Category Archives: Annual Meeting

ATNC and Inter-Asia Labour Solidarity – Campaign Meeting Minutes 18-20 May 2007 Hong Kong


ATNC and Inter-Asia Solidarity Campaign Roundtable
May 18-20, 2007
Hong Kong
Day 1 (18 May 2007)
Experiences & Practices in Inter-Asia solidarity campaign
 
Meeting starts with greetings from Elizabeth Tang (HKCTU) and Apo Leong (AMRC) followed by games and introduction of participants. In the introduction, Dae-oup Chang, Campaign Coordinator reviews and introduces ATNC Network’s campaign approach. Control and campaign over ATNCs has significance in terms of the sheer size of employed working people involved directly and indirectly in Asian investment in the region; as well as the production and circulation link ATNCs play between the developed and developing countries through exploitation of workers and mass production of cheap products. That serves to continually depress the living cost and wage level of people around the world.
Given that importance, however labour organising against ATNCs is restricted either by the so-called tradition form of ‘Asian’ trade unionism dominated by the Japanese model or the consumer power-led international solidarity model. Workers in the developing country play a very passive role as beneficiary rather than an actor. The network starts with attempting to challenge and explore new meanings and practices of labour solidarity.
In 2004, we proposed the Triangle Solidarity to the Olympics Campaign in attempt to put the fighting people of Asia in the centre of the international campaign for equal-base mutual support. It was not successful. In 2005, the ATNC network tried to define a long-term approach which is supporting workers in the local level through developing more concrete, more effective tools to regulate practices of ATNCs. These categorised tools inldue producing information about the 1) methods of organising, 2) developing inter-Asia exchange programs, 3) developing other social or legal method targeting run-away capital, and 4) exploring a better system for solidarity campaigns. The ATNC network members were consisted largely of NGOs in the beginning. So we invited most of the progressive unions in the region such as CCAWDU (Cambodia), KASBI (Indonesia), KCTU (Korea) and HKCTU (Hong Kong). By involving these progressive unions, we expanded our discussion to include that of integrating trade union strategies and agendas.
The aim of this meeting is very concrete. We don’t want to discuss statistics. At the end of the three day, what we want to have is a concrete action plan. Putting all these individual practices sporadically happening. Articulate these practices into strategy in one hand and into action plan on the other hand. How you organize workers, and how you actually communicate with northern group. What did you do actually from Northeast Asian perspective – Question is what did you do to organize social movement either workers or and how you reach out to certain group of solidarity.
Tono: How will you divide the group?
Dae-Oup: We can divide it now.
Elizabeth: Before we divide, are there any questions? We have two sets of questions:
  • receiving countries – Philippines, Cambodia
  • exporting countries – HK, Korea, Japan, Taiwan
    • Group 1: Exporting countries
      • Q: How do we organize support within our own countries to generate social and public opinions against capitals or TNCs from our own countries which invests in other Asian countries and exploit other Asian countries?
      • Q: How do we build solidarity so that we can have joint actions?
    • Group 2: Receiving countries
  • Group divisions:
    • A – Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Phil – APL, Thailand
    • B – Indonesia, Phil – WAC/NCPWR, Cambodia
    • C – the “Greater” China
    • D – Korea, Japan, Regional (TIE, CAW, AMRC, ALE)
KHIS
  • Since 2003, WAC and KHIS have been in partnership. While WAC sends many cases for KHIS, their options are limited. While they have also sent many appeal letters to corporations, no response was harboured. Then they moved on signature campaigns, again this failed. Some Korean media interested in the Philippines issues – NBC, CBS – broadcasting team went to Cavite to cover the situation. Some Korean general citizens watch the TV and recognize the issue but their interest does not move into solidarity or to support Filipino workers. Two years ago, we took signature campaign big rally time in November in Korea. We sent the signature to Cecille. The problem is not solved. Therefore last month, on May 1, we took the fund raising campaign in the May Day ceremony. At that time, some Korean workers who were interested in their fund raising campaign but KHIS was concerned about the fact that the problem is not solved.
  • KHIS find it difficult to reach this problem because organization is small and Korean civil society is small. When the Korean Broadcasting team pictures the workers’ struggle – but the feeling is like children in Africa (you see, you feel bad, you forget)
  • The problems:
    • Lack of resources
    • Nationalistic views – while progressive, they also have nationalistic views. Many Korean activists thought that international solidarity. Steel Korea is weak. Our company, our government, only see human rights from the outside but they don’t see their human rights by their companies. Overseas Korean Workers’ Problems. Phil say KCTU can’t see the problem that KHIS can see.
  • Plan:
    • Continuous activity with persistence
    • Build project team
    • Across the movement – TNC problem is worker’s problem, consumer versus workers’ movement = inter-changeable? Targets citizens who have good will. If the citizens have interest in starving issues and human rights issues. But labour issues are different. General citizens don’t accept labour right as human right. They don’t agree to the struggle of overseas companies.
  • Social Movement Forum – will be talking about overseas Korean companies and social movement problem.
  • Model –
    • Dae-Oup: what kind of model?
    • Phil: legal process, campaign, press release
    • Dae-Oup: model to handle individual dispute cases.
    • Dae-Oup: Even if you have a model and follows the steps, the success rate depends on the workers.
  • Signature campaign case – received 400 signatures from workers
  • But the basic problem is that they don’t know the situation or this issue
  • If the workers are aware of the situation, they are more likely to join the activity
  • Daewoo is a big company in Korea. Daewoo has a system of Korean. General Motors. Name has power in Korean society.
  • Sri Lanka case – a Korean manager closed down the factory and ran away.
  • Exception in certain articles in labour law – 3 or 4 years later – the government tried to reduce the exemption. EPZ. Threatened the government that if they withdraw. United capitalist. (Collective action)
  • Situation is the same in Cavite. Chong Wan union is …Philippine Labour Commission order that two companies should accept 2 labour unions. But Korean ignore Philippine Labour Commission, then hired the security guard and police disperse the workers but no body protects the workers’ rights. Police and security guards acted illegally and can’t protect no body.
  • Korean management ignores Philippine Law and civil society and even neglected buyers’ appeal.
  • Every time WAC and Philippine activist, they don’t have enough power because Korean investors have money and violence power (and hire gang). Local government support Korean investors.
  • Compare with other nationality factory, Korean company is worse. For example European accepts labour unions. But Korean Management do not think about them. “Ah Ja Shi” – ‘macho culture/mentality’, like drinking with young girl but they don’t have human life sensitivity. They always abuse human rights of female workers. Therefore Filipino workers have special emotions with Korean managers.
  • Korean form of exploitation appears in a primitive form.
  • KHIS targets small-medium sized companies – human rights –
  • Even if DOLE order investors to union, ignore – legitimacy disputes. Some union members give up KHIS membership. Delay time and time and then cancel. People give up.
  • No rule of law. Korean and foreign investors control the laws.
  • Japan – filed case for the violation of OECD guideline against the Japanese Government
  • Korea – took 2 years to be accepted.
  • Tono:  OECD is the only way to fight parent companies.
KCTU 

 

  • Conducted field research on Korean TNCs in cooperation with Democratic Labour Party
  • Field research on Samsung Thailand, Malaysia
  • Korean construction company in Philippines, Malaysia
  • Garment in Vietnam
  • Many Korean do not know about the reality about so KCTU publishes this reality and used the national assembly. The local press – assembly members – we released our result through the national assembly but the follow up steps on field research is not being done well
  • From this year, KCTU is starting to publish a newsletter on overseas labour movement and situation to the KCTU members. This is a monthly newspapers and a tribute to all KCTU members. Through this newsletter, we are introducing the specific cases to violate labour rights and abuse of human rights held in overseas. Hope that KCTU members become more influential.
  • KCTU still have no clear idea how to cooperate with conference and labour NGO in dealing with this issue. In case of a case, a few years ago approached KHIS in how to cooperate in dealing with this issue. In 2003, KCTU conducted a field research with KHIS, also the labour rights situation in south East Asia. 2003 then 2005. Also the style of operation is little bit different between KCTU and KHIS.
  • FTA struggle is a more general case. This is the TNC case.
  • Call on congress not to ratify the proposed FTA
  • Rengo’s position is not opposed to Korea-Japan FTA but opposed to the linkage between FTA and labour rights. If labour rights provision incorporated in FTA, then they will be able to accept the FTA. This is the traditional position.
  • We cannot accept the FTA even if the labour rights provision in included because FTA will decrease the jobs and rights of workers and will only pose many problems for workers. That’s why we oppose the Korea-Japan FTA. The first level, in case of Rengo, we approached Rengo – but their statement was incomplete so we had to stop the negotiation
  • They also opposed the NAFTA model, but Korea-US FTA completely followed the NAFTA model.
  • So we reached an agreement to moratorium the FTA negotiations.
  • The first joint statement was released during the first round of the official negotiation in June last year. That’s the first time for the CIO? To demand the moratorium negotiation. We must first see the result of the negotiation, then review, and then decide the decision. However, in case of Korea-US FTA, due to the experience of NAFTA, they agreed to release a more radical position on free trade agreement.
Q1: How did you mobilise/organise campaigns against ATNC in your country?
  • Contacting and formation of concerned group. In case of Toyota campaign, YCM – individual contact – initiation of formation of concerned group – visiting Philippines – Protest Toyota Campaign – APWSL, JAWN, Zenrosen joined.
  • Cross-visiting (Toyota)
  • Yamamoto case: Korean union – Zentoitsu (a very active community union that is also organising Korean migrant workers in Japan)
  • Visiting struggle by workers from company with disputes (Yamamoto)
  • Send letter to global union to support the campaign (Toyota): led to global campaign in spite of reluctance of local confederation that is under the influence of Toyota Union
  • Union-Union support in Citizens (watch maker) cases: Japanese counterpart was not yellow. This led to more successful end.
  • Help to prepare file a case in ILO (led to ILO recommendation)
  • Many cases from a same region (Masan area in 1989 and 1990, cases of Sumida, etc) created a connection between workers group in Masan and Zentoitsu.
  • Japan-Korea Network
  • Japan-Korea FTA
  • An organisation exclusively dealing with labour problems in their own TNCs in other countries.
  • Tackle the group “business association” “investment Association”
  • Regular update on labour in ATNC to the members of their own union (KCTU started, KHIS)
  • Comprehensive field research
  • Working with progressive political party
  • OECD – rather raising the awareness
  • Anti-FTA struggles/ mobilisation
  • Difficult in organising media action
  • Sympathetic view only, temporary
  • Labour rights / human rights
  • Media afraid of showing dark side of big company
  • A day of action – progressive unions and activists give protest visit to the factories with dispute (Toyota, Yamamoto ec, workers from the disputed overseas company also joined.)
  • Circulating protest letters (Toyota)
Q2: How did you cooperate with the counterpart in capital importing/exporting countries?
  • Korea-Japan long history of term collaboration and solidarity, starting from Japanese supporters for political prisoners in Korea during the military regime
  • Anti-FTA struggles together with the counter part (KCTU-Japanese progressive unions)
III. Group Reporting
Group A:
Sri Lanka
 
