Monthly Archives: December 2011

International Training Workshop for Campaigners

The network organised ‘training for campaigners’ in Bangkok, 16-17 January 2004. Participants and resource persons were invited from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The training was designed first of all to offer practical information regarding the different aspects and issues of organising campaign as an integral part of monitoring process. To do so, a number of presentations have been made around the different dimensions of organising campaign, such as workers education (WAC), critical action research (AMRC), occupational health and safety (AMRC), corporate code of conduct (AMRC), web-campaign (AMRC), networking and fundraising (AMRC). The second aim of this training was to provide young campaigners with an opportunity to share their experiences in organising campaign. Thai Labour Campaign shared their experience in organising campaign and workers’ confidence-building throughout Bed & Bath campaign, the result of which appeared in the establishment of solidarity factory where workers enjoy more control over their labour. Korean House for International Solidarity presented the results of field research in Indonesia and their attempts to publicise in Korea the labour abuse cases by Korean capital abroad and moreover build up long-term solidarity with Indonesian workers struggling against Korean employers. Ching-jen Labour Health and Safety Service Centre also shared with other participants their campaigning strategy, drawing on its involvement in three labour disputes in Taiwanese-invested firms. The last session was allocated in putting all the strategies and ideas from participants into a group work designing a campaign plan in given hypothetical situations. Divided into three small groups, all participants had an opportunity to take part in the making of model campaign strategies and, by doing so, learn from different experiences.

Invitation

Happy new year!

It is great pleasure to invite you to our international training workshop for campaigners. This workshop aims first of all to offer practical methods and skills to enhance our TNC monitoring. This training programme will give an opportunity to learn from different experiences of field research, education, organising and campaigning. It is a part of AMRC’s attempts to make experiences in handling ATNCs in practice more available to unions, workers and monitoring groups. This time, we have been cooperating with Thai Labour Campaign to make it such an event that covers various dimensions of monitoring such as, research, education & training, campaign & action, publication, networking and others. Each session will reflect different elements of the monitoring process. Each session will include sharing experiences, group discussions, audio-visual presentation, groups work and learning by doing. We invited experienced campaigners and resource persons as well as young campaigners to this workshop. There will be no such a distinction between trainee and trainers so that they are all together engaging with each other. Participants are from Xiao Chen Workers Hotline in China (2), Thai Labour Campaign (6), Homenet Thailand (3), Wyman’s Agenda for Change in Cambodia(3), Korean House for International Solidarity (4) and Ching-jen Labor Health and Safety Centre (1), LIPS in Indonesia (2), Migrant workers group in Thailand (3) and AMRC (4).

Venue

Bangkok, 13-14 January 2003
Baan Siri Rama Place 
1546 Pattankarn Road, Suan-Luang, Bangkok, Thailand

After arriving at the Bangkok airport, take a meter taxi (just outside of the airport, do not take any deal offered by taxi companies in the airport) to Baan Siri Rama Place (show the address to the person in the taxi booth). Please confirm your participation by 7th January by emailingchang@amrc.org.hk

I’m looking forward to meeting you all in Bangkok.

In solidarity

5 January 2004
Dae-oup Chang
Research Coordinator
Asia Monitor Resource Centre

Morning Session: campaign and monitoring ATNCs

08:30 – 09:00     Registration
09:00 – 10:15    Opening & Introduction
Introduction to ATNC Network – Dae-oup Chang, AMRC
Issues in organising campaign in practice – Lek, Thai Labour Campaign
10:30 – 12:15    Monitoring TNCs in practice
Taiwanese TNC Monitoring, Tsai Chih-Chieh, Ching-jen Labour H&S Centre
Korean TNC Monitoring, Serapina Cha, Korean House for International Solidairity

12:15 – 12:30     Video Session – Wyman Agenda for Change

12:15 – 14:00     Lunch and Reimbursement

Afternoon session: Empowering Workers through Education

14:00-15:00    Empowering garment workers in Cambodia – Rosanna (WAC, Cambodia)
15:00 – 15:30     Group Discussion
15:30 – 16:00    Break
16:00 – 17:00     Occupational Safety and Health Education and Training for Workers – Sanjiv Pandita (AMRC)
17:00 – 17:30    Group Discussion

End of the First Day 

Day 2, 14th January

Morning Session: Research, Networking and Publication in Monitoring 

09:00 – 10:15    Action research & Research Methods (Interviews, Web-research, Document-based research) – May Wong and Dae-oup Chang
10:15 – 10:30    Break
10:30 – 11:30    Networking, Lobbying and Resource Generating: Apo Leong, AMRC
11:30 – 12:30      Developing campaign on the Web: Omana George, AMRC

12:30 – 14:00    Lunch and Reimbursement

Afternoon Session: Group work –How can we do campaign in practice?

