Category Archives: News

TOYOTA WORKERS IN ALL COUNTRIES RISE UP! FIGHT AGAINST ALL FORMS OF INJUSTICES MADE BY TOYOTA JAPAN!

Toyota workers organized strike to protest the illegal dismissal. Photo: TMPCWA

We the workers of Toyota Philippines under the Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation Workers Association (TMPCWA) are continuing our fight for more than 17 years massive illegal dismissal made by Toyota to some 233 + 4 members of our union.

 

Toyota’s inhumane and arrogant action in terminating the members of the union was because they do not want the establishment of any genuine union inside their factory and because they were greedy guarding the huge profit that they are enjoying in numerous years that were provided by their workers.

 

Our more than 17 years’ struggle has resulted in several victories including numerous ILO Recommendations. Unfortunately, Toyota keeps on discounting all of them because Toyota believes they are more powerful than any other laws. Toyota assumes (or considers) that they can simply escape from all of their accountabilities to the illegally dismissed workers because they are very powerful. No matter how powerful Toyota is, the TMPCWA will continue to carry the struggle and will fight until we get the victory that we deserve.

 

We judge that our situation in Toyota Philippines is similar to the situation of the workers in Nanbu (Supply Chain of Toyota), as well as in DAIHATSU workers in Indonesia. We suffered from discrimination against the union and union busting by Toyota which prohibits our legitimate rights as workers. We do trust that this policy has originated in Toyota Japan and we also believe that Toyota Japan must act regarding this matter.

 

The massive offensive against the workers’ lives and livelihoods is not permissible. We must not license the inhuman actions of Toyota against their workers in all subsidiaries in all countries.  We must fight and struggle as one. We have to rise up together and pinpoint our struggle directly to Toyota Japan and AKIO Toyoda as the mastermind of all of Toyota’s policies in all countries. Let the whole world knows about our struggle and let Toyota pay expensively for all their crimes to their workers.

 

LET US UNITE AND FIGHT TOGETHER AND CONDEMN TOYOTA’S ANTI-WORKERS POLICY AND ARROGANT BEHAVIOUR!

 

LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

 

Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation

Workers Association (TMPCWA)

September 6, 2018

 

Nanbu Employees Being Rehired, But Contractual Status Remains Unclear

Workers protest against contractual employment. Photo: Metaruang

A total of 28 workers of PT. Nanbu Plastics Indonesia (NPI) which were laid off in early April has recently been reinstated. Furthermore, the company has also paid off all outstanding unpaid salary and end-of-Ramadhan allowance (Tunjangan Hari Raya/ THR).

This was conveyed by the president of the labor union SEBUMI Faisal Al Rahmad. “All unilaterally dismissed (labors) are working again. Salaries, THR, have been paid,” said Faisal via text message on Thursday, July 5, 2018.

This decision is the result of a mediation between management, the union and Municipal Representative of the Manpower Ministry (Disnaker). In a joint agreement signed by the union on Friday, June 8, 2018, it was stated that the company should reinstate all laid-off workers.

Faisal added that 28 workers have started working again at PT. NPI since Saturday, July 2, 2018. The 28 workers re-employed include a pregnant mother.

However, this re-employment agreement does not apply to a worker named Azuhrotul, whom the company deems to have resigned. The company claimed to have summoned him up to 3 (three) times, but he did not come. But on the contrary, Azuhrotul claims to not receive an invitation letter from the company (via JNE’s expedition service) or any other party.

A check on JNE shows the first letter’s status as ‘return’ – which means that it did not get through the recipient, and thus returned to the sender.  The second letter instead was shown to be accepted by someone named Retno, not Azuhrotul. Lastly, the third one was again listed as ‘return’. Of course, such correspondence does not meet the provisions of Article 168 of Indonesian Labor Law no. 13 of 2003, concerning the invitation of workers by companies related to resignation.

Moreover, the said unpaid salary which the company have promised to pay is still uncertain in term of its details. Until now, they have not received any wage slip. This also obviously applies to Azuhrotul.