  • 14 FTZ
  • Issues
    • Freedom of association
    • Living wage
  • Campaign method
    • Utilising international instrument like ILO complain mechanism, OECD guideline, European Commission, Code of Conduct (Nike)
    • Struggling to unionize by conducting secret ballot in employee council (employer-formed organization for workers)
    • Campaign against dismissal at ATNCs owned by Pakistani and Malaysia-Singapore.
Thailand (eastern Thailand)
  • Issues
    • Outsourcing and contract workers at auto and garment industry (Toyota outsourcing company)
  • Campaign method
    • Demonstration in front of embassy building (eg. Korean company – workers will have demonstration in front of Hong Kong Embassy)
Philippines
  • Campaign against TNCs is done together with GUF (Global Union Federation)
  • Campaign to support workers in other country like Cambodia, to support strike in Korea
  • Difficulties in liking up with unions from other countries
    • Language
    • Time – workers from ATNCs countries are not really organized
  • Other factors affecting campaign
    • media bias
    • repression against trade union
    • legal restriction
    • corruption, policy bias (tend to advantage TNCs of labour ministry/government
  • Strategy of campaign media bias and campaign
    • publication like flyers disturbed at crowed spot
    • networking with workers
    • internal publication and networking with the media
Group B:  
Cambodia
Response to Q1:
  • provide case studies – like Olympic Campaigns 2004
  • campaign within Cambodia
  • workers’ exchange with triangle solidarity
  • monitoring of individual cases (eg. Gina, etc.)
    • interview workers
    • facilitate negotiations with employers: (HK employer + GAP)
    • follow-up
Response to Q2:
  • cooperation with NEA & SEA in relation to case and coordinate with AMRC and TLC
Indonesia
Response to Q1:
  • Need granite (Malaysian-owned) 2004
    • 180 workers
    • company closed
    • lesson: other employers are afraid of sanctions & company opened a new name
  • FSPKET (member of ICEM)
    • One way of channelling the campaign through the ICEM
    • By employing or making use of the OECD guidelines
    • An achievement – will discuss campaign strategies in the Asia-Pacific Convention (June 2007)
Philippines
Response to Q1:
  • Cavite – Chong Won (Korean owned)
    • Information gathering through the workers – ownership issues
    • Campaign planning with the unions & Solidarity of Cavite Workers
    • Preparations for the implementation
      • Coordinating with local and international networks
      • Gathering strike fund
    • implementation – campaign starts (Aug 2006 – picket protest; strike commenced 26 September 2006)
    • creating public opinion through media and international network
    • strike in two areas – a strategy to distract police attraction
    • women physically harassed – filed with courts now
    • acquired good media mileage – American Chamber of Commerce spoke about the issue; issue covered in national news
    • dialogues – some workers had dialogue in US with Wal-Mart
    • Marlon said that Wal-Mart issues a memo (what is the content of the memo? when?)
  • NCPWR
    • Fashion House Garment – no union
    • Unlike Toyota & Nissan – they have union
    • Drafted the campaign and concept which includes who are the mobilising? What are the worker’s alliances? What are the machineries that they need to put up for the campaign (e.g. they have quick reaction team (QRT), paralegal, committee on documentation and research, legal services/lawyers, education, international network, finance.
    • Then after the drafting, we go to the unification/meetings at different levels
      • Local workers are the most important factor in winning the case or campaign
      • We have alliance meetings, committee meetings
      • Networking
    • then we implement
      • strikes
      • filing of cases – local and internationally
      • get support from the community
    • monitoring, evaluation, assessments
      • exchange programs
      • moral pressures – able to file cases in the Permanent People’s Tribunal against the Arroyo Government
    • aim to create or uplift political activism
Response to Q2:
  • coordination of campaigns through ATNC/AMRC and other organisation, unions & NGOs
  • Forms
    • Protest – letter signing
    • Protest actions/rallies to company offices, embassies, consulates
    • Entertaining/facilitating exposure
    • Sending workers to other countries on speaking engagements and support/ resources
    • Formation of campaign-based organization (e.g. Protest Toyota Campaign)
    • Posting at Labour Start
Group C:
Taiwan
 
  • we try to cooperate with unions and student groups
  • our objective includes the Taiwan Government because Taiwanese government supports Taiwan companies by providing incentives to operate in Central America
  • we protest outside of the Taiwanese headquarters to show disgust with Taiwanese operation abroad
  • because the workers in a remote location like Central America, there are communication problems (amongst?)
Hong Kong
 