14:00 – 15:30    Planning a campaign in practice
15:30 – 15:45    Break
15:45 – 17:00     Group Presentation and Sharing
17:00 – 17:30     Evaluation and Closing

Solidarity dinner and cultural night

End of the training

Host: Asia Monitor Resource Centre and Thai Labour Campaign

AMRC is an independent NGO, which focuses on Asian and Pacific labour concerns. The Centre provides information, research, publishing, training, labour networking and related services to trade unions, pro-labour groups, and other development NGOs in the region. AMRC’s main goal is to support democratic and independent labour movements in Asia and the Pacific. In order to achieve this goal, AMRC upholds the principles of workers’ empowerment and gender consciousness, and follows a participatory framework.

Thai Labour Campaign is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to promoting workers’ rights in Thailand and increasing awareness of labour issues globally. TLC was started in February of 2000 and is headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand. TLC takes up campaigns to support specific worker struggles for workplace rights. These campaigns include soliciting support for workers on a local level and helping to pressure company management and government and labour officials. This is often accomplished by soliciting international support and linking workers to international trade union, student and consumer movements.

Context

For the last two decades, foreign direct investment has been regarded as one of the primary tools both for national economic development and for more profitable business of TNC. In particular, Asian developing countries have received a large part of foreign direct investment (FDI) as many Asian late developing countries, such as the Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and subsequently China and other least developed countries like Cambodia and Sri Lanka, have been relying on FDI as a main financial resource for development. Consequently, FDI in Asian developing countries increased from $396 million in 1980 to $102,066 million in 2001.  The investment flow into these nations accounted for a mere 0.7% of the global FDI in the year of 1980. In 2001, FDI inflow to Asia’s growing economies accounts for 13.9% of whole FDI inflow , indicating Asia as a main destination of TNCs seeking for better investment opportunity. According to UNCTAD, approximately 460,000 foreign affiliates are in operation in Asia in 2001.

Growth of FDI flow changed the way in which developing countries organise their economic development. Developed countries increasingly pressured on the developing nations to liberalise foreign investment while the lack of financial resources in the developing nations and their desire to pursue fast capitalist development left no option for the nations other liberalising its regulation of direct investment. Development plans on the basis of official loans and government guaranteed bank loan became increasingly irrelevant and unrealisable. Finally sheer competitions between nations to attract more FDI are now shaping social structures in those developing countries, overshadowing other forms of national development plan. Accordingly, ‘most new measures by developing and transition economies reduced sectoral restrictions to foreign entry, or liberalised operations in industries earlier closed or restricted to FDI’ .

On top of this, the host countries of international investment introduce more and more deregulation of the labour market, relaxation of labour standard laws and creation of exemptions from labour law implementation, in response to investors’ call for more profitable environment. The most important logic supporting the actions for tighter labour control and/or more flexible and removable workforce has been made around ‘investors’ confidence’: firms and national economies will be getting into deep trouble if they undermine investors’ confidence. Indeed, it is the low social cost of exploitation that boosts the confidence in the profitability of investment. While foreign direct investment increased faster than ever before, a large number of the working population in developing countries from the 80s left with no legal and union protection. The consequence was a growth of global commodity or value chain , on the basis of the unity between liberalised capital from the West and deregulated labour practice in the South.