 

Atika’s medical expenses are borne by the company

After the letter of agreement was signed, PT. NPI also contacted Atika Nafitasari, a worker of PT. NPI who suffered an accident and was laid off in January 2018. To Atika, the company stated that they would be willing to take responsibility and bear all medical expenses due to said work accident experienced by Atika until she recovered.

“[The company] told me, that [they] want to pay for the treatment,” Atika said.

Atika is a victim of a work accident involving a press machine that makes the middle finger of her right hand cut off, on Monday, September 26, 2016. Allegedly, the condition of the press machine was not optimal, but the management ignored it and still ordered workers to keep working it.

 

The issue of contractual status (Perjanjian Kerja Waktu Tertentu/PKWT) remains unclear

Unfortunately, PT. NPI is still reluctant to settle the case of the employment agreement for a definite period of time (PKWT)—or in another term is contractual employment. To date, the company still refuses to reinstate Atika and eight other interns, as well as hiring them to be permanent employees.

The case concerning the PKWT should refer to the subject issued on 28 May 2018, which recommends that the status of the 7 PKWTs of their status be changed to an employment agreement for an indefinite period of time (PKWTT). However, until now the recommendation has not been acted upon by the company. In fact, one party from HRD claimed that he rejected the recommendations from Disnaker to change the employment status to permanent

In fact, Atika and other 7 contractual workers work in a continuous and fixed job. Under the terms of Article 59 of Indonesian Labor Law and Regulation of Manpower Ministry no. 100 of 2004, they should be appointed as permanent employees from the beginning. Hiring them as apprentices is unlawful. Until the report is revealed, the workers with the status PKWT have not paid their wages.

Faisal stressed that they will continue to fight for cases of violation of this PKWT through litigation and non-litigation. “We will continue to fight until [case] PKWT is solved,” said Faisal.

Indeed, this success is the fruit of SEBUMI’s continuous struggle to consistently demand the company to stop misappropriation and unfair conduct of its own workers. “It’s the result of our action,” Atika said.

Previously, dozens of workers working at PT. The NPI was laid off after a protest. This protest action was conducted in response to the breach of PKWT provisions by the company.

Those affected by the layoffs are also workers who are members of SEBUMI and actively advocating their fellow workers at PT. NPI receiving arbitrary treatment from the company, such as the negligence of the company in dealing with accidents, forced overtime, to non-compliant work facilities.

 

Source: http://metaruang.com/buruh-nanbu-dipekerjakan-kembali-status-pkwt-belum-jelas/

Translator: Yanuar Farhanditya

Editor: Rizal Assalam

Workers of Arnott’s Indonesia demand their job back; opposes union-busting scheme and retrenchment

FPBI organized protest against forced retrenchment in front of Arnott’s Factory, June 1st. Photo: FPBI

Arnott’s Indonesia workers’ testimony clearly states that the company does not have any commitment whatsoever to the just and equal treatment. Plant-level union chairperson, Muhardi, gave an example of this attitude when he explained how Arnott’s Indonesia handed employment termination letter to a pregnant worker after she refused to sign voluntary resignation handed by the management.[1]

On June 18, 2018, Arnott’s Indonesia released a statement as a response to FPBI’s statement on the company’s forced to resign to its 320 workers.[2] However, it is unfortunate that this response was not addressed directly either to Asia Transnational Corporation (ATNC) Monitoring Network or to FPBI.[3] Furthermore, this response is only the company’s defence which is in contrary with workers’ testimony.

The company is failed in responding reinstatement demand of the workers who had been forced to resign. The statement that the company is having a decrease in production volume and market share cannot be proven. Muhardi explains that the company’s production is normal. FPBI national leader Rizky, in a meeting added, “The company refused to disclose its financial report so that together with the union, despite the company’s statement that it has been losing for the last four years.”

Arnott’s response bears a lie. The company said that it had a discussion and negotiation with the workers before the management forced the workers to resign. Whereas, based on workers’ testimony there was only a socialization about management’s plan to workers. There was not any space for dialogue in a socialization, which was done first on May 4, 2018. “When we received the invitation letter, there “subject” on the letter was empty,” said Muhardi when he was asked about the socialization.

