08:10:18 local time CHINA
* Nike CEO says could shift China production over labor strife:
Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker said on Thursday the footwear and athletic apparel company was considering shifting its production within China following a major strike at a supplier’s factory.
Thousands of shoe factory workers staged one of China’s biggest strikes earlier this month over conditions at Hong Kong-listed Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd (0551.HK) – a $5.6 billion manufacturer of footwear for Nike Inc (NKE.N), Adidas (ADSGn.DE) and other international brands. Most of those workers have since returned to work after the company agreed to some of their demands.
“We didn’t move product out in this case, but we’re staying close to it. We’ve been in a position to do that,” Parker said on the sidelines of a luncheon at the Boston College Chief Executives Club of Boston.
“We’re always considering it.”
He said Nike was in “close contact” with Yue Yuen and its workforce to determine if the labor conditions at the factory violate Nike’s own workplace standards, but added Nike had not yet “taken a position on that.”
He said Nike had a diverse factory base in China that made it possible to shift production relatively easily.
08:10:18 local time MONGOLIA
* Trade unions demonstrate for better social security:
Members of the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions (CMTU) organized a demonstration for “Social Security for Citizens and Workers” at the central square on Wednesday, demanding a decrease in the price of consumer goods, a salary and pension increase, better occupational safety, as well as job security.
The CMTU has made several requests for the parliament and the government to respond to the current conditions in Mongolia, where both social and economic situations are unstable, while the income and purchasing power of the people remains low. As a result, many businesses are laying off their employees, causing financial difficulties for many families.
08:10:18 local time PHILIPPINES
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
07:10:18 local time 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.
* Support Somyot on Labour Day:
Today we celebrate International Labour Day with our friends and allies from around the world. May 1st is recognised around the world as International Labour Day or International Worker’s Day.
We need your support to demand the immediate release of the well-known Thai human-rights activist and journalist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk. Tell Thailand’s Prime Minister to free Somyot.
Somyot Pruksakasemsuk was arrested on April 30, 2011 on charges of lèse majesté, or the crime of insulting the king. This accusation lead to a sentence of 11 years in prison and is criticised for being used to silence political opponents and human-rights activists. We want all charges to be dropped and Somyot released from jail.
You can help!
07:10:18 local time CAMBODIA
* Labor Minister Says Solution to Bavet Strike in the Works:
On the sidelines of a government event marking International Labor Day, Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng on Thursday blamed recent strikes in Bavet City on unnamed provocateurs, but said efforts were underway to resolve the dispute.
He also said that a government-ordered shutdown of the 30-plus factories—meant to quell the escalating violence and scheduled to end Thursday—could be prolonged.
In his speech to some 2,000 garment workers on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich island, Mr. Sam Heng said conditions for workers and unions in Cambodia were “better than ever in history” and that the country’s 960 garment factories were now providing jobs for 628,166 people.
* Minister urges end to strike:
In his first public acknowledgement of the ongoing mass strike in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town, Cambodia’s labour minister yesterday implored workers to end demonstrations and settle their grievances through arbitration.
After speaking at the Koh Pich Exhibition Center for a government-backed International Labour Day celebration, Ith Sam Heng said his ministry is coordinating talks
between employers and employees in Bavet.
“The employers are trying to find the best way to reopen their factories . . . I asked them to collect employeedemands and other relevant information to bring before the Arbitration Council,” Sam Heng said.
“We will try to get [factories] back to work as soon as possible.”
All factories in the Manhattan and Shandong Sunshell special economic zones (SEZs) have been closed since Tuesday, and the vast majority of factories at the Tai Seng SEZ are also closed.
Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), has estimated that 30,000 people are holding demonstrations outside factories or not going work.
* May 1 Rallies Marred By Police Violence:
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.”
* 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.
* Vicious May Day beatings:
At least five people were injured yesterday morning when a Labour Day rally next to a heavily fortified Freedom Park was violently broken up by police and security forces – some dressed in civilian clothing – wielding batons and cattle prods.
More than 1,500 people had gathered around Naga Bridge on Norodom Boulevard at about 9am to voice demands for better working conditions and wages, and to greet the arrival of opposition leaders Sam Rainsy, Kem Sokha and Mu Sochua.