Asian transnational corporations play a particular role in this new global production chain. Foreign investment from Asian countries, not to mention that from Japan as a traditional main exporter of capital in Asia, significantly grew from $11.4 billion in 1990 to $49.4 billion in 1997. Even if the Asian economic crisis dramatically slowed down the outflow of capital from Asian developing countries, FDI flow from Asia has been recovering soon after the crisis and reached record-breaking $81 billion in 2000.  A significant part of Asian direct capital investment goes into Asia itself.  In other words, cross-boarder investment within Asian countries already became one of the major financial resources for business in Asia. Japan is the biggest investor in this intra-Asia direct investment, allocating 21 % of their $38 billion investment abroad to Asia-Pacific region in 2001.  While other Asian Newly Industrialising Economies (NIEs), such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea are following Japan by moving manufacturing sectors into developing countries in Asia, particularly in South East Asia and China, Asia’s developing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and even China, which is the biggest FDI receiving county by itself, also attempt to move particularly its labour intensive industries into other countries where social and institutional settings allow them to take advantage of favourable investment conditions. Another target of the Asian TNCs is Central America, where Asian TNCs can avoid trade barrier to the US market and at the same time enjoy cheap labour forces. As far as Asia and Central America function as a major source of ready-to-go labour force in the world, this trend seems to last for a while so that a proper protection for the workers employed by Asian TNCs is gaining importance more than ever before.

Subcontracted to brand names and retailers in the developed countries, Asian corporations are in many cases direct employers of the workers in the host countries. Asia’s cross-boarder investments impose particular nature of labour control and regulation on workers by implanting their own labour norms and regimes at the workplaces. First of all, with regard to the nature of industry that this foreign investment brings into the host countries, labour intensive and extra-exploitative nature of foreign-invested industries should be pointed out. As many literatures and reports on the labour problems in Asian TNCs-invested garment factories in Asia and elsewhere exposed, these garment producing corporations are mostly small and medium size firms, often located at the bottom of the supply chains.  Given the fact that the competitiveness of labour intensive and low-value added manufacturing relies on cutting labour cost rather than introducing effective means of production and these firms once escaped from their home countries in an attempt to reduce labour cost in their home countries, one would easily expect that these firms are the main players in the race to the bottom in deteriorating working conditions and wage. Because those companies exactly aim to reduce labour cost in the production process, it is almost inevitable for those companies to be reluctant to improve working conditions and wage.

There have been many attempts to enhance working conditions and wage in Asian TNCs particularly by anti-sweatshop movement’s attempt to pressure transnational corporations, big brand names and retailers in the West to enhance working conditions by implementing voluntary labour codes of conduct. However, although consumer-based campaigns brought some positive contributions to the improvement of working conditions in sweatshops in Asia, the sustainability of this improvement is questionable because it does not accompany rank-and-file workers’ participation and interaction between them and monitoring body. This undemocratic nature of monitoring process led us to believe that only the empowerment of workers eventually guarantees sustainability in improving workers’ living conditions. Focus on Asian Transnational Corporations (ATNCs) is important because it is in the ATNCs where workers are employed and attempt to organise themselves.

To develop a more democratic and participatory monitoring, AMRC is coordinating ‘Asian TNCs Monitoring Network’ that consists of 9 experienced labour organisations in 8 different countries in Asia while our 5 sub-regional researchers in East, South, and South East Asia, China and Central America are collecting wide range of information about the activity of ATNCs. ATNC Monitoring Network’s monitoring is designed to complement workers’ self-organisation by working with workers in every dimension of the monitoring process: research, campaign, education/training and publication.

The distinctive feature of our ‘monitoring’ will be firstly the fact that our monitoring develops out of a close relationship with the rank-and-file workers, with whom member organisations and researchers of ATNC Monitoring Network try to develop long-term supportive and interactive relations. Unlike much of the work and monitoring done by outside observers in cooperation with trade union officials and management, our monitoring is based on research materials gathered and written from inside by listening to workers’ voices as much as possible. Again, education and campaign programmes will be designed on the basis of the research resources. These also aim to bring our analysis of the information into the factory again. In doing so, we will seek to engage actively and critically with workers’ perception of what is happening in those firms, by sharing our feedback from outside. It is through this approach that we will achieve our final aim: enhancing workers living conditions by assisting workers to empower themselves. In short, our monitoring programme develops through continual interaction with workers in the process of identifying problems, short/long term action, education and training aiming to resolve the identified problems and publication of the gathered information and experiences of our network as well as workers.

