Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Increment ‘likely’ for civil servants who excel


PUTRAJAYA (Jan 22, 2013): Civil servants with excellent track records may receive good news from the government on a possible salary increment in February.
Chief Secretary to the government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa said those with performance rate of above 80% but whose salaries had become static because they had reached the maximum level will be entitled to this.
“I have asked the Public Service Department (PSD) to look into this matter. We are looking at a 2% to 5% increase but we have to discuss the financial application with the Treasury,” said Ali Hamsa after delivering his New Year message to civil servants at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre today.
He said the salary revision scheme needed approval from the government but noted the matter is being viewed positively.
Ali Hamsa said the government understands that static pay is not the answer for civil servants who perform well. He said the PSD is thoroughly checking their records and by February, it will be able to determine the number of civil servants eligible for the increment.
Last year, Cuepacs pointed out the salaries of about 20% of the 1.4 million civil servants had reached the maximum level.

Cambodia urged to free activist murder 'scapegoats'


PHNOM PENH (Jan 22, 2013): The family of a slain Cambodian labour leader on Tuesday called for the release of two men -- seen by rights groups as scapegoats -- sentenced to 20 years in prison for his daylight murder.
The appeal came as more than 100 workers and unionists placed flowers and lit incense sticks at the spot where government critic Chea Vichea was gunned down in Phnom Penh nine years earlier.
"We demand that Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun be freed. They are not the real killers," the late activist's brother Chea Mony told AFP.
Chea Mony, who now heads the Free Trade Union co-founded by his brother, urged the government to find the real culprits.
Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun had their long jail terms upheld last month after a long legal battle, in a verdict that rights watchdogs said was based on insufficient evidence.
The pair say they were framed by a group of police.
Rights groups say Cambodia's legal system is influenced by powerful and wealthy interests, leaving the country without proper rule of law. – AFP

Military paid to intimidate Nike workers in Indonesia

Military paid to intimidate Nike workers in Indonesia | Industriall
Workers at a Nike shoe factory in Indonesia alleged that the factory paid military personnel to intimidate them to work for less than the minimum wage.

In a shocking development on 15 January 2013, ABC News reported that workers at the Nike factory in West Java city of Sukabumi were allegedly intimidated by military personnel to sign a petition supporting the employer’s petition to be exempted from paying the new minimum wage. It is important to note that in 2012 millions of workers protested demanding an increase in minimum wages, social security and for better working conditions. In response to the workers’ protests the government increased wages by 46 per cent to IDR 2.04 million (US$220) from the current IDR 1.4 million (US$145).
However, companies were allowed to apply for exemption from paying new wages by providing information on the company’s financial condition and consent from workers. In this backdrop, the Nike factory at Sukabumi allegedly paid military personnel to intimidate its workers to support their application for exemption from paying new wages. Workers were also told that “inside the factory there were a lot of military intelligence officers”.
Trade unionists and social activists expressed serious concern over involvement of military personnel to intimidate workers.
A subsequent news report in Jakata Globe indicates that Nike has since revoked its application for exemption.

