA
* Bavet factories close as protest continues
* Uneasy Calm In Bavet as Factories Ordered Shut

INDONESIA
* Thousands of Workers to Join May Day Rally
* Thousands set to mark Labor Day
* Thousands will March to State Palace on Labor Day
* Indonesian Labor Union wants wage rise by 30% in 2015
* Thousands of workers to stage Labor Day rally in Medan

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Trade Unions Federation calls for K8,500 minimum daily wage
* Fixing a minimum wage to alleviate poverty

20140429
BANGLADESH
* Bangladesh looks for 29 cents

20140428
CAMBODIA
* Bavet protest: No-strike bonus offer backfires
* Bavet City Garment Strikes Gain Momentum

PAKISTAN
* Implement labour laws

20140426-27
GLOBAL
* Thinking Big: The Global Minimum Wage

PHILIPPINES
* Aquino worst recent president for minimum wage – KMU

INDONESIA
* Unions prepare for May Day

SRI LANKA
* A national minimum wage – is it desirable?

SOUTH AFRICA
* SACTWU update on state of wage negotiations in the clothing, leather and textile sectors

20140425
CAMBODIA
* Factories Mostly Skip Minimum Wage Meeting

PAKISTAN
* Cost of living: Minimum wage inadequate to meet basic needs, says SC

20140424
INDONESIA
* 356 sacked Adidas workers call for support after two-year fight
* Workers to take to street on May Day in Indonesia to demand higher pay

20140423
CAMBODIA
* Wage-setting meet up in air
* Strikes still on in some provinces
* Isolated Protests Emerge in Wake of Failed Garment Strike

20140422
CAMBODIA
* Thousands continue their strike
* Stay-at-Home Strike a Bust as Workers Return to Factories
* Strike falls flat as factories fill

20140419-21
CAMBODIA
* 2,500 Workers in Bavet SEZ Go on Strike
* Nationwide Garment Factory Strike Sputters Into Second Day
* Factories to remain closed until April 21: GMAC

INDONESIA
* One Million Labors to Hold Protest on May Day
* Indonesian Labor Union wants wage rise by 30% in 2015

BANGLADESH
* RMG workers block city road demanding dues
* Minimum Wages Implementation – Workers’ leaders have no data

PAKISTAN
* Women in the workforce

20140418
CAMBODIA
* Stay-at-home garment strike off to weak start
* Little Appetite for Garment Strike in Phnom Penh

BANGLADESH
* Workers in Savar Strike For Wage
* Workers-police clash injures 50

INDIA
* CITU to protest

HAITI
* Garment Exports Rise but Haitian Workers Paid Starvation Wages

20140417
CAMBODIA
* Cambodian Garment Workers commence strike for a Living Wage

PHILIPPINES
* ‘Pay employees holiday wages’

MALAYSIA
* Can you survive on minimum wage in M’sia?

20140416
PHILIPPINES
* Workers hit wage commission for ‘lies’ vs. P125 wage hike

CAMBODIA
* Cambodia’s Garment Workers: Videos of a Struggle- Rising For Rights

BANGLADESH
* Rising wages ‘squeeze’ RMG makers as factories await upgrades
* H&M CEO warns rising Bangladeshi wages may spook some firms
* H&M CEO warns rising Bangladeshi wages may spook some firms

20140415
BANGLADESH
* Strikes and Unrest Continue in Factories Cheating Minimum Wage 2013 Implementation
* Garment factory owners suffer from mandatory wage hike

20140414
CAMBODIA
* CPP vows to increase monthly wage to 250 dollars for civil servants and 160 dollars for garment workers by 2018

BANGLADESH
* Rising Wages Squeeze Bangladesh Garment Makers as Factories Await Upgrades

PAKISTAN
* Call to release labourers

20140412-13
INDIA
* ‘Revise wages’
* Power loom unit owners seek revised wages
* CITU flays move on PF payment methodology

20140411
CAMBODIA
* Staying at Home Not a Strike, Factories Say

BANGLADESH
* Workers demonstrate in CEPZ for timely increment

20140410
PHILIPPINES
* Workers hit gov’t think-tank’s pitch for wage cuts

CAMBODIA
* Unions drum up strike support
* Unions Spread Word of Strike Through Radio, Web
* Cambodian opposition-aligned trade unions call for strike after Lunar New Year
* BetterFactories Media Updates 10 April

ASIA
* Priorities of Asia Floor Wage Alliance

SOUTH AFRICA
* SACTWU Bargaining Conference 2014 declaration: SACTWU also has a good story to tell!

20140409
CAMBODIA
* Costs don’t top brands’ concerns

INDIA
* “Is Rs 175 a day enough to feed a labourer’s family?”, asks Karnataka HC
* Weavers fear exodus of migrant workers due to ongoing strike

20140408
CAMBODIA
* Unions press ahead with strike plans despite arrest threats
* BetterFactories Media Updates

INDONESIA
* Trisula International to Acquire Mido Uniform for Rp 23 Billion

SRI LANKA
* Lankan unions propose national minimum wage for private sector

PAKISTAN
* Call to increase wages, pension

20140405-07
THAILAND
* Striking Burmese Workers at Mae Sot Factory Win Concessions
* Burmese Workers in Mae Sot ‘Paid Only Half of Thai Minimum Wage’

CAMBODIA
* Date set for wage-reform talks
* Labor Ministry, ILO Set Out Plan for Minimum Wage Reforms
* Union leader: Workers to hold protest after New Year