Read & see more. (video reports). & read more.
* Is This Home? :
Dirty, tiny rooms of 4×3 meters house up to seven women working in the Cambodian garment industry.
A peaceful rally near a heavily barricaded Freedom Park this morning was attacked by security forces wielding sticks and electric batons as protesters gathered to mark International Labour Day.
At least one bystander was badly beaten and several others received minor injuries as security forces, seemingly at random, picked out people on the street.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Freedom Park in the early morning and were joined by a group of about 200 workers who had been moved on from outside the National Assembly by security forces and police.
Yorm Sothea, a worker protesting at Naga Bridge near Freedom Park, said she had taken to the streets to call on the government to lift the ban on gatherings and to improve the lot of workers.
“We want the government to answer about the security presence and to raise our wages. Right now, the current situation is a violation of our rights, because we are forced to do other jobs to support our families,” she said.
read more and see video report.
* Remarks by the ILO for May 1st 2014:
Tens of thousands of people in Cambodia and around the region are coming together today to mark May 1st.
Their aspirations and concerns are legitimate and based on unquestionable
They firmly and rightly believe that quality of work and the respect for fundamental
principles and rights at work are a source of personal dignity, family stability, peace in the community, and a beacon of credibility for democratic governance. These issues are at the very core of the International Labour Organization’s mandate and are central to its work across the world.
These guiding norms apply to all countries. They are at the basis of the principles and polices enshrined in the ILO’s Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization. This Declaration expresses the contemporary vision of the ILO’s mandate in the era of globalization. It should guide policy action in achieving improved and fair outcomes for all.
Countless men and women around the world continue to work without even the most basic guarantees for their safety and wellbeing. Obvious examples come from the horrific workplace disasters that have claimed hundreds of lives just a year ago in South Asia and other parts of this region.
In most of Southeast Asia, including in Cambodia there is a growing recognition that tackling these issues is vital to meeting national development goals.
The Rectangular Strategy highlights the importance of improving labour relations to achieve sustained socio-economic development. Strengthening freedom of association and collective bargaining are other vital components of this strategy. Social dialogue and collective negotiations involving trade unions and employers’ organisations can bring significant benefits, not only to workers but also for economic development in general by reducing conflict, supporting fairer income
distribution, reducing inequality and sustaining more robust labour market governance.
* Brutal police crackdown on Cambodia May Day rally:
As scores of police wielding electrified truncheons and makeshift clubs ran past her at this morning’s May Day rally, 40-year-old Chan Sovann slipped into a corner, a framed photograph tucked under her arm, and tried to remain inconspicuous.
At least two people were badly beaten, and several others—including both local and foreign journalists—were also attacked after authorities chased down protesters and passers-by, without provocation, at a rally to mark International Workers Day.
But for Sovann, a veteran garment factory worker, such violence was nothing new.
* CCHR condemns prolonged ban on public assembly:
The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) strongly condemned the reiteration of the ban on assemblies in Phnom Penh, urging security forces to refrain from using excessive violence against protesters.
The condemnation was made ahead of the start of the council election campaign period from 2-16 May, and the celebration of International Labor Day.
Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong issued announcement on April 29, banning all public rallies starting from May 1, 2014 after the unionists and opposition sought permission to hold public assemblies at the Freedom Park.
“Instead of respecting the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, the Royal Government of Cambodia’s decision to refuse civil society groups and the opposition to hold demonstration in Freedom Park on Labor Day and ahead of the upcoming election is a grave violation of these rights,” CCHR’s President Chak Sopheap said in a statement issued on April 30.
read more. & read more.
* May Day rallies demand reform; 5 hurt in Cambodia:
May Day demonstrators denounced low wages and called for better treatment of workers during rallies Thursday that turned violent in Cambodia and in Turkey, where police tried to enforce a ban on public protests.
Security forces in Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square pushed back demonstrators with water cannons and tear gas. Protesters retaliated by throwing objects at police.
In Phnom Pehn, civilian auxiliary police, armed with clubs and often used by the government to break up protests, turned on the demonstrators after opposition leaders spoke to the crowd of nearly 1,000. The assaults appeared to be random and limited, and were over in less than an hour.
