Monthly Archives: September 2015

Understanding Capital Mobility and Global Production Networks (A Meeting Report)

This meeting report discussed the prospect of labour organising in Asia. The objectives of the meeting are (1) to provide a space for an exchange of knowledge and experiences between labour scholars and activists in the Asia on the issues of capital mobility, global production networks, and the current status of transnational corporations and their role in the region; (2) to identify the impact of the capital mobility and the global production networks on the marginalisation of the workers in the region; (3) to define areas for the labour movement in challenging the capital mobility and the global production networks, and to draw the priorities and strategies of labour organising in the region.

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Former Peer of Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Urges Him to Negotiate With Occupational Disease Victims

A French scholar who took an MBA course about 20 years ago in Japan with Lee Jae-yong (also known as “Jay)”, vice chairman and the heir apparent of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., urged Mr. Lee to negotiate with victims of the company’s occupational disease cluster. In an open letter posted on Facebook Sept. 14, Paul Jobin, associate professor…

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Training Manual – Workplace Hazards and Reproductive Health of Women Workers in China

This training manual was produced by China Labor Support Network (CLSN) for their training workshop on the Reproductive Health of Women workers in the garments and electronics manufacturing industries, mainly because of the higher concentration of women employees in these industries.
To facilitate further probing into and the unearthing of more dimensions on women workers’
reproductive health problems, this workshop also shed light on the applications of epidemiology
in this issue, together with some examples.
The manual draws on the Chinese context and includes specific statistics and regulations relevant to this context.
We hope that friends working with women workers and advocating gender equity can adapt it to their own contexts and benefit from it.

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Pay up Our Fair Compensation

2nd Year of Rana Plaza Tragedy: Status of Rana Plaza Victims: Compensation and Rehabilitation
“I do not understand why compensation amount differs from one victim to another and why was I paid less compensation than someone else who was not injured as seriously as I am. I know another worker who was not present on that tragic day but has received money” said Mr. Shafiqul Islam, Member of the Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions Accidents Victims Rights Network while he showed his right hand which was permanently disabled during the fire in addition to describing other severe injuries on his body.

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The development of the labour dispute in Mizutani, Disney’s Supplier

The development of the labour dispute in Mizutani (Shenzhen) Toy Factory Co. Ltd., Japan Disney’s supplier:

  • Mid 2014, the employer moved some machinery to its branch in the Philippines. Workers put out a notice, asking the enterprise to explain such a move but it was ignored.


  • Since October 2014, workers have been not required to work overtimes. Their monthly wages was 1,808 yuan and after deducting social insurance premiums, the income became very low. The less senior workers left the factory and the factory did not recruit new workers to replace them.


  • In the afternoon of 16 January 2015, workers launched a strike. At that time, their boss was not in China. Mr Mizutani negotiated with workers between 20 Jan and 22 Jan. He went missing again on 22 Jan.


  • On 24 January, the enterprise put out a notice, calling for a negotiation between workers and a consultancy, which represented the enterprise, on 26 Jan.


  • On 26 January, the negotiation failed and the enterprise posted a notice, demanding the workers to resume working before 30 Jan or they would be dismissed “for absenteeism”  without compensation.


  • On 30 January, a new round of negotiation reached mutual agreement.


  • On 31 January, workers resumed working


  • On 1 February, the workers’ representatives received a notice by fax, informing them that the compensation of each year’s services would be 1,000 yuan. The representatives did not believe that such a reply was coming from their boss. Some stated their objections and demanded the yearly compensation to be 1,808 yuan (the legal minimum wages). They signed and faxed their feedback to mr Mizutani.


  • On 2 February, other workers read the notice in the factory and were outraged. They protested in the streets outside the factory complex. Within minutes, police forced workers to return to the factory and detained 15 people on spot. Later the police detained another 6 people in the factory, including women workers who were injured in the clashes. A total of 21 workers were detained. Workers were forced by the police to delete all the photos they had taken.


  • At 2.30pm, the Japanese employer announced through an internet meeting, that he could only compensate workers their severance compensation on the basis of 300 yuan per year of services. He later offered 500 yuan  compensation per year of services but demanded workers to resign and a clear-cut termination of their labour relations.


  • 15 workers were released that evening, but the 6 workers who had been detained in the factory were held in custody.


  • On 3 February, one worker was released in the morning while the other 5 were administratively detained for 5 days. The labour bureau threatened workers that if they would not return to work the next day, the 5 workers would be detained for even longer. Workers could not stop the shipment that afternoon and to speed up the release of the 5 workers, they agreed to resume working the next day.


  • In April, workers wrote a joint-petition to complain about forced dismissal. The Walt Disney sent a facilitator to come up with an agreement with the enterprise.


  •  At 5pm, 18 June, the enterprise announced its closure, quoting business difficulties. It demanded workers to sign an agreement to terminate their labour relations by 12 noon the next day. The agreement claimed it was achieved on the basis of “unanimity through consultation”. Workers were also asked to move out from their dormitory before 23 June.


  • On 19 June, workers’ protest was in vain. All workers signed the agreement to terminate their labour relations. They identified some problems after receiving the severance payment. Workers’ representatives collected and compiled the workers’ demands and labour organization called for Disney’s intervention.


  • On 17 July, a Hong Kong NGO, Disney and Mizutani held a meeting.


  • On 5 August, Disney replied that it had found workers’ demands groundless after its investigation.


  • 7 August, Mizutani workers wrote to Disney, demanding it to compensate them on behalf of Mizutani, as follows:

1. Mizutani unilaterally terminated workers’ labour contracts. Legally speaking, it should pay a double-severance compensation and Disney should pay for the missing part of the compensation;


2. Mizutani closed the factory down without giving an one-month written notice prior closure, thus, it should compensate its workers one month’s wages;


3. Compensation should be calculated by wages payable (currently, the one month’s wages compensation is calculated by the average wages payable of the past 12 months, between June 2014 and May 2015), instead of the actual wages.


4. The missing premiums of workers’ social security insurance since their dates of commencement.


5. The missing contribution of workers’ housing provident fund since their dates of commencement.

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India strike hits normal life, coal output

A daylong nationwide strike impacted normal life on Wednesday in various parts of India with coal production, banking operations and transport services being hit the most, while violent clashes erupted in West Bengal resulting in arrest of more than 200 people.

Union leaders claimed more than 150 million organised sector workers went on strike, the call for which was given by 10 central trade unions against changes in labour laws and PSU privatisation along with their other demands. The Bharatiya Janata Party-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and NFITU, however, stayed away from the strike.

The impact was most visible in West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry and Odisha, while partial impact was seen in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Normal life was affected in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan as well, but there was not much impact in the country’s financial capital Mumbai except for the banking operations.

Banking services were among the worst hit as 23 public sector banks, 12 private sector banks, 52 regional rural banks and ore than 13,000 cooperative banks joined the stir. However, staff at the State Band of India, Indian Overseas Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank choose to stay away from the strike.

The All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary, C.H. Venkatachalam, said nearly 500,000 bank employees and officers joined the strike.

The state-run Coal India saw nearly half of its 1.7 million tonne daily production hit by the strike, as a majority of around 400,000 coal workers across the country joined the strike. Union leaders, however, said the impact could be 90 per cent at Coal India, which accounts for 80 per cent of the country’s total coal production.

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