Protests become way of life in Spanish recession

Protests become way of life in Spanish recession | Free Malaysia Today

 MADRID: Spanish workers are increasingly walking off the job to protest wage reductions and privatizations by the government as it tackles a steep public deficit that last year threatened to bankrupt the country.
Judges, garbage workers, doctors and bus drivers are among those involved in a wave of disruptive strikes and demonstrations as workers lose patience with the centre-right government’s spending cuts after four years of economic crisis.
Demonstrations have become a daily event in the capital and other major cities in the biggest social upheaval Spain has seen since the transition to democracy in the 1970s.
“The government has put the country on the path to ruin. They are taking away all of our benefits and our purchasing power,” said Francisco Garcia, a cleaner and union leader at the General Hospital of Alicante on the Mediterranean coast.
Garcia and his co-workers went on strike for 17 days in January to protest two months of not being paid by the Valencia regional government. The strike – which led to reports of unsanitary conditions – was just one of many recent walk-outs.
In the southern city of Granada, garbage haulers were on strike for two weeks in January to protest cuts in their hours and pay. The strike ended on Sunday, but only a quarter of the accumulated trash has been picked up.
“It’s disgusting, there are rats in the street and areas you can’t even walk because of the piles of garbage,” said Jorge, 50, employee at a bar in Granada, near the famous Moorish palace La Alhambra.
Adding to the outrage is the up-to 100 billion euros in public funds going to bail out banks that loaned recklessly during the property boom while tens of thousands of Spaniards have been evicted from their homes after bank foreclosure.
“They save banks and close hospitals,” read a sign at a weekly protest march by thousands of Madrid region health workers and doctors on Sunday.
The protests around Spain have almost all been peaceful, in contrast to the escalating political violence in Greece - another hot spot in the euro zone debt crisis.
Public outrage over tens of thousands of bank foreclosures on mortgage defaulters – including a reports of suicides by desperate homeowners – forced the government to put a moratorium on evictions of poor families.
But other than that largely symbolic gesture, public frustration is not expected to divert Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s from his drive to cut public spending under deficit cutting targets agreed with the European Union.
With his People’s Party’s absolute majority in Parliament he can afford to turn a deaf ear to the street despite two general strikes last year.
“The government’s strategy is to dig in, not make any concessions and hang on with the hope that the economy begins to pick up at the end of 2013 or in 2014,” said Miguel Murado, an independent analyst in Madrid.
On the fiscal front Rajoy has little room to maneuver. Although Spain’s borrowing costs have come down recently and released some immediate pressure on the premier to seek an international bailout, market volatility could quickly return.
The government must raise more than 200 billion euros in medium- and long-term debt this year while recession drags on and jobs continue to be destroyed. Having made drastic spending cuts last year, he must execute an additional 20 billion euros in budget savings this year, as well.
“Rajoy knows very well that he has to take the tough decisions now,” said Narciso Michavila, president of GAD3 consulting group, referring to the political calendar. The PP does not face any regional or local elections this year.
The recession has hit tax revenue which in turn makes it hard to slash the deficit. Retail sales have dropped for 29 months in a row as one out of four workers is unemployed. The economy contracted by more than 1 percent last year and is expected to shrink again this year.
In his first year in office Rajoy broke campaign pledges, raising the sales tax and cancelling inflation raises for state pensions. A recent poll by Metroscopia polling firm showed 74 percent of Spaniards do not believe the government knows how to resolve the economic crisis and Rajoy’s PP has only 30 percent support, the lowest since he was elected in November 2011.
Shift in mood
Early in the crisis, Spaniards were largely philosophical about austerity measures, accepting that they must pay the consequences for a decade of overspending that glutted the market with a million empty homes and cluttered the landscape with underused highways, airports and trains.
But forbearance has eroded as the deep recession drags on, and the government slashes into treasured benefits such as universal free health care and public pensions.
“In the end we’re going to have to leave the country because there’s no work here,” said Elina Rodriguez, a 20-year-old history student who marched recently in a protest in Madrid against education spending cuts.
Roughly 370,000 people emigrated from Spain in 2011, 10 times more than before the economy faltered in 2008. Every week brings news of major layoffs from companies.
Since the beginning of the year Bankia, one of the country’s biggest banks and now owned by the government, announced job cuts; Roca closed a toilet factory in southern Spain; Madrid’s public television station laid off close to 80 percent of workers; and the local unit of Vodafone mobile telephone company said it would cut hundreds of jobs.
A plan by the regional government of Madrid to privatise six hospitals has sparked weeks of strikes. Anyone seeking medical care at public hospitals and clinics in and around the capital will find the walls draped with white sheets and banners reading “Public health care, R.I.P.”
Workers at money-losing airline Iberia are holding weekly demonstrations in central Madrid against the company’s plan to eliminate 4,500 jobs, a quarter of its workforce.
“We used to talk about where we meet every week for an afternoon coffee. Now it’s which weekly protest you’re going to,” said Ana de la Hoz, a flight attendant for Iberia.
Judges, prosecutors and court-workers in December joined protests against plans to charge fees for some court services. And they are threatening a full-on strike this month.
“Something’s happening in our country that hadn’t happened before,” said Jose Luis Gonzalez Armengol, a top judge in Madrid. “It’s strange to see judges, prosecutors, lawyers, doctors, nurses and teachers in the street.”
- Reuters

