Monday, April 7, 2014

Labour Laws and Practices in ASEAN Vol II (2013 ASETUC FES)

MALAYSIA:::Report: EPF Property Investment Returns Exceed Expectations, Says Auditor-General Report

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 (Bernama) -- The returns of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) property investment in 2013 have exceeded the target, said the first series of the Auditor-General Report 2013.

The report findings, tabled at the Parliament Monday, said that EPF received gross investment income of RM1.14 billion for investment in property and infrastructure last year, compared to annual target of RM930 million, which is an achievement of 122.5 per cent, in line with the increase in property and infrastructure investment.

ILO:::International Labour Standards on Migrant workers

The growing pace of economic globalization has created more migrant workers than ever before. Unemployment and increasing poverty have prompted many workers in developing countries to seek work elsewhere, while developed countries have increased their demand for labour, especially unskilled labour. As a result, millions of workers and their families travel to countries other than their own to find work. At present there are approximately 175 million migrants around the world, roughly half of them workers (of these, around 15% are estimated to have an irregular status). Women make up almost half of migrants. Migrant workers contribute to the economies of their host countries, and the remittances they send home help to boost the economies of their countries of origin. Yet at the same time migrant workers often enjoy little social protection and are vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking. Skilled migrant workers are less vulnerable to exploitation, but their departure has deprived some developing countries of valuable labour needed for their own economies. ILO standards on migration provide tools for both migrant sending and receiving countries to manage migration flows and ensure adequate protection for this vulnerable category of workers. (Note 1)

Workers in Turkey face continuing repression

The last few years have been very tough for workers in Turkey with union busting at companies such asTurkish Airlines and Punto Deri. Georg Fischer Hakan Plastik, a global Swiss company, has now also embarked on this path as it has recently dismissed 37 workers for union related activities. This stand by the company has to be seen within the context of the social struggles of the last year where repression against activists has been widespread.

Chinese workers employed at Samsung win pay rise

As reported in a number of previous posts (see here and here) workers in China are starting to increase their demands for better pay and conditions. The latest case involves the giant electronic company Samsung, which in its home country of South Korea, is notoriously anti union and has a dismal OHS record. In the southern city of Dongguan, over 1,000 workers were able to win increases to overtime rates and subsidies after a short strike. In a move that is meant to forestall more industrial disputes, three major Chinese cities announced increases to minimum wages.

Toyota car workers in India strike for better wages

Over 4,000 car workers in the southern town of Bangalore have been fighting their employer over wages and conditions for the last three weeks. What started as a limited strike, was followed by a company lockout, and has now become a standoff with workers refusing to sign a company’s ‘good conduct’ agreement before going back to work. Union leaders have now started a hunger strike. This dispute is indicative of the ongoing push by global companies such as Toyota, into regions that have low wages and costs, but also of workers’ growing awareness of their role in the global economy and their opposition to the ‘Race to the bottom’. To be effective in fighting global companies like Toyota, the Indian Toyota workers need to organise industrial actions with Toyota workers in other countries.

Garment workers continue fighting in Cambodia and Bangladesh

The last couple of years have seen continued mobilisations and repression in both Bangladesh and Cambodia. In Bangladesh, as the one year anniversary of the massacre of Rana Plaza approaches, theglobal campaign for compensation for the victims continues. Just last week, Sumaya Khatun, a 16 year old who worked at the Tazreen factory, died from the after effects of the fire in that factory. In Cambodia, another mass fainting episode has occurred due to toxic chemicals in the workplace while unions arefinding new ways to keep up the campaign for a living wage and minimising the dangers of further government repression. Next week, some of the labour activists arrested in the January crackdown in Cambodia may be granted bail, while the fight to find the killers of murdered union leader Chea Vichea continues. Click here for video.

MALAYSIA:::Enforce Minimum Wage Law, Education Ministry Urged

Deputy Education Minister II P. Kamalanathan’s remarked on Saturday that the ministry was not responsible for salaries paid to the contract workers. Pic: The Malay MailDeputy Education Minister II P. Kamalanathan’s remarked on Saturday that the ministry was not responsible for salaries paid to the contract workers. Pic: The Malay MailPETALING JAYA: 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.
Khalid was commenting o