Arnott’s seems trying to create a good image by stating that the company offered “a generous compensation package which is more favourable than the statutory”. Arnott’s is using the Idul Fitri[4] moment to offer the compensation to workers who had been forced to resign. With Iedul Fitri just around the corner, workers have more pressure to accept the compensation offered to pay their cost to have a family visit to their home province (in Indonesia, known as mudik)

For nine workers who are still struggling to demand of reinstatement, the problem is not just related to the amount of rightful compensation offered. They try to fight back the company’s despotic act. “We want to show that the company cannot just throw away its workers just like that. Therefore, we will keep on fighting and stand with the demand of reinstatement,” said one of Arnott’s workers.

According to Abu Mufakhir, ATNC representative, the case of mass layoffs usually followed by the worsening of the working condition. “After lay off, usually the company would recruit new workers with the employment status of non-regular or contract to replace the permanent workers. The worsening of working condition for example in the form of overtime wage reduction.”

This exactly what happened in Arnott’s Indonesia today. In its response, Arnott’s denied the fact that the company would recruit new workers in the near future. On May 9, 2018, the company released an announcement contained a list of 140 workers who would start working in three shifts on August 1, 2018. Majority of workers listed in the announcement are contract workers who are only hired during peak season.

“There will be open recruitment on August which means the production is normal even toward the high season,” Rizky added.

Company’s announcement contains list of workers who will start working on August 1, 2018. Source: FPBI

Company’s announcement contains list of workers who will start working on August 1, 2018. Source: FPBI

Upon realizing the worsening of the working condition, nine Arnott’s workers who are still struggling will take litigation as well as a non-litigation process for their demand of reinstatement. “We are not fighting for ourselves, but also for our comrades who are still working inside the factory so they will not have to suffer poor working condition. This is our way of fighting against despotism and tyranny,” added Muhardi.

 

Download the ATNC’s request letter to Campbell: Letter to Campbells Soup on Arnotss case

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[1] Complete story could be found in http://majalahsedane.org/siapa-bilang-tidak-bisa-phk-orang-hamil-kita-main-cantik-kok/

[2] https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/indonesia-arnotts-a-subsidiary-of-campbell-soup-company-faces-allegations-of-forcibly-dismissing-workers-company-responds

[3] ATNC has sent a request letter officially to Campbell in May 31th, 2018. The letter was endorsed by 41 organizations in support of the workers’ demand to be reemployed.

[4] Iedul Fitri is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). In Indonesia, working-class celebrate Idul Fitri by visiting family in the home province.

FPBI against Forced Retrenchment by Arnott’s Indonesia (Inc)

Workers of Arnott’s Indonesia organized protest against the forced retrenchment. Photo: FPBI

Arnott’s Indonesia is a wholly owned subsidiary of US food and beverage multinational, Campbell Soup Company built in 1869. Located in Bekasi City, West Java, This company produces snacks such as Goodtimes, Tim Tam, Nyam-Nyam, Sticko, Venesia, Presites, and Pirouette. Arnott’s Indonesia also produce not only for the domestic market. The company export its snack products such Royal Dansk to 32 countries

The company is among of the leaders in the food sector. In 1991 the company was using Bukit Manikam Sakti (BMS) as its name. It produced some products such Nyam Nyam, Slamet, and Goodtime. During 1997-1998, the company changed its name to Helios. Eventually in 2000, the company officially changed as Arnott’s Indonesia. Currently, Arnott’s Indonesia employs 1200 workers, among them 500-600 workers are contractual.

Chronologies of Retrenchment Case

On May 3, 2018 the unions at PT Arnots Indonesia, Indonesian Labor Struggle Federation (Federasi Perjuangan Buruh Indonesia/ FPBI) along with FPBI,  SPMAI, and KSPSI, received an invitation from the management to attend a meeting on May  4 was invited by the Arnott’s Indonesia management to attend meeting on Friday, 4th May 2018 in Fave Hotel, Central Jakarta.