New ILO report shows global unemployment on the rise

New ILO report shows global unemployment on the rise - ITUC-CSI-IGB

22 January 2013: Labour leaders are at the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos this week to make the case for new policies to make jobs and equality cornerstones of the global economy.
The annual Davos meeting gives the business and financial community the chance to show their hand as they set out their demands on governments for the year ahead – demands which each year want a ‘’business-as-usual” approach to stave off growing concerns about inequality and unemployment.
“International financial institutions and governments are continuing to pursue the same old policies while the number of unemployed people keeps rising. What will it take for politicians to face up to the truth behind the numbers – their economic policies are failing?” said Sharan Burrow.
The ILO’s Global Employment Trends 2013 released today found:
-  197 million people were left without a job in 2012;
-  39 million people have dropped out of the labour market as job prospects proved unattainable;
-  Another 5.3 million people are expected to be unemployed in 2013.
The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects Report released on 15th January revised its global growth forecasts downwards. Growth forecasts were reduced from 3.0 % to 2.4 % for 2013.
“The growth we do have, needs to be translated into jobs for people. This means reducing inequality and providing people with decent wages and secure jobs. The ITUC Global Poll 2012 found for 58% of people, their income has fallen behind the cost of living.
“By creating jobs, restoring wages, and providing real job security, worker confidence will kick start the global economy.
“It is not about how good the elite bankers feel behind their trading screens, but the trust and confidence of the millions of working families who will spend money in their local high streets,” said Sharan Burrow.
New figures from the ILO Global Employment Trends 2013 show 74 million young people are unemployed globally. Some 35 percent of young people have been out of a job for six months or longer in advanced economies.
“The burden of the economic crisis is falling on young people, which puts at risk the very social fabric of our global community. Youth employment opportunities, including a G20 ‘’Youth Jobs Pact” and opportunities for training and apprenticeships must be what we create this year or we will have lost another year for the next generation,” said Sharan Burrow.

Formula selesai isu gaji maksimum bulan depan

Formula selesai isu gaji maksimum bulan depan - Nasional - Sinar Harian

PUTRAJAYA - Kerajaan dijangka mengumumkan penetapan gaji dua hingga lima peratus bagi penjawat awam yang sudah mencapai tahap gaji maksimum atau ‘gaji mati’ pada Februari ini, kata Ketua Setiausaha Negara Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa hari ini.
Beliau berkata Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) sedang membuat kajian teliti bagi menangani masalah penjawat awam yang berprestasi baik dan cemerlang dengan markah 80 peratus ke atas dalam Laporan Nilaian Prestasi Tahunan (LNPT) mereka tetapi sudah mencapai gaji maksimum dan tidak memperoleh kenaikan pangkat kerana tiada kekosongan.

"Saya tidak mahu melihat penjawat awam yang menjalankan tugas dengan cemerlang tetapi mendapat gaji statik. Ini yang saya mahu atasi.
“JPA sedang memuktamadkan senarai yang ada. Mereka sedang meneliti rekod perkhidmatan. Selalunya akan ada kenaikan biasa gaji, tetapi dalam kes ini kita mahu selesaikan kes mereka yang sudah mencapai tahap statik.

“Kami perlu berbincang dengan Perbendaharaan mengenai implikasi kewangan.
Kerajaan amat positif mengenainya. Mereka faham gaji statik bukannya jawapan kepada penjawat awam yang berprestasi cemerlang," katanya pada sidang media di sini hari ini.
Sebelum itu, Ali menyampaikan Amanat 2013 kepada kira-kira 4,000 penjawat awam pelbagai kementerian dan jabatan di Pusat Konvensyen Antarabangsa Putrajaya. Majlis yang dilaksanakan menerusi ‘live-streaming’ itu turut boleh disaksikan penjawat awam di seluruh negara.
Dalam amanatnya, Ali menyarankan penjawat awam memainkan peranan dalam sektor luar negeri khususnya untuk memahat nama Malaysia di persada antarabangsa.

Beliau berkata sektor domestik dan luar negeri adalah sama penting untuk memacu agenda transformasi negara ke arah merealisasikan Wawasan 2020.
“Semua penjawat awam, baik di dalam mahupun di luar negara, perlu terus bekerjasama dan bergerak sebagai satu pasukan untuk memastikan kecekapan penyampaian, keberkesanan pengurusan dan amalan diplomasi yang proaktif demi mempertahan dan mempromosi kepentingan Malaysia.
“Kita juga perlu sentiasa mengintai atau mencari peluang-peluang baharu dalam mempromosi imej negara, selain juga menerokai pasaran atau pelaburan baharu untuk negara,” katanya.
Selain itu, Ali juga menyarankan penjawat awam agar lebih peka dan responsif dalam melaksanakan dasar-dasar yang diputuskan kerajaan.
Beliau berkata Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak semasa membentangkan Belanjawan 2013 telah mengumumkan 111 perkara melalui penjanaan pelbagai inisiatif untuk meningkatkan kesejahteraan rakyat.
“Dalam hal ini, sokongan dan kerjasama di semua peringkat, tidak mengira sama ada ketua jabatan, pegawai pengurusan mahupun kumpulan pelaksana, diharapkan dalam memastikan kelangsungan serta kelancaran pelaksanaan keputusan-keputusan tersebut agar matlamatnya tercapai dengan jayanya.
“Sebagai penjawat awam yang prihatin dengan wawasan kerajaan, hendaklah bertindak lebih proaktif untuk memudahkan dan bukan menyusahkan,” katanya.