  1. UNCTAD 2002, World Investment Report 2002: Transnational Corporations and Export Competitiveness, New York: United Nations
  2. UNCTAD Ibid.
  3. UNCTAD 2000, World Investment Report 2000: Cross-border Merges and Acquisitions and Development, New York: United Nations, p. 7
  4.  Jenkins, R. 2002, ‘Corporate Codes of Conduct: Self-regulation in a Global Economy’, in the United Nations Non-Governmental Laison Service (ed.) Voluntary Approaches to Corporate Responsibility: Reading and a Resource Guide, Geneva: NGLS, P. 15
  5. UNCTAD Ibid.
  6. ILO 1997, ‘Globalisation and Workers’ Right’,http://www.itcilo.it/english/actrav/telearn/global/ilo/default.htm
  7. ASEAN 2002, Statistics of Foreign Direct Investment in ASEAN: Comprehensive Data Set, Jakarta: ASEAN
  8. ARMC 2002 (ed.), Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring: Workshop Report 2002, Hong Kong: AMRC

ATNC Monitoring Network Appeal to Cambodian Government and Buyers, 16 September 2010

ATNC Monitoring Network Appeal to Cambodian Government and Buyers

16 September 2010

We express our strong support for the thousands of garment, textile and footwear workers in Cambodia who have begun a strike after exhaustive attempts in the last several months to negotiate with the government and Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) for a living wage.

We join CCAWDU and NIFTU in their contention that the new minimum wage

of US$61 and $56 (for regular and probationary workers respectively) is insufficient, and should be revised to US$93, which is the level that would bring the minimum wage to be living wage, one which complies with Article 104 of the Cambodian Labour law. Article 104 states that the wage must ensure every worker a decent standard of living compatible with human dignity.

Furthermore, the minimum wage should be adjusted from time to time in accordance

with changes in economic conditions and the cost of living, the revised level should not be fixed for four years as currently decided by the Labour Advisory Committee.

Wages below the minimum needed for decent living introduces whole families to vulnerability to child labour, illegal labour, malnutrition and health problems.

Garment workers’ wages have not risen to keep pace with inflation, much less the workers’ basic needs.

We urge the government as well as the company owners who are profiting from workers to fulfill the minimum demands of the Cambodian workers:

1. To increase the minimum wage to $ 93 per month

2. To increase other benefits such as:

– $2 work seniority annual allowance every year

– 1 hour over time food allowance of R1000 for every hour of OT worked

(US$1 = approx. R4,000)

– $10 attendance bonus per month

3. Wage increases should be provided to every worker

4. Request to negotiate or renegotiate on this wage issue once every year based on economic situation and the indispensable need of the workers.

In the 8 July meeting of the Labour Advisory Committee, attempts to adequately discuss and reach a consensus between the GMAC and the trade unions had not been exhausted which was the direct reason for the strong frustration and actions of the workers in protest to the new minimum wage much lower than what they demanded.

We strongly demand the Cambodian government to act strictly in accordance with the Cambodian Constitution Article 37 and the Cambodian Labour Law to protect the right of the trade union to use strike and demonstration to exert the legal rights of its members for collective bargaining and in wage negotiation. It is the duty of the Cambodian government, as a signatory country to the ILO Convention C98 to ensure that the collective bargaining on the minimum wage is undertaken without threats and retaliation against the trade union and workers’ representatives.

We note that there have been calls throughout the whole Asian region exposing the inadequacy of many countries’ and regions’ minimum wages, and the need and strong demand of workers for a living wage – a wage that can assure a decent living for workers and their families. The failures of governments to respond have led to mass actions in

Bangladesh, in Hong Kong, in South Korea, in China and other countries. In many places including China, significant wage increases have been granted by employers, showing that increases are indeed feasible without causing company closures.

As a group of labour unions and organizations in Asia which support and promote workers’ rights and justice for all, we intend to continue monitoring the Cambodian situation and joining our partner organizations CLC and CCAWDU in their calls for the solidarity of workers throughout Asia.