At least five people were hurt, said Om Sam Ath, an officer of the human rights group Licadho.
08:10:18 local time 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* President Declares ‘Respect for Workers’ Amid Wage Hike Calls:
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.
* 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.
* 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.
* Ask for help:
Ask for help: Contract workers with giant US sports apparel company Nike stage a protest outside the Jakarta stock exchange building in Jakarta on Wednesday, ahead of Labor Day.
They protested against alleged union busting by their company. (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)
06:40:18 local time 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.
* 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.
05:55:18 local time NEPAL
* Trade unions demand govt to instate social security schemes for workers:
Trade unions have demanded that the government bring rules to provide social security schemes to workers at the earliest.
Observing the International Labour Day, also dubbed ‘May Day’ on Thursday, trade unions threatened to obstruct budget session of the Parliament, if the government fails to address their issues related to workers’ rights.
All the trade unions under the Joint Trade Union Coordination Centre (JTUCC) have jointly decided to give ultimatum to the government regarding the social security issue. Even as the government promises to bring schemes for workers, it has not been able to do so due to delay in promulgation of the Social Security Act (SSA) and new Labour Act.
Bishnu Rimal, president of General Federation of Nepalese Trade Union (GEFONT), has warned that if the next session of the Constituent Assembly (CA) or parliament does not implement the social security schemes, all the trade unions will demand refund of all the money that has been contributed to the Social Security Fund (SSF).
06:10:18 local time BANGLADESH
* PM for owners-workers good relations to move forward country:
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged both the owners and workers to be careful about their responsibility to maintain productivity in industries and for their mutual benefit, BSS reported.
‘The industrial sector suffered a colossal loss in the past due to unwise decision of the owners as well as misguided attitude of the workers, which ultimately hampered country’s economy,’ she said.
‘We don’t want to see the same phenomenon in future,’ she said while addressing a discussion organised by Ministry of Labour and Employment at Osmani Memorial Hall in Dhaka marking the historic May Day.
read more. & read more. & to read. & to read.
* Stay alert against those want to harm country’s mills & industries: PM:
Stressing the importance of good owners- workers relationship for the rapid development of the industrial sector, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the owners and workers to remain alert so that no one could harm the country’s industries, mills and factories in the future spreading rumours.
“We saw in the past that damages were done to industries spreading rumours. So, I’ll request both the owners and the workers so that such incidents do not reoccur in the future,” she told a function organised at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city marking the historic May Day.
The Prime Minister said the workers need to consider the fact that those mills and factories which ensure their food and their living are not harmed and their production are not stopped in any way. “If the mills and factories are affected, then they might lose their jobs.”
Referring to the increase in garment workers’ wages to TK 5,300 from TK 1,600 in the last five years alongside raising the wages of the workers at the state-owned enterprises, the Prime Minister also asked the workers to consider the capacity of the factory owners before raising any demand instead of getting instigated by outside quarter.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* New idea floated to build fund with tariffs Bangladesh pays to US:
Improving labour & factory standards
Bangladesh pays $850m or so of tariffs to export garments to the US market
An idea was floated in a Dhaka seminar to create a fund for financing factory upgrading and general improvement in working standards in Bangladesh.
The fund is proposed to be built up on the tariffs Bangladesh pays the US and other tariff-imposing countries.
Bangladesh pays $850m or so of tariffs to export garments to the US market.
“They (the fund) could be used for measures which improve worker welfare in developing countries,” Bangladesh Bank Chief Economist Hassan Zaman floated the idea at SAARC finance seminar held in Dhaka on Tuesday.
* Textile sector key to growth: Inu :
Information Minister and president of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) Hasanul Huq Inu said today that the textile industry is vital to the country’s economy.
If it does not flourish the readymade garments industry of the country will also be destroyed.
He said, “The apparel sector is facing threats now. If the textile sector is to develop then there has to be a proper investment policy for it.”
The minister was speaking as chief guest at the Diploma Engineers’ Institute auditorium at a function organized by the Association of Textile Engineers and Technologists (ATET), Bangladesh to celebrate its founding anniversary.