  • Inter-greater China – how we are trying to move on towards identifying ways…there is a case that happened in Mainland China in the jewellery industry. It happened that these workers acquired Silicosis. It so happened that inter-solidarity/workers are already organising themselves to claim compensation and to lodge a petition with the Central government but it failed because the company absconded and also employee-employer relationship could not be established.
  • So we mobilise the HKCTU and labour NGOs. The first stage involved protest actions and by flying victims into Hong Kong.
  • Besides individual companies, we tried whether trade associations could be our targets to pursue the issue in a collective manner. We tried with the LegCo. (What’s the outcome?)
  • Concluded that the trade association is useless.
  • Then identified that the only semi-public institution which is promoting trade…- HKTDC. We moved on Chinese workers and local workers to move on to pressure the HKTDC. Instead of compensation, demanded inclusion of labour clause in exhibition guidelines. (mechanism to handle complaints, disciplinary mechanisms)
  • Also targeted HKTDC’s counterpart in Switzerland.
  • macro mechanism to be develop
  • direct access to Silicosis victims
  • supports include providing paralegal support, organizing victims’ family and victim’s children’s education
  • one of the issues that came up during the discussion was the issue about the demanding/how to put pressure against the government
  • the difficulty in transparency questions – how to conduct research especially in the case of reshuffling investments by companies
  • they are not really going bankrupt but are reshufflings
  • also HK and Taiwanese investments are registered in other countries like in Cayman Island
  • corporate information gathering
Group D:
Question 1: How did you mobilise/organize campaign in your own country?
  • Discussion went back to the time when Korea was still a developing country. Also a discussion from KHIS and WAC.
  • Number one thing which is interesting to see. Snowballing effect.
  • YCM – individual contact in Japan
  • Concern group visit Philippines
  • In the mean time, group like APWSL Japan, JAWN, Zenrosen joined force – nice snowballing
  • This is an illustration as to how they mobilise
  • Different cases for example, Yamamoto which is a Japanese company which has branch in Korea. In this case the Korean Union directly contacted a union called Zentoitsu. Then Zentoitsu is a community union who is experienced in organizing Korean migrant workers.
  • There is one interesting form of action called the day of action. Unions and activsts pay visit to notorious companies in one day. For example, they visit Toyota and Yamamoto.
  • This determined action of these countries of disputed firm
  • A number of good points to learn for example – regular update either in the form of a newsletter or flyer – focusing on ATNC issues
  • For example, KCTU is doing this
  • KHIS also has regular publication
  • Comprehensive field research by KCTU can also be learned and adopted
  • KHIS has also done signature campaign in workers’ rallies – in November Rally and fund raising for Filipino workers in May Day rally. Of course this can only happen in countries where TU can survive by themselves
  • Also the usual thing like press release
Question 2: How did you cooperate with workers in the capital importing country?
  • There is already an established supporting relation between Korea and Japan
  • For example many cases for the same region – in 1989 and 1990 – there were a lot of cases of companies closing down – this is the era where many dispute cases
  • As a result of this – Masan -Zentoitsu network– pretty much like a regional inter-trade union was set up
  • Since 2003, WAC and KHIS have developed a supportive relationship (a case of organization-organization = stable relation)
  • Help a company union to file a case with ILO
  • One of the frequently use methodology is the protest-tour campaign?
  • Finally, what is the most important point of all those is – how strong the local groups can hold together? While the campaign goes on, the locals must use or strengthen the local unions than calling international unions/ILO.
Day 2
METHODS FROM PRACTICES à A SYSTEM OF ATNC CAMPAIGN
Can we complete a system?
On-going
A
C
T
I
O
N
P
L
A
N
Cases of intervention
Importing
Exporting
Together
Importing
Exporting
Others
Info Provision
Regular update
M/G
Bilateral
– links
appeal
Echoing
Education
Member/Public Education
Reg-Reg
“coordinating body”: resp for unified fact sheet, research
standby
Mass action/movement
Mass action/movement
Protest visit
Day of Action
Social Forum
Org-Org
Fund raising
Fund raising
WTO
Understand Partic Bus Practices
Protest letter
Protest letter
Protest letter
FTA
Info processing
Int’l Orgs
Signature campaign
Protest letter
Pressuring business association
“campaigners”—none of us have f/t one
Social charter
Coordinating & Processing and Disseminating Information
Josua: Suggested to add – GUF and other international tools in the chart
Marlon: Suggested to add – mass action or mass movement in the chart
Josua: Suggested that we should identify the difficulties in forming linkages (eg. Far easier to form linkages between Philippines and European trade unions because resources about them are available and accessible)
Marlon: Let’s limit our discussion to Asia. Let’s leave the Western discussion because this is an ATNC or inter-Asia meeting.
Dae-Oup: Let’s focus on inter-Asian method.
Identified Challenges/Difficulties
  • Language
  • ResourcesàHR
  • Information: lack/too much; quantity; language
International Tools
  • Guidelines
  • GUF/ITUC/ILO
Coordinating & Processing & Disseminating Information
1. A simple, easy-to-understand correct comprehensive and unified Fact Sheet: template – exact form?
  • Commitment to take up the campaign.
  • Processing, localizing: general, detailed
2. Centralized (national level) way to disseminate info– who? Bilateral connections may continue but among ourselves we should have some people identified as coordination points.
3. National info coordinator – who? Exact form? Coordinating Body? National coordinator processes at national level first.
Coordination at network level – two way interactions. Info in and feedback, both ways. But if we need model of action, our focus should be on Asia but not necessarily exclude non-Asian actors
Das: we completely lack inter-Asian solidarity. We need this first in order to act together. We tend to appeal-react-appeal (except for international day of action)
Dae-Oup: how about coordinating mechanism
  • Fundraising: would be one way of overcoming resources problem
  • Cultural dimension of management practices.
Tono: When Philippine issue comes to Japan the systems are different. Therefore, we need a simple fact sheet. This is first step.
Cecille: Want to know how non-English groups are processing their appeals/information.
Elizabeth: So how to pool resources to get work done?
Dae-Oup: We need a system for automatic reaction by all. Not ad hoc.
Tono: Let’s try first with present campaigns (WAC, Sri Lanka, Japan, HK campaigns)
Dae-Oup: Let’s focus to what’s on the banner “ATNC and Inter-Asia Solidarity and Campaign Roundtable”. Look at the concept paper and you will see the identified concrete methods to realise the strategies included:
1.      Producing information about methods to organizing informal labour in the workplace and community
2.      developing and promoting inter-Asia labour education and exchange programmes
3.      developing (legal) methods to tackle run away capital
4.      Systemising inter-Asia (furthermore international) solidarity campaign mechanism, which is based more on workers’ solidarity than consumer leverage relying on corporate codes of conduct. These are replicated in the model or chart.
Monina: Let’s aim before lunch to complete the matrix. If there are certain things from here that you think are important and needs elaboration so that tomorrow we can be more specific towards a commitment and planning.
Marlon: a simple, easy fact sheet (who’s the owner of the company, country of origin, background, what are the issues that affects workers, number of workers, kinds and forms of campaigns that we would like to reach) – then receiving country and checklist what they can do and this will be the concept paper of the whole campaign
Yasuda: Will process the info, but there should be two levels of info system: organization level (more detailed but still attractive) and general public. Also need to reduce translation time or system won’t work.
Lucia: The information must be brief. There should also be an instruction as to what to do with the information. We need everyone’s commitment – i.e., even if you are not involved, you recognize the value for solidarity. Need one person in each organization that will disseminate internally and in the national public and follow up with action.
Changeun: Who knows possibility of systematic, centralized; so let’s have plan B which is decentralized. For KCTU, the information is very important. Please send to KCTU; we’ll do our best to respond. But let’s keep searching for ways to facilitate effective mutual response.
Dae-Oup: plan B is already in place, happening unevenly, not on commitment basis. We have previously tried to update with regional perspective. But the information that comes in lacks full detail and facts. Each case has different levels of factualness. So if you have template, coordinator doesn’t need to chase facts.
Dass: narrow group of campaigns?
Dae-Oup: only 10 at any given time.
Marlon: We need a centralized coordinator. Central one to prioritize campaign, organize translation (which should have a team).
Changeun: Info dissemination—not the problem, already occurring. The next step is commitment by way of response – action.
Dae-Oup: need tools to maintain commitment.
KHIS: wants issue to go to ATNC, then ATNC gather people to issue joint statement
Lucia: in sum we need a person; we need resources. I.e., not loose coordinating body.
Changeun: National coordination not always possible (politics, local dynamics). E.g., Korea case is OK. Case by case. But other countries? ATNC very important for KCTU. ATNC is space, not just coordinating body.
Monina: National coordinator, not easy to deal with but let’s go with it. Let’s take time to work it out. (next two days)
Dae-Oup: Let’s take network approach. Centralized way is not a must.
Laiha: There are at least 2 types of information. 1) let others know of local actions, strikes. 2) Database type info. For this, we need a fixed format (like form fields). Consider an intranet. Amendable by all. Searchable by keyword. If info comes in in large volume, it is hard to read all so we need it to be briefly summarized with hyperlinks.
Monina: Moving on to Social Charter. In August 2006, we took on the task of coordinating a campaign. We met several times to work out – how to widen the alliance, consolidate network building; what model to use for ATNC campaign. Involved were: HK Trade Unions, AMRC, LAC, GM, AIHK, SACOM.
Three proposals from HK groups:
1.      Social charter (admittedly controversial phrase)—a process and platform more than static document. For building alliance within region.
2.      Regulation Asian mobile capital
3.      Mobilizing public support.
Immediate target: social organizations. To get them in the process.
Clarifications on the social charter:
  1. Unlike Corp Codes of Conducts, this document originated by TUs and labour organizations in both capital exporting and importing countries. Bottom-up.
  2. Not a monitoring tool. Action mechanism to be developed.
  3. To be discussed in an alliance building process. Tool to generate discussion & collaboration. To pressure companies and government through the action mechanism. May not be co-opted by TNCs.
Dae-Oup: we are careful, hence so many “we are….rather than [European social charter, World Bank best practices, etc.]”.
Phil: All social charters are missing enforcement. Still don’t get why we have social charter.
Marlon: Charter is a method or position paper that requires endorsement? If it’s method, process of building charter should’ve been in regular session of ATNC
Dae-Oup: “Social charter” is a position paper in the form of a charter.
Marlon: OK but this implies a certain amount of development by ATNC. Question: is our network ready to do this; are we a ready solid body. Capitalist will say who the hell are you?
Monina: yes, it’s a long process. So we want to start now. In the process of getting ready…we will face these organizational issues … Thus social charter may be useful in that sense. Getting ourselves and others ready. Hope that this gets discussed by more and more.