On behalf of

 

ATNC Monitoring Network, including:

Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong

Committee for Asian Women, Thailand

Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong

Korea House of International Solidarity, South Korea

Labor Education Advocacy Development Response Services (LEADER), Philippines

Labour Action China, Hong Kong

National Coalition on the Protection of Workers’ Rights, Philippines

National Free Trade Union, Sri Lanka

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Malaysia

Solidarity of Cavite Workers, Philippines

Workers Assistance Center, Philippines

Yokohama Action Research, Japan

RELEASE SOMYOT! IMMEDIATELY END THE STATE OF EMERGENCY AND MEDIA CENSORSHIP IN THAILAND!

Dear Mr. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,
 
We are a group of trade unions, labour organizations, human rights groups and concerned individuals.
 

We are writing to express our concern for Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, who was founder of the Center for Labour and International Solidarity Thailand (CLIST), an organization which in the past was a member of ATNC Monitoring Network and always a defender of Thai working people.

 

Somyot has been held in military barracks without getting charged since May 24th. We together with Clean Clothes Campaign which has also issued an appeal on his behalf, are seriously concerned about his health and safety.

 
We demand his immediate release and medical care provided by the Thai government, no later than June 13, as the Criminal Court in Bangkok has confirmed that there is no longer valid reason to detain him.
 

We strongly condemn his detainment without charges and without transparent legal process which has lasted over three weeks, and will monitor to ensure that no other pretexts are given by police to further detain him.

 

Furthermore, we strongly condemn the continuing state of emergency in Thailand and join Somyot and many other Thai groups in calling for an immediate end to the state of emergency and to media censorship and repression in all parts of Thailand.

<!–break–>

Background
Somyot was arrested together with Associate Professor Suthachai Yimprasert, after they presented themselves to the police when they heard of their arrest warrants.

Although they had been following events closely in their capacity as journalists and academics, neither of them are members of the Red Shirt core group.

According to the latest information we received Somyot was being held at Adisorn Army Base in Saraburi, 115km North of the capital Bangkok, and will be detained until at least 6 June. We understand that the Criminal Court and the Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) permitted his continuous detention until now, in violation of international human rights standards and national judicial law, with no charges were pressed against them, and no proper inquiry session during his detention.

 
The State of Emergency and media censorship

Although the battle in the center of Bangkok has ended, the government has continued to extend the state of emergency and block important independent and critical media including Prachatai. The charge against and detention of Somyot is a clear abuse of this extended state of emergency by the current Thai government.

 

As reported in The Nation, the Thai trade representive Kiat Sittheeamorn going to the World Economic Forum has said publicly that the state of emergency is still needed for a while, but that it would not hurt business or people’s way of life.Furthermore the government is instructing the tourism industry to ‘hard sell’ tourism in Thailand. This is a deep shame and outrage on all Thai people, to continue the pursuit of profits, which intentionally bases itself on repression of freedom of expression and ordinary people from their just demands for equality, a democratic government and freedom of expression.

 
Justice for the Crackdown

On May 25, 2010, we had sent a letter to the Thai authorities via the Thai Consulates in Hong Kong and Indonesia. We continue to hold those demands in addition to the above, and request the Thai government and Thai consulate to respond to us and to the public!

·        Immediately provide assistance and protection for all Thai people including those injured or bereaved due to the violent clashes

·        Appoint an independent commission to investigate the murder of innocent civilians by Thai military forces
·        Peacefully negotiate with the protesters, towards effecting a government with an elected mandate.

·        Protect the freedom of assembly, freedom of collective action and collective bargaining as universally recognized fundamental parts of a free democracy and fair society.


On behalf of
 

ATNC Monitoring Network

Asian Students Association

ATNC Network Letter to Honda Motors Co., Ltd. CEO, Mr. Takanobu Ito

Attention:

Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

President & CEO

Mr. Takanobu Ito


Dear Mr. Ito,

We have received information about the strike by workers at the Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co. in Foshan, China. We are informed that of more than 1,800 employees in the factory, 80 percent are student interns from technical schools, who are not protected by the labor law and whose wages are as low as 900 Yuan per month – below the minimum wage for the city. The interns are provided with only one meal a day and are charged for the cost of utilities connected with their lodging, reducing their earnings to only around 700 Yuan per month. Even after interns become regular employees, their wages are only 1,000 Yuan per month.