There was no explanation about agenda of the meeting. At the time of the meeting,

The management told the unions that the company is downsizing its workers because of declining in sales. They claimed that the progress has been decreased since 2014. Given the situation, the management asked workers to take a long-term Ramadhan holiday, starting from 11st May to 28th May 2018.

The result of the efficiency measures is a dismissal of workers. At the end of the meeting, the management asked the unions to sign the meeting notes. FPBI, affiliates of KPBI, rejected the downsizing plan and refused to sign the meeting notes since the meeting was more to a briefing forum rather than a bipartite negotiation meeting.

Monday, 7th May 2018: The management explained about an internal condition, especially sales department. They also told about production department. According to them, the company needs to increase employees in the production department, because there is not enough capacity in the department of production to employ the current number of workers. The trade union made their cases against the claim made by the management, but still, the management still stands with their argument.

According to them, the company will give 2 times of compensation according to the regulation under the ministry of manpower (consist of severance, long service and substitution payment) + 1-month separation payment. But SPSI asked to increase the number of separation payment. Then, the management agreed to increase it in according to the demand. So, the management offered 2 times of compensation + 2 months separation payment. FPBI on this matter disagree about the offering. FPBI also did not want to sign the bipartite agreement.

Tuesday, 8th May 2018: The management announced voluntary resignation for the permanent workers. The post says that for the workers who voluntary resign from the company, the management provides severance as much as 2 times the requirement by the ministry of manpower plus 3-month wages. The company set three batches to “the voluntary resignation”. The first period is May 8-15; second period May 16-21; and for the third period, the company will name the workers to “voluntarily resign”.

On May 23, 2018, the company prevented the union officials from FPBI to enter the factory. The unions responded to it by launching a spontaneous demonstration, forming a picket line in front of the factory.

Declining in sales is only a cover to sack workers. FPBI found the downsizing due to declining in sales contradicts with the memo posted by the management announcing that the company will recruit 200 people after Eid in August 2018. The memo also says that the company will install the new machine and the production is running as usual to meet the export target. FPBI concluded that the downsizing is only a cover to sack the workers.  To date, about 300 workers have been fired, including the leaders of the unions.

 

Mass retrenchment is a crime against humanity

There are currently millions of people in the labor force looking for jobs in a very crowded job market with narrow opportunities. Of course, workers aspire to a decent work to ensure sustainability of life for themselves and their family. The Indonesian Labor Law basically contains a substance to make flexible the labor regime with the aim to be able to meet the needs of the capitalist to sustain capital accumulation. It is often referred to as ‘labor market flexibility’

In this capitalistic economic system, every industrial relations problem such as employment is constituted under the market mechanism of bargaining between the capital owner and the worker. The state in this regard acting as a legislator, while the wrong and the truth will be determined subsequently by the court. This means that such a State has no power to crack down on any violation of labor normative rights, and the courts will depend on the subjective judicial views and decisions.

The handling of law enforcement by and the settlement of labor dispute from the state to market mechanism is the main cause of continuous violation of the workers’ rights. Yet again the workers always become the victim of any such disputes. The presence of the State as the society’s servant should be the key to secure work and life for the workers in particular and society in general. But when the State is absent in the middle of a situation where the supply of labor is abundant, along with the competition between workers, will always be a golden opportunity for any company to undermine the workers’ rights.

The impact of flexible employment sector added with the absence of the State ultimately make retrenchment a very easy thing to do by the company, as well as the employment agreement in accordance with the wishes of the owner, or the company regulations in accordance with the will of the company. In short, the presence of a flexible labor market, a law that does not regulate and impose strict sanctions. The state that does not take firm action and does not guarantee the protection of its citizen will ultimately always have an adverse effect on every working people. Workers will forever be the victims.

In Bekasi, in Arnott s Indonesia case, the company is trying to retrench workers by PDS or voluntary resignation mechanism. However, the term ‘voluntary’ is being used only to cover the retrenchment because there are indications of coercion done by the company. The term voluntary in reality is a coercion. The company argues that a decline in production became the reason for management to retrench workers. A total of 300 employees were forced to ‘voluntary resign’ with an offer of severance pay.