Josua: This is good like ILO etc. But difference is generated by worker orgs. We build up our own pressure, and capacities (ideological et al.). Ambitious but worth devoting energy.
Ida: Mission same as all others. Social charter a bit confusing (English issue). Agree with idea. But too much strategy—difficult to agree—need too much time to understand. Draft charter very difficult esp. for bottom staff.
Monina: how to get it understood and identified with by all the workers….common problem for all of us probably.
Lucia: the charter answers why. Our common points. This documents our common points. So how can we “own” it (when it was not drafted jointly).
Dae-Oup: this is a collection (distillation) of our slogans and demands from a number of campaigns. These have all been argued at some point in some campaign against ATNC.
We can change the usage. E.g., discuss in small group how much we agree; in annual conference, see what to do with it. Dump it. Or publish it; show our identity.
Small groups: bring out all questions. Answer: what is the usefulness of this paper. Only then, proceed to endorsing, etc.
Continuation of group discussion (group D goes first):
Group D
1.      Content
2.      Change name
3.      Adopt at ATNC annual conference. Then use as living document that is continuously revised (hopefully). Can be used in campaigns education, act as reference point.
Group C
1.      We like the paper.
2.      It should be called Statement. State what ATNC should be.
3.      Should be used for building alliances, solidarity.
4.      Use for internal discussion but also in process amend/improve content.
5.      Delegate work NOW to working groups.
Group B
1.      Discuss SC first at national level
2.      Paper should be binding to all ATNC network after formalized
3.      Usefulness? Not be binding to all now. But be our common platform.
4.      Enough that each national group have their agreed constitution.
5.      Preamble should include “the spirit of internationalism”
Group A 
1. SC useful because it clarifies what we want, it raises awareness of ATNC and internationalism and help build linkages internationally and nationally, it can be used as a future policy instrument.
2. Need to popularize/localize to make it more useful.
3. Need to clarify terms that can be misused by enemies. For example: “Workers representative bodies.”—E.g., such can be claimed by legal counsel. “Effective use of users (?) and workers”; Statement; proclamation; declaration; Charter; contract; pact
Monina’s recap on the discussion on the proposed Social Charter:
  • Generally accepted as tool subject to a reconsideration of the title
  • The process of formalizing: discuss with partners at national level, compile opinions, revise. To be synthesized by national coordinators.
  • Finalizing: come back to it in August (29-30 August 2007) conference to continue it (minority: revise it BY August and adopt in August)
  • Committee/group to follow up
Discussion:
  • Name issue. “Statement” agreed by 3/4 groups. Abandon “Charter.” Interim: Statement of ATNC Network.
  • Marlon: between Steps 2-3, have national coordinator to synthesize, push agreement forward. DO: 9-10 national coordinators; need resources; may e-chat, skype; propose: principle of minimum revision; change only where needed.
  • Changeun: what’s the agenda for annual ATNC? We don’t need to meet so often. What can we do in 3 months? Let working group (HK?) deal with SC, but not the whole ATNC meeting. ATNC meeting: reflect on implementation of action plan (which we will decide upon tomorrow), share common experiences, develop common expertise. How about just meet every 2 years. Don’t agree to meet just for social charter. Let us use the physical time together well. Have about 1 year implementation period. Q: what is this conference? This is Campaign strategies meeting.
  • Elizabeth: suggest giving it 6 months. National contact people synthesize and present after 6 mo. Agree: don’t meet in August; just deal with national issues.
  • Dae-Oup: Campaign, Research, Education (also administration etc) parts…all need discussion. This conference re: Campaign. SC is outgrowth of Campaign meeting discussions.
  • At August ATNC meeting, feedback will be presented (and then we’ll know how long until final consensus reached)
Day 3
Group division:
Group A
Group B
Group C
1.       Phil
2.       Choi
3.       Tsai
4.       Cecille
5.       Yuki
6.       Ida
7.       Dass
8.       Monina
1.       Marlon
2.       Tono
3.       Sastro
4.       Laiha
5.       Puiling
6.       Tien
7.       Socheata
8.       Lucia
9.       Chang Gun
10.   Sigrid
1.       Elizabeth
2.       Josua
3.       Jerry
4.       Ah Nan
5.       Yong
6.       Bunyuen
7.       Dae-Oup
8.       Wulan
9.       Marmin
Agenda for one-hour group discussion:
1.      What kind of issues or agendas to be address for ATNC action plan?
2.      How to implement/how to do that (elaborate in concrete terms)?
A.      National level
B.       Regional level
C.      Global level
Dae-Oup:  For the discussion, think about how are we going to regularly update? How Indonesia and Philippines can regularly update Korea and Japan? Right now, we have three circles – Research circle, campaign circle, and education circle. In addition to these circles, we have national contacts scattered around. The people are here today by and large belong to the campaign circle. We also invited new partners who we believe are important actors. Campaign circle has been preparing for this meeting for 6 months after we decided to push forward our campaign initiative in 2005 annual conference, we have discussed 5-6 times within HK on how we are going to proceed with this. Today this is our turning point as to how we can turn this meeting into action points. At the moment, research group is doing research in a number of countries about new ways in organizing informal workers. All new initiative in organizing (either informalize or informal workers in the informal sector). Plan is to finish the research before the annual meeting.
Group discussion reports:
Group A
1.      Fact sheets to disseminate to all participants.
2.      Political killing in the Philippines is a very serious now. Therefore when we go back to our country, we will conduct a protest action in the Philippine Embassy in our own country.
3.      Fix the ATNC homepage problem.
4.      Bali Hotel industry to publicize the ATNC issues to tourists
Group B
1.      Feasibility of bringing test cases in terms of research – regulate the loopholes in the existing investment laws
2.      Multilateral and bilateral campaign in the Asian region
A.      Flexibilisation, outsourcing, contractualisation, informalisation of labour
B.       Yamaha case in Indonesia. Cambodia garment
C.      FTA
3.      Philippine trade union – to clear the tainted name of unions labelled as “terrorists” and assist in repealing the Human Security Act (which will be in place in July 2007)
4.      Nationally:
A.      Indonesia & Cambodia will disseminate company profiles
B.       Hong Kong requires to fund raise for a translator
C.      High-tech petition system (to be done by HK)
5.      Regionally:
A.      Group mailing
B.       Reactivate blog
C.      Fund raise for an ATNC information processing coordinator
D.      Day of Action (possibly on May Day, International Human Rights Day, International Migrants Day)
6.      Globally:
A.      In relation to political killings in the Philippines – signature campaigns to be submitted to UNCHR, Amnesty International and ILO
7.      Official statement from ATNC condemning the political killing
Group C
1.      Day of regional action against companies that exist in the countries as many as possible
2.      Integrate with national campaign and national mobilisation
3.      Identify the 10 worst case of ATNC – have to be connected to organising work of unions
4.      Fact sheet
5.      Guidelines steps to do it
6.      ANTC partners to help and support to enterprise unions & workers in collecting information
7.      Education
8.      Link between members and partners (hyperlinks)
Plenary:
Lee:         Conclusion in each groups are very similar. We can categorize the common issues:
1.      Information processing
A.      Blog/website with mutual linkages/hyper linking
B.       Address TNC issues/updates in your organization’s website, newsletter
C.      Emailing list circulate by way of list-serve (to be done by LAC & HKCTU)
D.      Concise fact sheet
                                     i.              Dae-Oup to do a unified/standard form
                                   ii.              National coordination?
                                  iii.              Make use of fact sheet at local level? Skills training guidelines.
                                 iv.              Lucia suggested: put fact sheet in your on website
2.      Action
A.      Reg. Day of Action against 10 worst cases
(Purpose/discuss what cases, mobilisation plan/time in annual meeting)
                                     i.              Lee: this is a good suggestion but what about the implementation?
                                   ii.              Sastro: flexibilisation should be included in day of action
                                  iii.              Josua: suggested to give ATNC network one-year to prepare; including coming up with a criteria in identifying what is considered as the 10 worst cases?
B.       Signature campaign
3.      Urgent appeals – Political killings in the Philippines – what can we do right now?
A.      To organize an action against political killings (August 29)
                                     i.              Lee: format would differ – protest letter, press conference, small rally, any form of action is alright however if possible, do it on the same day
                                   ii.              Tono: Japanese trade unionist killed
B.       Issuance of an official statement from ATNC Network condemning the political killings in the Philippines (will be released on August 29)
4.      Others
A.      Fund raising for a full-time regional campaign coordinator
                                     i.              Lucia: AMRC, ATNC network?
                                   ii.              Lee: very important issue but very difficult issue
                                  iii.              No resolution who will raise this fund
Sastro:     called for a comparative study and exchange of local labour laws inter-Asia à should be incorporated in the “statement”
Phil: a reminder, as a matter of courtesy, please reply to my email
List of Participants
Name
Organization
Email
Monina Wong
Labour Action China
monina@lac.org.hk
Dae-Oup Chang
ATNC Campaign Coordinator
chang@amrc.org.hk
Apo Leung
Asia Monitor Resource Centre
apo@amrc.org.hk
Wulandari
Asian Labour Exchange
wulanbdg@gmail.com
Marmin
DPD FSP KEP Jabar, Indonesia
marmin_kepjabar_@yahoo.com
Anwar “Sastro”
KASBI (Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance)
kp_kasbi@yahoo.com
sastroburuh@yahoo.com
Ngod Gioksiong
TCTU
gioksiong@gmail.com
tctu.tw@msa.hinet.net
Tsai, Chih-Chieh
Taiwan Labor Information & Education Association
tliea.org@gmail.com
Chen, Po-Chien
Youth Labor Union (Taiwan)
ckckckck.tw@yahoo.com.tw
Okou, Chao-Nan
Kaoshiung City Union of NPO Employees (Taiwan)
anan1972@gmail.com
Lucia Victor Jayaseelan
Committee for Asian Women (Bangkok)
cawinfo@cawinfo.org
lucia@cawinfo.org
Cecilia Tuico
Workers Assistance Center, Inc
wacphilippines@yahoo.com.ph
Marlon Torres
National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights
tkrights@yahoo.com
marlon_torres73@yahoo.com
Arokia Dass
SIGTUR
sigturthailand@yahoo.com.uk
Tien Soun
WAC (Cambodia)
tien@womynsagenda.org
Sim Socheata
WAC (Cambodia)
socheata@womynsagenda.org
I.B. Amion Mustika
FSPM Indonesia
TBC
Yasuda, Yukihiro
Labor Net Japan
yukihiro@labornetjp.org
Na, Hyun-Phil
Korean House of International Solidarity
khis21@empal.com
Tono Haruhi
Tokohama Action Research Center
yokohama-arc@jca.apc.org
Sigrid Chan
Asia Monitor Resource Centre
sigrid@amrc.org.hk
Elizabeth Tang
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
elizabeth@hkctu.org.hk
Tam Chuen Yin
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
yintam@hkctu.org.hk
Cheung Lai-ha
Hong Kong Clothing Industry, Clerical and Retail Trade Employees General Union
laiha@hkccrgu.org
Cheung Tim-choi
Hong Kong Clothing Industry, Clerical and Retail Trade Employees General Union
info@hkccrgu.org
Sham Pui-Lin
Josua Mata
Alliance of Progressive Labor
josua@apl.org.ph
Premjai Jaikla (Yong)
Thai Labour Campaign
yong@thailabour.org
Bunyuen Sukmae
Eastern Industrial Zone Unions Group
bunyuen@itf.co.th
 