The workers went on strike to demand increased wages, yet during the negotiations the management has not shown good faith. The management has begun to force the interns to sign a “no more strikes” promise and has even mobilized some of the interns’ teachers and local government officials to exert pressure on the interns to go back to work on May 31. Throughout the process, the Honda official trade union has not provided any assistance for the striking workers, but urged them to resume production as soon as possible without regard for the resolution of the workers’ grievances and demands.

 

On May 31, your company in China continued to refuse negotiations. What is more, the local government together with the trade union, went to each team of workers and threatened with dismissal if they didn’t go back to work immediately. The worker representatives’ complained to us that about 200 men wearing union badges, attacked some 40 workers who insisted on continuing the strike. The assault led to multiple injuries and bleeding. We are shocked and outraged to learn that during the attack China Honda management did nothing to stop the assault on workers. We severely condemn such illegal acts of violence and Honda owes an apology to their workers.

You yourself reported in April 2010 that last year Honda’s sales achieved an all-time record of 580,000 units in China, the world’s largest automobile market. The workers of the factory are never able to afford one of the cars, which they are helping to produce by making auto parts. As the producing workers, they have a right to bargain for a greater share in the profits of the firm, and as management of a company originating in Japan, the management should respect the workers’ rights to free association and collective bargaining. The management should not shame itself by threatening and dismissing workers when they justly demand a greater share of the huge profits reaped by the company.

Rather, we hope that Honda management will lead the way in showing ‘harmonious relations’ with its workers, and we join the striking workers of Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in demanding the following:

  1. Take responsibility for failing to ensure the workers’ safety by allowing the union men to attack the workers on May 31 which resulted in casualty, and paying for their medical treatment and recovery.
  2. Accept workers’ demands for higher wages: a wage increase of 800 Yuan per month for all workers and a compensation subsidy of 100 Yuan for each additional year of service.
  3. Reorganization of the Honda company union – organize a re-election of the trade union chairman and officers so that workers may elect representatives who act in accordance with their interests.
  4. Reinstate the dismissed employees and impose no punishment for workers who joined the strikes.
  5. No retaliation against workers after the settlement of dispute.

 

Regards

 

 

 

May Wong, Globalization Monitor, Director 

Doris Lee, Asia Monitor Resource Centre

ATNC Monitoring Network, Coordinator


On behalf of:

Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong

Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Hong Kong

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, Hong Kong

Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, Hong Kong

Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation (CTSWF), Cambodia

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Malaysia

Workers Assistance Center, Inc., Philippines

Solidarity of Cavite Workers, Philippines

National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights – Southern Tagalog, Philippines

Labor Education Advocacy Development and Services and Research Institute, Philippines

Committee for Asian Women, Thailand

KASBI – Congress of Indonesia Unions Alliance, Indonesia

Focus on the Global South, Thailand


and

ATNC Monitoring Network

China Labour Net, Hong Kong

 

June 1, 2010

ATNC Statement of Solidarity with Thai people for democracy and against repression

The ATNC Monitoring Network is outraged by the blunt military crackdown of the Abhisit government against its people to end the political tie-up in Thailand. On April 10, the government used state forces to eject the protesters, instigating armed fighting by both sides and 24 were killed and more than 800 wounded. Between 13 and 17 May, according to the government at least 35 people were killed, all civilians, and at least 232 wounded. On May 19, the government stormed the barricades of the protesters with tanks and full weaponry. Until now more than 80 people have been killed and 2,000 injured, including civilians and international journalists.

We strongly condemn the government’s actions and use of live ammunitions against unarmed civilians.

One does not forget the bravery of the Thai people who since 1973 have been struggling for freedom, democracy, justice and equality with their lives. They are crushed once again by the ruling class, whether it is represented by the Thaksin, Sundaravej or Abhisit government, which masks its neo-liberal domination with parliamentary democracy. As a regional network of trade unions and labour organisations fighting against neo-liberalism and capitalist exploitation, we stand in support of all the working people and labourers in Thailand to fight for real democracy that will achieve political and economic justice for them rather than a ploy of the interests of the ruling class.