* Mosharraf for trade unions in all factories:
Overseas Employment and Expatriate Welfare Minister Engineer Khondoker Mosharraf Hossain announced that under the present government Trade unions will be allowed to function in all the factories of the country to ensure the rights of the workers.
The minister while addressing a May Day rally on Thursday at Janata Bank square organized by Faridpur unit of Jatiyo Sramik League said the government wants to bring an end to the unhindered exploitation of the owners of mills and factories in absence of trade unions.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Hasina re-calls Rana Plaza victims:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has commemorated all the deceased workers in worldwide including the victims of Rana Plaza tragedy and paid her deep sympathy to the bereaved families.
The premier was addressing a discussion at Osmani Auditorium as chief guest on the occasion of historic May Day on Thursday morning.
05:40:18 local time 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.
* 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.
* Workers demand minimum wage, social security benefits:
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.
05:10:18 local time 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.
Like rest of the world rallies and meetings will be arranged throughout Pakistan to pay homage to Chicago martyrs, domestic and other workers in the informal sector will commemorate Labour Day on Thursday (today) by working as usual.
The situation has not been satisfactory for the working class as a whole for the last two decades or so, a surge in violence against domestic workers has recently been reported.
The workers in the formal sector will take to street primarily for electricity and gas non-availability which has rendered hundreds of thousands of them jobless. Unprecedented electricity and gas outages resulted in partial or complete closure of scores of industrial units, especially in textile sector. The situation also slowed down the economic growth, increasing unemployment rate to an alarming level, leading to protests in major cities across Punjab.
* Thousands rally to demand basic rights on May Day:
To mark the International Labour Day and pay tribute to the martyrs of Haymarket affair in Chicago, the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF) on Thursday held rallies across the country.
In Lahore, thousands of workers gathered at the Railway Headquarters at around 10am, from where the central leadership of the APTUF led the participants of the May Day rally.
According to a statement issued by the APTUF, workers from all industrial areas of the city, along with leaders of progressive political parties and lawyers, merged with the rally organised by the Pakistan Workers Federation after passing through various streets and marched towards the Punjab Assembly Hall.
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.
* Labour Day rally: Workers vow to revive labour movement:
Hundreds of workers, students and political activists held a rally under the auspices of the Awami Workers Party to mark the Labour Day on Thursday.
They vowed to revive the labour movement in the country unless the marginalised get rights.
A rally was taken out from Pirwadhai Chowk and culminated at I-11 katchi abadi, which was addressed by party leaders, trade unionists and activists of the All-Pakistan Alliance of Katchi Abadis.
AWP Punjab General-Secretary Aasim Sajjad said, “Today, we are faced with a situation where working class organisations and politics have totally been marginalised,” he said emphasising the need to link the struggles of labour unions with the non-traditional movements of slum dwellers and home-based women workers.
* 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.
* Pakistan fails to benefit from GSP Plus :
Pakistan has miserably failed to take advantage of generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) plus status extended by the European Union (EU) in the first quarter (Jan-Mar) of this calendar year, a senior official at the textile ministry told The News on Thursday.
The GSP Plus facility is effective from January 1, 2014 and in the first three months the overall textile growth in the export to EU remained nominal against the estimated growth of 15 percent because of non-availability of gas, electricity and devaluation of dollar.
The GSP plus granted to Pakistan is conditional on the ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environment and good governance.
* July-March readymade garments export up 9.36 percent:
The export of readymade garments rose by 9.36 percent to $1.430 billion in July-March 2013-14, the official figures said.
The export of readymade garments showed an increase of $122 million during July-March 2013-14, from $1.308 billion in the same period last fiscal year, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) indicated.
In terms of volume, the country”s export of readymade garments grew by 1,889,000 dozens (9.19 percent) to 21,806,000 dozens during July-March 2013-14 from 19,917,000 in the same period last fiscal year, the PBS said. In March 2014, export of readymade garments moved up by $19.769 million (13.49 percent) to $173.679 million as compared to $153.910 million in March 2013, the statistics said. The volume of readymade garments export increased by 509,000 dozens (22 percent) to 2,858,000 dozens in March 2014 from 2,349,000 dozens in March 2013, the PBS said.