ATNC and Inter-Asia Solidarity Campaign Roundtable
May 18-20, 2007
Hong Kong

 

Day 1 (18 May 2007)

 

Experiences & Practices in Inter-Asia solidarity campaign
 
Meeting starts with greetings from Elizabeth Tang (HKCTU) and Apo Leong (AMRC) followed by games and introduction of participants. In the introduction, Dae-oup Chang, Campaign Coordinator reviews and introduces ATNC Network’s campaign approach. Control and campaign over ATNCs has significance in terms of the sheer size of employed working people involved directly and indirectly in Asian investment in the region; as well as the production and circulation link ATNCs play between the developed and developing countries through exploitation of workers and mass production of cheap products. That serves to continually depress the living cost and wage level of people around the world.
Given that importance, however labour organising against ATNCs is restricted either by the so-called tradition form of ‘Asian’ trade unionism dominated by the Japanese model or the consumer power-led international solidarity model. Workers in the developing country play a very passive role as beneficiary rather than an actor. The network starts with attempting to challenge and explore new meanings and practices of labour solidarity.
In 2004, we proposed the Triangle Solidarity to the Olympics Campaign in attempt to put the fighting people of Asia in the centre of the international campaign for equal-base mutual support. It was not successful. In 2005, the ATNC network tried to define a long-term approach which is supporting workers in the local level through developing more concrete, more effective tools to regulate practices of ATNCs. These categorised tools inldue producing information about the 1) methods of organising, 2) developing inter-Asia exchange programs, 3) developing other social or legal method targeting run-away capital, and 4) exploring a better system for solidarity campaigns. The ATNC network members were consisted largely of NGOs in the beginning. So we invited most of the progressive unions in the region such as CCAWDU (Cambodia), KASBI (Indonesia), KCTU (Korea) and HKCTU (Hong Kong). By involving these progressive unions, we expanded our discussion to include that of integrating trade union strategies and agendas.
The aim of this meeting is very concrete. We don’t want to discuss statistics. At the end of the three day, what we want to have is a concrete action plan. Putting all these individual practices sporadically happening. Articulate these practices into strategy in one hand and into action plan on the other hand. How you organize workers, and how you actually communicate with northern group. What did you do actually from Northeast Asian perspective – Question is what did you do to organize social movement either workers or and how you reach out to certain group of solidarity.
Tono: How will you divide the group?
Dae-Oup: We can divide it now.
Elizabeth: Before we divide, are there any questions? We have two sets of questions:
  • receiving countries – Philippines, Cambodia
  • exporting countries – HK, Korea, Japan, Taiwan
    • Group 1: Exporting countries
      • Q: How do we organize support within our own countries to generate social and public opinions against capitals or TNCs from our own countries which invests in other Asian countries and exploit other Asian countries?
      • Q: How do we build solidarity so that we can have joint actions?
    • Group 2: Receiving countries
  • Group divisions:
    • A – Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Phil – APL, Thailand
    • B – Indonesia, Phil – WAC/NCPWR, Cambodia
    • C – the “Greater” China
    • D – Korea, Japan, Regional (TIE, CAW, AMRC, ALE)
KHIS
  • Since 2003, WAC and KHIS have been in partnership. While WAC sends many cases for KHIS, their options are limited. While they have also sent many appeal letters to corporations, no response was harboured. Then they moved on signature campaigns, again this failed. Some Korean media interested in the Philippines issues – NBC, CBS – broadcasting team went to Cavite to cover the situation. Some Korean general citizens watch the TV and recognize the issue but their interest does not move into solidarity or to support Filipino workers. Two years ago, we took signature campaign big rally time in November in Korea. We sent the signature to Cecille. The problem is not solved. Therefore last month, on May 1, we took the fund raising campaign in the May Day ceremony. At that time, some Korean workers who were interested in their fund raising campaign but KHIS was concerned about the fact that the problem is not solved.
  • KHIS find it difficult to reach this problem because organization is small and Korean civil society is small. When the Korean Broadcasting team pictures the workers’ struggle – but the feeling is like children in Africa (you see, you feel bad, you forget)
  • The problems:
    • Lack of resources
    • Nationalistic views – while progressive, they also have nationalistic views. Many Korean activists thought that international solidarity. Steel Korea is weak. Our company, our government, only see human rights from the outside but they don’t see their human rights by their companies. Overseas Korean Workers’ Problems. Phil say KCTU can’t see the problem that KHIS can see.
  • Plan:
    • Continuous activity with persistence
    • Build project team
    • Across the movement – TNC problem is worker’s problem, consumer versus workers’ movement = inter-changeable? Targets citizens who have good will. If the citizens have interest in starving issues and human rights issues. But labour issues are different. General citizens don’t accept labour right as human right. They don’t agree to the struggle of overseas companies.
  • Social Movement Forum – will be talking about overseas Korean companies and social movement problem.
  • Model –
    • Dae-Oup: what kind of model?
    • Phil: legal process, campaign, press release
    • Dae-Oup: model to handle individual dispute cases.
    • Dae-Oup: Even if you have a model and follows the steps, the success rate depends on the workers.
  • Signature campaign case – received 400 signatures from workers
  • But the basic problem is that they don’t know the situation or this issue
  • If the workers are aware of the situation, they are more likely to join the activity
  • Daewoo is a big company in Korea. Daewoo has a system of Korean. General Motors. Name has power in Korean society.
  • Sri Lanka case – a Korean manager closed down the factory and ran away.
  • Exception in certain articles in labour law – 3 or 4 years later – the government tried to reduce the exemption. EPZ. Threatened the government that if they withdraw. United capitalist. (Collective action)
  • Situation is the same in Cavite. Chong Wan union is …Philippine Labour Commission order that two companies should accept 2 labour unions. But Korean ignore Philippine Labour Commission, then hired the security guard and police disperse the workers but no body protects the workers’ rights. Police and security guards acted illegally and can’t protect no body.
  • Korean management ignores Philippine Law and civil society and even neglected buyers’ appeal.
  • Every time WAC and Philippine activist, they don’t have enough power because Korean investors have money and violence power (and hire gang). Local government support Korean investors.
  • Compare with other nationality factory, Korean company is worse. For example European accepts labour unions. But Korean Management do not think about them. “Ah Ja Shi” – ‘macho culture/mentality’, like drinking with young girl but they don’t have human life sensitivity. They always abuse human rights of female workers. Therefore Filipino workers have special emotions with Korean managers.
  • Korean form of exploitation appears in a primitive form.
  • KHIS targets small-medium sized companies – human rights –
  • Even if DOLE order investors to union, ignore – legitimacy disputes. Some union members give up KHIS membership. Delay time and time and then cancel. People give up.
  • No rule of law. Korean and foreign investors control the laws.
  • Japan – filed case for the violation of OECD guideline against the Japanese Government
  • Korea – took 2 years to be accepted.
  • Tono:  OECD is the only way to fight parent companies.
KCTU 

 

  • Conducted field research on Korean TNCs in cooperation with Democratic Labour Party
  • Field research on Samsung Thailand, Malaysia
  • Korean construction company in Philippines, Malaysia
  • Garment in Vietnam
  • Many Korean do not know about the reality about so KCTU publishes this reality and used the national assembly. The local press – assembly members – we released our result through the national assembly but the follow up steps on field research is not being done well
  • From this year, KCTU is starting to publish a newsletter on overseas labour movement and situation to the KCTU members. This is a monthly newspapers and a tribute to all KCTU members. Through this newsletter, we are introducing the specific cases to violate labour rights and abuse of human rights held in overseas. Hope that KCTU members become more influential.
  • KCTU still have no clear idea how to cooperate with conference and labour NGO in dealing with this issue. In case of a case, a few years ago approached KHIS in how to cooperate in dealing with this issue. In 2003, KCTU conducted a field research with KHIS, also the labour rights situation in south East Asia. 2003 then 2005. Also the style of operation is little bit different between KCTU and KHIS.
  • FTA struggle is a more general case. This is the TNC case.
  • Call on congress not to ratify the proposed FTA
  • Rengo’s position is not opposed to Korea-Japan FTA but opposed to the linkage between FTA and labour rights. If labour rights provision incorporated in FTA, then they will be able to accept the FTA. This is the traditional position.
  • We cannot accept the FTA even if the labour rights provision in included because FTA will decrease the jobs and rights of workers and will only pose many problems for workers. That’s why we oppose the Korea-Japan FTA. The first level, in case of Rengo, we approached Rengo – but their statement was incomplete so we had to stop the negotiation
  • They also opposed the NAFTA model, but Korea-US FTA completely followed the NAFTA model.
  • So we reached an agreement to moratorium the FTA negotiations.
  • The first joint statement was released during the first round of the official negotiation in June last year. That’s the first time for the CIO? To demand the moratorium negotiation. We must first see the result of the negotiation, then review, and then decide the decision. However, in case of Korea-US FTA, due to the experience of NAFTA, they agreed to release a more radical position on free trade agreement.
Q1: How did you mobilise/organise campaigns against ATNC in your country?
  • Contacting and formation of concerned group. In case of Toyota campaign, YCM – individual contact – initiation of formation of concerned group – visiting Philippines – Protest Toyota Campaign – APWSL, JAWN, Zenrosen joined.
  • Cross-visiting (Toyota)
  • Yamamoto case: Korean union – Zentoitsu (a very active community union that is also organising Korean migrant workers in Japan)
  • Visiting struggle by workers from company with disputes (Yamamoto)
  • Send letter to global union to support the campaign (Toyota): led to global campaign in spite of reluctance of local confederation that is under the influence of Toyota Union
  • Union-Union support in Citizens (watch maker) cases: Japanese counterpart was not yellow. This led to more successful end.
  • Help to prepare file a case in ILO (led to ILO recommendation)
  • Many cases from a same region (Masan area in 1989 and 1990, cases of Sumida, etc) created a connection between workers group in Masan and Zentoitsu.
  • Japan-Korea Network
  • Japan-Korea FTA
  • An organisation exclusively dealing with labour problems in their own TNCs in other countries.
  • Tackle the group “business association” “investment Association”
  • Regular update on labour in ATNC to the members of their own union (KCTU started, KHIS)
  • Comprehensive field research
  • Working with progressive political party
  • OECD – rather raising the awareness
  • Anti-FTA struggles/ mobilisation
  • Difficult in organising media action
  • Sympathetic view only, temporary
  • Labour rights / human rights
  • Media afraid of showing dark side of big company
  • A day of action – progressive unions and activists give protest visit to the factories with dispute (Toyota, Yamamoto ec, workers from the disputed overseas company also joined.)
  • Circulating protest letters (Toyota)
Q2: How did you cooperate with the counterpart in capital importing/exporting countries?
  • Korea-Japan long history of term collaboration and solidarity, starting from Japanese supporters for political prisoners in Korea during the military regime
  • Anti-FTA struggles together with the counter part (KCTU-Japanese progressive unions)
III. Group Reporting
Group A:
Sri Lanka
 