Despite the political divisions and tension, the civil society organisations, trade unions and NGOs in Thailand are struggling to give a voice for justice to the people and their struggle. We support their appeal telling the international community that:

  • Rather than amending the real social contradictions of the Thai economy, the military coup back in 2006 was an illegitimate curb on democracy in Thailand resulting in the aggravated political mobilisations that further divided the country; and
  • Beyond the political division and complications, the people’s demonstrations in Bangkok and other provinces are to express their legitimate frustration and grievances against the existing mode of parliamentary democracy dominated by the partisan interests of the ruling class; the Abhisit government’s use of military force and live ammunitions against the demonstrators is an outrage that must be condemned.

We are particularly concerned with the oppression against the civil society, freedom of speech and association that is likely to follow after the crackdown in the name of “anti-terrorism”. We strongly urge the Abhisit government to:

  • Immediately provide assistance and protection for all Thai people including those injured or bereaved due to the violent clashes
  • End the state of emergency and submit all government actions to the legal system and its checks and balances
  • Immediately end all restrictions of the media
  • Appoint an independent commission to investigate the murder of innocent civilians by Thai military forces
  • Peacefully negotiate with the protesters, towards effecting a government with an elected mandate.
  • Protect the freedom of assembly, freedom of collective action and collective bargaining as universally recognized fundamental parts of a free democracy and fair society.

 

We urge the international communities, trade unions and labour organisations to give solidarity to the struggle of the working people and labourers in Thailand.

ATNC Monitoring Network, May 20, 2010

www.atnc.org

 

Those who agree with the above are welcome to join ATNC Monitoring Network as signatories to the statement

We also wish to draw attention to the courage of Thai groups inside Thailand now who have also launched their own statements and appeals to call for peaceful and genuine resolution to the country’s political and economic problems. Among them is this statement, created by our partner in Thailand, Thai Labour Campaign:

http://www.petitiononline.com/10310/petition.html

ATNC members in Indonesia and Hong Kong will submit the statement at Thai consulate and demonstrate in solidarity for Thai people on Tuesday, May 25, 2010.

ATNC Joint Day of Action – Hong Kong protest at Korean and Philippines Consulates

Today in Hong Kong we conducted the ATNC Joint Day of Action against trade union repression in Asia – focusing on the South Korean Consulate and the Philippines Consulate.

In the South Korean Consulate where we went first, the Consulate office was shut down, security gate pulled down…but Consul-General Jun came out to listen to us. We spoke about the shame of an ILO and OECD member so systematic robbing workers of trade union rights, including stopping workers from forming unions, regarding press conferences as illegal, mass arrests and disciplinary measures against legitimate unions and strikes, such as by the Korean Teachers Union.

We condemned Samsung Corporation as one of the worst, with its ‘no-union policy’. We demanded justice and compensation for the victims of Samsung semiconductor factories who died or are ill from working at Samsung. We demanded justice for the dead leukemia victims like Hwang Yu-mi, who died at the young age of only 22 years, after working at Samsung just two years, cleaning wafers at Samsung Semiconductor.

SEE HERE FOR VIDEO “Workers in Samsung” (ENGLISH/CHINESE) –http://dotsub.com/view/user/workersinsamsun

We also condemned the Korean government for its inhumane crackdown on migrant workers in Korea. Furthermore the Korean Consulate in Hong Kong also shows disregard for migrant rights in Hong Kong – when Hong Kong people travel to Korea with their domestic workers, the Korean Consulate sends them a LETTER which says that it is ‘strongly recommended’ to HOLD the passport of the domestic worker to prevent becoming an undocumented migrant worker in Korea. This is illegal in Hong Kong yet the Korean Consulate itself issues letters to advise people to do so.

Consul-General Jun listened to us from the beginning and received our letter and said he would convey our message to his government and try to protect workers’ rights including migrant rights.

At the Philippines Consulate, we received a much less diplomatic reception. Through the police escort, the Consulate repeatedly tried to make us meet their representative at a location far from the Consulate.

Finally we went up but the Philippine Consulate was also shut down – door closed, security gates pulled down. We were told the Consul General Claro Cristobal was not present then, and nobody would come to receive our letter if we stayed. However we stayed to let all those who were there, about the extrajudicial killings, the use of ‘assumption of jurisidiction’ to justify use of police and military against workers simply trying to defend their rights or to strike….We expressed our strong solidarity with the workers of Nestle and Toyota, who have been striking so many years to demand their legal rights to collective bargaining and recognition – our sorrow for the two dead union leaders of Nestle who had been killed and our outrage.