MALAYSIA
* 60,000 Contract Workers Yet To Receive Minimum Wage – MTUC
* Enforce minimum wage law, Education Ministry urged

BANGLADESH
* 1200 sub-contracting RMG units yet to implement new wages

INDIA
* Proposal to combine allowances with basic pay rejected; trade unions to
approach Election Commission

GLOBAL
* Hard-hitting CCC report names and shames brands for inaction on wages

20140404
MALAYSIA
* Human Resources Ministry Wants Public Feedback On Minimum Wage – Riot

INDONESIA
* Minimum Wage Increases, Labor Productivity Remains Low

INDIA
* More powerloom workers on warpath for wage hike

20140403
THAILAND
* Mae Sot migrants demand labour rights

INDONESIA
* Battle for lashes

20140402
CHINA
* Seven regions raise minimum wage standards
* Three major cities in China raise the minimum wage

CAMBODIA
* Ministry reiterates holiday pay

20140401
THAILAND
* Salaries expected to rise 6% in 2014

CAMBODIA
* Workers Hold Machines Ransom Over Wages
* Cambodia’s garment workers fight poor working conditions

20140331
GLOBAL
* Tailored Wages – new report investigates clothing brands work on living wages

CHINA
* City’s minimum wage up by 200 yuan

CAMBODIA
* Brands ‘failing their workers’

20140329-30
MALAYSIA
* Implement minimum wage or face court action: Ismail

SRI LANKA
* National minimum wage problematic for certain sectors : EFC
* A national wages policy – how desirable or practical?

20140328
MALAYSIA
* Putrajaya urged to add RM300 cost allowance to minimum wage
* MTUC Suggests Act To Direct Private Sector To Pay Cola To Workers

20140327
NORTH KOREA
* 100x Textile Sector Wage Rises in 6th Month

THAILAND
* Mae Sot migrants garment workers demand labour rights

CAMBODIA
* Crackdown in Cambodia
* Unions to lead holiday strike

MALAYSIA
* Gov’t powerless over COLA in private sector

20140326
CHINA
* East China province raises minimum wage by 10 pct

INDONESIA
* Indonesian workers and the neoliberal discourse that scorns them

INDIA
* Power loom units call off strike

20140325
CAMBODIA
* Wing Star Workers End Weeklong Strike

INDIA
* Demanding pay rise, 200,000 power-loom operators continue strike
* Wage talks to continue on Tuesday

20140322-23
CAMBODIA
* Wing Star Workers Strike Despite Closure Threat
* Regional Unions Push for Minimum Wage Hike

BANGLADESH
* CEPZ workers demand dues

INDIA
* Labour strike enters 4th day, fabric output hit
* Powerloom units’ wage talks to continue on Monday
* Coimbatore power loom unit owners to stage protests

20140321
PHILIPPINES
* Workers reject Cha-cha, demand wage hike

CAMBODIA
* The few who stayed at home to strike

BANGLADESH
* Solving Bangladesh’s ‘Living Wages’ Problem Demands Global Support

INDIA
* Powerloom workers stage protest and court arrest

20140320
CAMBODIA
* Wing Star workers hit the road
* As Wing Star Shoes Strike Enters Third Day, Workers Block Road
* All quiet on the garment front
* Cambodia’s stability is hanging by a thread

INDIA
* Job-working powerloom units continue strike

20140319
CAMBODIA
* Wing Star Strike to Continue After Meeting Fails

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Workers win wage victory in Myanmar

20140315-18
NORTH KOREA
* N. Korea seeking 10% wage hike for Kaesong workers

CAMBODIA
* Workers Demand Bonus Increase, Labor Laws
* Wing Star workers walk out

BANGLADESH
* New garment wage yet to see full implementation
* 50% RMG units yet to pay new wages
* Many RMG units yet to execute new wage structure in 3 months
* Cops-RMG workers clash injures 50

20140314
CAMBODIA
* Nationwide Garment Factory Strike Fizzles After First Day
* New Report Says Garment Sector Fails to Meet UN Standards

20140313
CAMBODIA
* On 1st Day, Garment Strike Gains Little Traction
* Minority of unions still strike
* Riot Police Ready for Action, Protests on Standby
* BetterFactories Media updates 13 March

20140312
MALAYSIA
* Some 3,147 Employers Comply With Minimum Wages Order – Riot

BANGLADESH
* RMG workers-cop clash hurt 20

INDIA
* Powerloom workers seek better work conditions

SOUTH AFRICA
* SACTWU Bargaining Conference 2014 declaration: SACTWU also has a good story to tell!

20140310
CAMBODIA
* Protest Ban Firmly in Place on Women’s Day
* After blockade, unions plot next move

20140308
MALAYSIA
* Top 5 countries with the highest minimum wage

INDIA
* Silk twisters want Rs. 43 a kg as wages

20140307
MONGOLIA
* MP S.Odontuya: Immediate minimum wage increases could harm the economy

CAMBODIA
* Garment unions: the call for women to represent women
* Labor unions not allowed to hold public forum at Freedom Park
* Security Forces Hold Drills Ahead of Saturday’s Union Forum
* Police drill ahead of forum
* Cambodian anti-riot police conduct exercise in preparation for future protests
* BetterFactories Media updates 7 March 2014

PAKISTAN
* Labour rights: ‘CM to approve new policy for home-based workers in two weeks’

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