  • 14 FTZ
  • Issues
    • Freedom of association
    • Living wage
  • Campaign method
    • Utilising international instrument like ILO complain mechanism, OECD guideline, European Commission, Code of Conduct (Nike)
    • Struggling to unionize by conducting secret ballot in employee council (employer-formed organization for workers)
    • Campaign against dismissal at ATNCs owned by Pakistani and Malaysia-Singapore.
Thailand (eastern Thailand)
  • Issues
    • Outsourcing and contract workers at auto and garment industry (Toyota outsourcing company)
  • Campaign method
    • Demonstration in front of embassy building (eg. Korean company – workers will have demonstration in front of Hong Kong Embassy)
Philippines
  • Campaign against TNCs is done together with GUF (Global Union Federation)
  • Campaign to support workers in other country like Cambodia, to support strike in Korea
  • Difficulties in liking up with unions from other countries
    • Language
    • Time – workers from ATNCs countries are not really organized
  • Other factors affecting campaign
    • media bias
    • repression against trade union
    • legal restriction
    • corruption, policy bias (tend to advantage TNCs of labour ministry/government
  • Strategy of campaign media bias and campaign
    • publication like flyers disturbed at crowed spot
    • networking with workers
    • internal publication and networking with the media
Group B:  
Cambodia
Response to Q1:
  • provide case studies – like Olympic Campaigns 2004
  • campaign within Cambodia
  • workers’ exchange with triangle solidarity
  • monitoring of individual cases (eg. Gina, etc.)
    • interview workers
    • facilitate negotiations with employers: (HK employer + GAP)
    • follow-up
Response to Q2:
  • cooperation with NEA & SEA in relation to case and coordinate with AMRC and TLC
Indonesia
Response to Q1:
  • Need granite (Malaysian-owned) 2004
    • 180 workers
    • company closed
    • lesson: other employers are afraid of sanctions & company opened a new name
  • FSPKET (member of ICEM)
    • One way of channelling the campaign through the ICEM
    • By employing or making use of the OECD guidelines
    • An achievement – will discuss campaign strategies in the Asia-Pacific Convention (June 2007)
Philippines
Response to Q1:
  • Cavite – Chong Won (Korean owned)
    • Information gathering through the workers – ownership issues
    • Campaign planning with the unions & Solidarity of Cavite Workers
    • Preparations for the implementation
      • Coordinating with local and international networks
      • Gathering strike fund
    • implementation – campaign starts (Aug 2006 – picket protest; strike commenced 26 September 2006)
    • creating public opinion through media and international network
    • strike in two areas – a strategy to distract police attraction
    • women physically harassed – filed with courts now
    • acquired good media mileage – American Chamber of Commerce spoke about the issue; issue covered in national news
    • dialogues – some workers had dialogue in US with Wal-Mart
    • Marlon said that Wal-Mart issues a memo (what is the content of the memo? when?)
  • NCPWR
    • Fashion House Garment – no union
    • Unlike Toyota & Nissan – they have union
    • Drafted the campaign and concept which includes who are the mobilising? What are the worker’s alliances? What are the machineries that they need to put up for the campaign (e.g. they have quick reaction team (QRT), paralegal, committee on documentation and research, legal services/lawyers, education, international network, finance.
    • Then after the drafting, we go to the unification/meetings at different levels
      • Local workers are the most important factor in winning the case or campaign
      • We have alliance meetings, committee meetings
      • Networking
    • then we implement
      • strikes
      • filing of cases – local and internationally
      • get support from the community
    • monitoring, evaluation, assessments
      • exchange programs
      • moral pressures – able to file cases in the Permanent People’s Tribunal against the Arroyo Government
    • aim to create or uplift political activism
Response to Q2:
  • coordination of campaigns through ATNC/AMRC and other organisation, unions & NGOs
  • Forms
    • Protest – letter signing
    • Protest actions/rallies to company offices, embassies, consulates
    • Entertaining/facilitating exposure
    • Sending workers to other countries on speaking engagements and support/ resources
    • Formation of campaign-based organization (e.g. Protest Toyota Campaign)
    • Posting at Labour Start
Group C:
Taiwan
 
  • we try to cooperate with unions and student groups
  • our objective includes the Taiwan Government because Taiwanese government supports Taiwan companies by providing incentives to operate in Central America
  • we protest outside of the Taiwanese headquarters to show disgust with Taiwanese operation abroad
  • because the workers in a remote location like Central America, there are communication problems (amongst?)
Hong Kong
 
  • Inter-greater China – how we are trying to move on towards identifying ways…there is a case that happened in Mainland China in the jewellery industry. It happened that these workers acquired Silicosis. It so happened that inter-solidarity/workers are already organising themselves to claim compensation and to lodge a petition with the Central government but it failed because the company absconded and also employee-employer relationship could not be established.
  • So we mobilise the HKCTU and labour NGOs. The first stage involved protest actions and by flying victims into Hong Kong.
  • Besides individual companies, we tried whether trade associations could be our targets to pursue the issue in a collective manner. We tried with the LegCo. (What’s the outcome?)
  • Concluded that the trade association is useless.
  • Then identified that the only semi-public institution which is promoting trade…- HKTDC. We moved on Chinese workers and local workers to move on to pressure the HKTDC. Instead of compensation, demanded inclusion of labour clause in exhibition guidelines. (mechanism to handle complaints, disciplinary mechanisms)
  • Also targeted HKTDC’s counterpart in Switzerland.
  • macro mechanism to be develop
  • direct access to Silicosis victims
  • supports include providing paralegal support, organizing victims’ family and victim’s children’s education
  • one of the issues that came up during the discussion was the issue about the demanding/how to put pressure against the government
  • the difficulty in transparency questions – how to conduct research especially in the case of reshuffling investments by companies
  • they are not really going bankrupt but are reshufflings
  • also HK and Taiwanese investments are registered in other countries like in Cayman Island
  • corporate information gathering
Group D:
Question 1: How did you mobilise/organize campaign in your own country?
  • Discussion went back to the time when Korea was still a developing country. Also a discussion from KHIS and WAC.
  • Number one thing which is interesting to see. Snowballing effect.
  • YCM – individual contact in Japan
  • Concern group visit Philippines
  • In the mean time, group like APWSL Japan, JAWN, Zenrosen joined force – nice snowballing
  • This is an illustration as to how they mobilise
  • Different cases for example, Yamamoto which is a Japanese company which has branch in Korea. In this case the Korean Union directly contacted a union called Zentoitsu. Then Zentoitsu is a community union who is experienced in organizing Korean migrant workers.
  • There is one interesting form of action called the day of action. Unions and activsts pay visit to notorious companies in one day. For example, they visit Toyota and Yamamoto.
  • This determined action of these countries of disputed firm
  • A number of good points to learn for example – regular update either in the form of a newsletter or flyer – focusing on ATNC issues
  • For example, KCTU is doing this
  • KHIS also has regular publication
  • Comprehensive field research by KCTU can also be learned and adopted
  • KHIS has also done signature campaign in workers’ rallies – in November Rally and fund raising for Filipino workers in May Day rally. Of course this can only happen in countries where TU can survive by themselves
  • Also the usual thing like press release
Question 2: How did you cooperate with workers in the capital importing country?
  • There is already an established supporting relation between Korea and Japan
  • For example many cases for the same region – in 1989 and 1990 – there were a lot of cases of companies closing down – this is the era where many dispute cases
  • As a result of this – Masan -Zentoitsu network– pretty much like a regional inter-trade union was set up
  • Since 2003, WAC and KHIS have developed a supportive relationship (a case of organization-organization = stable relation)
  • Help a company union to file a case with ILO
  • One of the frequently use methodology is the protest-tour campaign?
  • Finally, what is the most important point of all those is – how strong the local groups can hold together? While the campaign goes on, the locals must use or strengthen the local unions than calling international unions/ILO.