Dolores Balladares of Asian Migrant Coordinating Body also spoke in Tagalog to the Filiipina migrant workers present, expressing that we all were assembled to show solidarity with Filipino workers, and that the Phlippines government was doing nothing while workers of Nestle and Toyota and many other workplaces are being threatened, beaten and even killed. She further condemned the Consulate for closing down and stopping services to migrant Filipina workers, simply to stop us from having our chance to raise our legitimate grievances!

Finally one staff came and collected our letter to pass to the Consul-General.

The groups who joined included: Asia Monitor Resource Centre, HK Confederation of Trade Unions, Globalization Monitor, Asian Migrant Coordinating Body, International League of People’s Struggles, Asian Students Assocation, Asian Human Rights Commission, Interfaith Coooperation Forum, and Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants. About 25 of us were there…

SEE THE PHOTOS HERE:http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/lenifish/ATNCJointDayOfActionMarch222010?feat=directlink

THANKS to everyone…. and we hope this is the beginning of further solidarity and cooperation among all concerned groups and individuals until workers in Asia are free to unite for their share in decision-making in the economy and workplace, without being repressed and attacked!

NO MORE TRADE UNION REPRESSION IN ASIA!! 

Solidarity to workers in South Korea! To those struggling against union-busting Samsung!
Solidarity to workers in Philippines! To the persevering workers at Nestle, Toyota and many other workplaces!
Solidarity to all workers in Asia – we will keep building up our voices and our strength!

ATNC Monitoring Network condemns the closure and layoffs of workers at Triumph International’s Plants

The Asian Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network (ATNC) strongly condemns the closure of the Triumph International Philippines factory inside the FTI Complex in Taguig City and the nearby Star Performance Incorporated as well, as the layoff of nearly 50% of the workforce in the Body Fashion Thailand (BFT), Triumph International’s Thai subsidiary. The ground reality Philippines: Effective July 9, 2009, 1,660 workers of Triumph International (Philippines) will be laid off from in its factories in FTI, Bicutan . Additonally Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is attempting to convince workers to accept the management’s offer of separation pay, despite the fact that the ompany openly announces its shifting operations to Region IVA or CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon). This relocation and hiring of new workers in the areas of relocation proves that economic crisis excuse for the layoffs is nothing short of a smoke screen. Thailand: Body Fashion (Thailand) Ltd.  (BFT) in Bang Pli, Samut Prakan province, a subsidiary of Triumph International Headquarters in Germany and Switzerland, manufactures and distributes women’s lingerie and swimwear.  After employing 4,200 workers for the past several years, the company has now suddenly announced a dramatic layoff of half of its workforce without advance notice. 1,930 employees, roughly half the factory’s workforce, are to be laid off effective August 28th.The company claims that it will pay the workers a severance pay in accordance to Thai laws but in reality the severance pay offered falls far short of the stipulated minimum by Thai law. The layoffs are also concentrated in those plants which have a militant, and strong union. The economic downturn and consequent reduction in sales and demand have been cited as reasons for the layoffs, however, the company has refused t provide details of their financial status to prove this. ATNC believes that these moves are blatant attempts on the part of Triumph International to gag and undermine the trade unions in these factories. The ruse of the financial crisis and its impact on the company is being used as a smoke screen, to enable Triumph International to relocate and through this neutralise the strong worker’s unions which have been demanding fair wages and better working conditions. It is our collective opinion that the economic downturn has not affected the company so drastically so as to justify such actions. If cost cutting is a concern for the company, it has many other ways to do so, particularly trimming off the bloated pay packets the top level management receive,instead of depriving thousands of their livelihoods. Triumph International has not only reneged on collective bargaining agreements it had entered into with the workers, but also shows scant regard for national laws. The millions in profit that have lined the pockets of the management and the investors have been through the blood, sweat and tears of workers in these factories. We demand that Unconditional reinstatement of all workers immediately stop the relocation of factories and production material The ATNC network stands in solidarity with the workers of Triumph International in this struggle.

 

To sign on the statement please click herehttp://www.gopetition.com/online/29350.html

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