 

Day 2

 

METHODS FROM PRACTICES à A SYSTEM OF ATNC CAMPAIGN

 

Can we complete a system?
On-going
A
C
T
I
O
N
P
L
A
N
Cases of intervention
Importing
Exporting
Together
Importing
Exporting
Others
Info Provision
Regular update
M/G
Bilateral
– links
appeal
Echoing
Education
Member/Public Education
Reg-Reg
“coordinating body”: resp for unified fact sheet, research
standby
Mass action/movement
Mass action/movement
Protest visit
Day of Action
Social Forum
Org-Org
Fund raising
Fund raising
WTO
Understand Partic Bus Practices
Protest letter
Protest letter
Protest letter
FTA
Info processing
Int’l Orgs
Signature campaign
Protest letter
Pressuring business association
“campaigners”—none of us have f/t one
Social charter
Coordinating & Processing and Disseminating Information

 

Josua: Suggested to add – GUF and other international tools in the chart
Marlon: Suggested to add – mass action or mass movement in the chart
Josua: Suggested that we should identify the difficulties in forming linkages (eg. Far easier to form linkages between Philippines and European trade unions because resources about them are available and accessible)
Marlon: Let’s limit our discussion to Asia. Let’s leave the Western discussion because this is an ATNC or inter-Asia meeting.
Dae-Oup: Let’s focus on inter-Asian method.
Identified Challenges/Difficulties
  • Language
  • ResourcesàHR
  • Information: lack/too much; quantity; language
International Tools
  • Guidelines
  • GUF/ITUC/ILO
Coordinating & Processing & Disseminating Information
1. A simple, easy-to-understand correct comprehensive and unified Fact Sheet: template – exact form?
  • Commitment to take up the campaign.
  • Processing, localizing: general, detailed
2. Centralized (national level) way to disseminate info– who? Bilateral connections may continue but among ourselves we should have some people identified as coordination points.
3. National info coordinator – who? Exact form? Coordinating Body? National coordinator processes at national level first.
Coordination at network level – two way interactions. Info in and feedback, both ways. But if we need model of action, our focus should be on Asia but not necessarily exclude non-Asian actors
Das: we completely lack inter-Asian solidarity. We need this first in order to act together. We tend to appeal-react-appeal (except for international day of action)
Dae-Oup: how about coordinating mechanism
  • Fundraising: would be one way of overcoming resources problem
  • Cultural dimension of management practices.
Tono: When Philippine issue comes to Japan the systems are different. Therefore, we need a simple fact sheet. This is first step.
Cecille: Want to know how non-English groups are processing their appeals/information.
Elizabeth: So how to pool resources to get work done?
Dae-Oup: We need a system for automatic reaction by all. Not ad hoc.
Tono: Let’s try first with present campaigns (WAC, Sri Lanka, Japan, HK campaigns)
Dae-Oup: Let’s focus to what’s on the banner “ATNC and Inter-Asia Solidarity and Campaign Roundtable”. Look at the concept paper and you will see the identified concrete methods to realise the strategies included:
1.      Producing information about methods to organizing informal labour in the workplace and community
2.      developing and promoting inter-Asia labour education and exchange programmes
3.      developing (legal) methods to tackle run away capital
4.      Systemising inter-Asia (furthermore international) solidarity campaign mechanism, which is based more on workers’ solidarity than consumer leverage relying on corporate codes of conduct. These are replicated in the model or chart.
Monina: Let’s aim before lunch to complete the matrix. If there are certain things from here that you think are important and needs elaboration so that tomorrow we can be more specific towards a commitment and planning.
Marlon: a simple, easy fact sheet (who’s the owner of the company, country of origin, background, what are the issues that affects workers, number of workers, kinds and forms of campaigns that we would like to reach) – then receiving country and checklist what they can do and this will be the concept paper of the whole campaign
Yasuda: Will process the info, but there should be two levels of info system: organization level (more detailed but still attractive) and general public. Also need to reduce translation time or system won’t work.
Lucia: The information must be brief. There should also be an instruction as to what to do with the information. We need everyone’s commitment – i.e., even if you are not involved, you recognize the value for solidarity. Need one person in each organization that will disseminate internally and in the national public and follow up with action.
Changeun: Who knows possibility of systematic, centralized; so let’s have plan B which is decentralized. For KCTU, the information is very important. Please send to KCTU; we’ll do our best to respond. But let’s keep searching for ways to facilitate effective mutual response.
Dae-Oup: plan B is already in place, happening unevenly, not on commitment basis. We have previously tried to update with regional perspective. But the information that comes in lacks full detail and facts. Each case has different levels of factualness. So if you have template, coordinator doesn’t need to chase facts.
Dass: narrow group of campaigns?
Dae-Oup: only 10 at any given time.
Marlon: We need a centralized coordinator. Central one to prioritize campaign, organize translation (which should have a team).
Changeun: Info dissemination—not the problem, already occurring. The next step is commitment by way of response – action.
Dae-Oup: need tools to maintain commitment.
KHIS: wants issue to go to ATNC, then ATNC gather people to issue joint statement
Lucia: in sum we need a person; we need resources. I.e., not loose coordinating body.
Changeun: National coordination not always possible (politics, local dynamics). E.g., Korea case is OK. Case by case. But other countries? ATNC very important for KCTU. ATNC is space, not just coordinating body.
Monina: National coordinator, not easy to deal with but let’s go with it. Let’s take time to work it out. (next two days)
Dae-Oup: Let’s take network approach. Centralized way is not a must.
Laiha: There are at least 2 types of information. 1) let others know of local actions, strikes. 2) Database type info. For this, we need a fixed format (like form fields). Consider an intranet. Amendable by all. Searchable by keyword. If info comes in in large volume, it is hard to read all so we need it to be briefly summarized with hyperlinks.
Monina: Moving on to Social Charter. In August 2006, we took on the task of coordinating a campaign. We met several times to work out – how to widen the alliance, consolidate network building; what model to use for ATNC campaign. Involved were: HK Trade Unions, AMRC, LAC, GM, AIHK, SACOM.
Three proposals from HK groups:
1.      Social charter (admittedly controversial phrase)—a process and platform more than static document. For building alliance within region.
2.      Regulation Asian mobile capital
3.      Mobilizing public support.
Immediate target: social organizations. To get them in the process.
Clarifications on the social charter:
  1. Unlike Corp Codes of Conducts, this document originated by TUs and labour organizations in both capital exporting and importing countries. Bottom-up.
  2. Not a monitoring tool. Action mechanism to be developed.
  3. To be discussed in an alliance building process. Tool to generate discussion & collaboration. To pressure companies and government through the action mechanism. May not be co-opted by TNCs.
Dae-Oup: we are careful, hence so many “we are….rather than [European social charter, World Bank best practices, etc.]”.
Phil: All social charters are missing enforcement. Still don’t get why we have social charter.
Marlon: Charter is a method or position paper that requires endorsement? If it’s method, process of building charter should’ve been in regular session of ATNC
Dae-Oup: “Social charter” is a position paper in the form of a charter.
Marlon: OK but this implies a certain amount of development by ATNC. Question: is our network ready to do this; are we a ready solid body. Capitalist will say who the hell are you?
Monina: yes, it’s a long process. So we want to start now. In the process of getting ready…we will face these organizational issues … Thus social charter may be useful in that sense. Getting ourselves and others ready. Hope that this gets discussed by more and more.
Josua: This is good like ILO etc. But difference is generated by worker orgs. We build up our own pressure, and capacities (ideological et al.). Ambitious but worth devoting energy.
Ida: Mission same as all others. Social charter a bit confusing (English issue). Agree with idea. But too much strategy—difficult to agree—need too much time to understand. Draft charter very difficult esp. for bottom staff.
Monina: how to get it understood and identified with by all the workers….common problem for all of us probably.
Lucia: the charter answers why. Our common points. This documents our common points. So how can we “own” it (when it was not drafted jointly).
Dae-Oup: this is a collection (distillation) of our slogans and demands from a number of campaigns. These have all been argued at some point in some campaign against ATNC.
We can change the usage. E.g., discuss in small group how much we agree; in annual conference, see what to do with it. Dump it. Or publish it; show our identity.
Small groups: bring out all questions. Answer: what is the usefulness of this paper. Only then, proceed to endorsing, etc.
Continuation of group discussion (group D goes first):
Group D
1.      Content
2.      Change name
3.      Adopt at ATNC annual conference. Then use as living document that is continuously revised (hopefully). Can be used in campaigns education, act as reference point.
Group C
1.      We like the paper.
2.      It should be called Statement. State what ATNC should be.
3.      Should be used for building alliances, solidarity.
4.      Use for internal discussion but also in process amend/improve content.
5.      Delegate work NOW to working groups.
Group B
1.      Discuss SC first at national level
2.      Paper should be binding to all ATNC network after formalized
3.      Usefulness? Not be binding to all now. But be our common platform.
4.      Enough that each national group have their agreed constitution.
5.      Preamble should include “the spirit of internationalism”
Group A 
1. SC useful because it clarifies what we want, it raises awareness of ATNC and internationalism and help build linkages internationally and nationally, it can be used as a future policy instrument.
2. Need to popularize/localize to make it more useful.
3. Need to clarify terms that can be misused by enemies. For example: “Workers representative bodies.”—E.g., such can be claimed by legal counsel. “Effective use of users (?) and workers”; Statement; proclamation; declaration; Charter; contract; pact
Monina’s recap on the discussion on the proposed Social Charter:
  • Generally accepted as tool subject to a reconsideration of the title
  • The process of formalizing: discuss with partners at national level, compile opinions, revise. To be synthesized by national coordinators.
  • Finalizing: come back to it in August (29-30 August 2007) conference to continue it (minority: revise it BY August and adopt in August)
  • Committee/group to follow up
Discussion:
  • Name issue. “Statement” agreed by 3/4 groups. Abandon “Charter.” Interim: Statement of ATNC Network.
  • Marlon: between Steps 2-3, have national coordinator to synthesize, push agreement forward. DO: 9-10 national coordinators; need resources; may e-chat, skype; propose: principle of minimum revision; change only where needed.
  • Changeun: what’s the agenda for annual ATNC? We don’t need to meet so often. What can we do in 3 months? Let working group (HK?) deal with SC, but not the whole ATNC meeting. ATNC meeting: reflect on implementation of action plan (which we will decide upon tomorrow), share common experiences, develop common expertise. How about just meet every 2 years. Don’t agree to meet just for social charter. Let us use the physical time together well. Have about 1 year implementation period. Q: what is this conference? This is Campaign strategies meeting.
  • Elizabeth: suggest giving it 6 months. National contact people synthesize and present after 6 mo. Agree: don’t meet in August; just deal with national issues.
  • Dae-Oup: Campaign, Research, Education (also administration etc) parts…all need discussion. This conference re: Campaign. SC is outgrowth of Campaign meeting discussions.
  • At August ATNC meeting, feedback will be presented (and then we’ll know how long until final consensus reached)

 

Day 3

 

 Group division:

 

Group A
Group B
Group C
1.       Phil
2.       Choi
3.       Tsai
4.       Cecille
5.       Yuki
6.       Ida
7.       Dass
8.       Monina
1.       Marlon
2.       Tono
3.       Sastro
4.       Laiha
5.       Puiling
6.       Tien
7.       Socheata
8.       Lucia
9.       Chang Gun
10.   Sigrid
1.       Elizabeth
2.       Josua
3.       Jerry
4.       Ah Nan
5.       Yong
6.       Bunyuen
7.       Dae-Oup
8.       Wulan
9.       Marmin

 

Agenda for one-hour group discussion:
1.      What kind of issues or agendas to be address for ATNC action plan?
2.      How to implement/how to do that (elaborate in concrete terms)?
A.      National level
B.       Regional level
C.      Global level
Dae-Oup:  For the discussion, think about how are we going to regularly update? How Indonesia and Philippines can regularly update Korea and Japan? Right now, we have three circles – Research circle, campaign circle, and education circle. In addition to these circles, we have national contacts scattered around. The people are here today by and large belong to the campaign circle. We also invited new partners who we believe are important actors. Campaign circle has been preparing for this meeting for 6 months after we decided to push forward our campaign initiative in 2005 annual conference, we have discussed 5-6 times within HK on how we are going to proceed with this. Today this is our turning point as to how we can turn this meeting into action points. At the moment, research group is doing research in a number of countries about new ways in organizing informal workers. All new initiative in organizing (either informalize or informal workers in the informal sector). Plan is to finish the research before the annual meeting.
Group discussion reports:
Group A
1.      Fact sheets to disseminate to all participants.
2.      Political killing in the Philippines is a very serious now. Therefore when we go back to our country, we will conduct a protest action in the Philippine Embassy in our own country.
3.      Fix the ATNC homepage problem.
4.      Bali Hotel industry to publicize the ATNC issues to tourists
Group B
1.      Feasibility of bringing test cases in terms of research – regulate the loopholes in the existing investment laws
2.      Multilateral and bilateral campaign in the Asian region
A.      Flexibilisation, outsourcing, contractualisation, informalisation of labour
B.       Yamaha case in Indonesia. Cambodia garment
C.      FTA
3.      Philippine trade union – to clear the tainted name of unions labelled as “terrorists” and assist in repealing the Human Security Act (which will be in place in July 2007)
4.      Nationally:
A.      Indonesia & Cambodia will disseminate company profiles
B.       Hong Kong requires to fund raise for a translator
C.      High-tech petition system (to be done by HK)
5.      Regionally:
A.      Group mailing
B.       Reactivate blog
C.      Fund raise for an ATNC information processing coordinator
D.      Day of Action (possibly on May Day, International Human Rights Day, International Migrants Day)
6.      Globally:
A.      In relation to political killings in the Philippines – signature campaigns to be submitted to UNCHR, Amnesty International and ILO
7.      Official statement from ATNC condemning the political killing
Group C
1.      Day of regional action against companies that exist in the countries as many as possible
2.      Integrate with national campaign and national mobilisation
3.      Identify the 10 worst case of ATNC – have to be connected to organising work of unions
4.      Fact sheet
5.      Guidelines steps to do it
6.      ANTC partners to help and support to enterprise unions & workers in collecting information
7.      Education
8.      Link between members and partners (hyperlinks)
Plenary:
Lee:         Conclusion in each groups are very similar. We can categorize the common issues:
1.      Information processing
A.      Blog/website with mutual linkages/hyper linking
B.       Address TNC issues/updates in your organization’s website, newsletter
C.      Emailing list circulate by way of list-serve (to be done by LAC & HKCTU)
D.      Concise fact sheet
                                     i.              Dae-Oup to do a unified/standard form
                                   ii.              National coordination?
                                  iii.              Make use of fact sheet at local level? Skills training guidelines.
                                 iv.              Lucia suggested: put fact sheet in your on website
2.      Action
A.      Reg. Day of Action against 10 worst cases
(Purpose/discuss what cases, mobilisation plan/time in annual meeting)
                                     i.              Lee: this is a good suggestion but what about the implementation?
                                   ii.              Sastro: flexibilisation should be included in day of action
                                  iii.              Josua: suggested to give ATNC network one-year to prepare; including coming up with a criteria in identifying what is considered as the 10 worst cases?
B.       Signature campaign
3.      Urgent appeals – Political killings in the Philippines – what can we do right now?
A.      To organize an action against political killings (August 29)
                                     i.              Lee: format would differ – protest letter, press conference, small rally, any form of action is alright however if possible, do it on the same day
                                   ii.              Tono: Japanese trade unionist killed
B.       Issuance of an official statement from ATNC Network condemning the political killings in the Philippines (will be released on August 29)
4.      Others
A.      Fund raising for a full-time regional campaign coordinator
                                     i.              Lucia: AMRC, ATNC network?
                                   ii.              Lee: very important issue but very difficult issue
                                  iii.              No resolution who will raise this fund
Sastro:     called for a comparative study and exchange of local labour laws inter-Asia à should be incorporated in the “statement”
Phil: a reminder, as a matter of courtesy, please reply to my email

 

List of Participants
Name
Organization
Email
Monina Wong
Labour Action China
monina@lac.org.hk
Dae-Oup Chang
ATNC Campaign Coordinator
chang@amrc.org.hk
Apo Leung
Asia Monitor Resource Centre
apo@amrc.org.hk
Wulandari
Asian Labour Exchange
wulanbdg@gmail.com
Marmin
DPD FSP KEP Jabar, Indonesia
marmin_kepjabar_@yahoo.com
Anwar “Sastro”
KASBI (Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance)
kp_kasbi@yahoo.com
sastroburuh@yahoo.com
Ngod Gioksiong
TCTU
gioksiong@gmail.com
tctu.tw@msa.hinet.net
Tsai, Chih-Chieh
Taiwan Labor Information & Education Association
tliea.org@gmail.com
Chen, Po-Chien
Youth Labor Union (Taiwan)
ckckckck.tw@yahoo.com.tw
Okou, Chao-Nan
Kaoshiung City Union of NPO Employees (Taiwan)
anan1972@gmail.com
Lucia Victor Jayaseelan
Committee for Asian Women (Bangkok)
cawinfo@cawinfo.org
lucia@cawinfo.org
Cecilia Tuico
Workers Assistance Center, Inc
wacphilippines@yahoo.com.ph
Marlon Torres
National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights
tkrights@yahoo.com
marlon_torres73@yahoo.com
Arokia Dass
SIGTUR
sigturthailand@yahoo.com.uk
Tien Soun
WAC (Cambodia)
tien@womynsagenda.org
Sim Socheata
WAC (Cambodia)
socheata@womynsagenda.org
I.B. Amion Mustika
FSPM Indonesia
TBC
Yasuda, Yukihiro
Labor Net Japan
yukihiro@labornetjp.org
Na, Hyun-Phil
Korean House of International Solidarity
khis21@empal.com
Tono Haruhi
Tokohama Action Research Center
yokohama-arc@jca.apc.org
Sigrid Chan
Asia Monitor Resource Centre
sigrid@amrc.org.hk
Elizabeth Tang
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
elizabeth@hkctu.org.hk
Tam Chuen Yin
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
yintam@hkctu.org.hk
Cheung Lai-ha
Hong Kong Clothing Industry, Clerical and Retail Trade Employees General Union
laiha@hkccrgu.org
Cheung Tim-choi
Hong Kong Clothing Industry, Clerical and Retail Trade Employees General Union
info@hkccrgu.org
Sham Pui-Lin
Josua Mata
Alliance of Progressive Labor
josua@apl.org.ph
Premjai Jaikla (Yong)
Thai Labour Campaign
yong@thailabour.org
Bunyuen Sukmae
Eastern Industrial Zone Unions Group
bunyuen@itf.co.th