The company paid back workers’ dedication by dismissing them. The workers would get nothing for the coming ‘Idul Fitr’ of Muslim’s glorious day. Workers are not appreciated, easily disposed for the sake of abundant profits over the years of hard working.In the Indonesian Labor Law, the resignation terms are stipulated as following: 1. Management may terminate the employment of workers due to entering retirement age (Article 167 Paragraph 1 of Act 13 of 2003).2. Indonesian Labor Law does not stipulate the retirement age limit, however it is then stipulated in Government Regulation Act 45 of 2015 on Pension Program. According to the regulation in Article 15:

  • Paragraph (1) states that for the the retirement age is 56 (fifty six) years.
  • Paragraph (2) from 1 January 2019 the retirement age as referred to in paragraph (1) shall be 57 (fifty seven) years.

According to the law, the workers entitled to get a pension and the employer is obligated to give compensation for a retirement. Both the Labor Law and the Government Regulation does not recognize Voluntary Resignation terms at the request of the company except if it based on a request of the worker themselves. This means that if the voluntary resignation done before the age of retirement is basically null and void, given the refusal of the workers. In other words voluntary resignation will be categorized as one-sided retrenchment.

Voluntary resignation is nothing but mass retrenchment that will bring the worker of Arnott’s Indonesia into the abyss of suffering for themselves and for their families. The future economic situation will ultimately become a burden for workers to socialize in the midst of society. The situation will obviously different between those who are still working with those who are laid off or not working. The consequences will continue as long as the state does not defend and protect workers’ rights.

We from Indonesian Labor Struggle Federation (FPBI) branch in Bekasi are against the voluntary resignation imposed by Arnott’s Indonesia management. We demand the management to re-employ the workers back to their original position. The dismissal is illegal given that the company is in good shape, and the action is basically an effort to eradicating and suppress trade unions. We also call for a full support to the entire family of the Indonesian Labor Struggle Federation wherever they are located and to the entire movement of the people to stand against the arbitrariness. The forced retrenchment through voluntary resignation is a crime against humanity that must be countered by the entire labor movement as well as the popular movement.

 

Contact Person:

Agusto. Chairman of FPBI Bekasi branch, Chairman of FPBI Arnotts Union.

+62896-8594-3433; qmerah1926@gmail.com

Ian Ahong, Media and Propaganda Department of KPBI

+62 821-1214-2182

DUTERTE IS IMPLEMENTING BRUTAL MILITARIZATIONS DISLOCATING CARAGA LUMAD TO FORCE THE ENTRY OF PLANTATIONS AND MINING IN OUR ANCESTRAL LANDS

The Lumad people under the Kahugpongan sa Lumadnong Organisasyon (KASALO) sa Caraga (Unity of Lumad Organizations in Caraga) strongly condemn the current brutal militarization of Lumad communities in the region. It is meant to force us to give up the riches of our ancestral lands to foreign and large mines, plantations, hydropower and other projects of the US-Duterte regime.

Ten (10) battalions or more or less 5,000 military troops are deployed in Caraga, aside from composite teams, and majority of these are in Lumad Manobo and Mamanwa communities. They wreak havoc in violating our human rights. In fact, in some communities, there are more military troops than residents!

President Rodrigo Duterte himself made clear the purpose of militarization. Last February 1, 2018, he told the Lumad who attended the Indigenous People’s Summit in Davao City that he will choose the investors in our ancestral lands, that we should prepare ourselves for relocation and that we should welcome the military into our homes. This is exactly what is happening now.

In Surigao del Sur, particularly in the Andap Valley Complex where five (5) coal mines (Benguet, Great Wall, Consolidated Ores, Abacus and PNOC Mining) are raring to start operations, almost 600 troops under the 36th IBPA, 75th IBPA,  88th IBPA and 16th Special Forces Battalion, 402nd IBde,  4ID of the Philippine Army are in 26 Lumad and peasant communities in the Andap Valley Complex covering the municipalities of San Miguel, Tago, San Agustin, Marihatag and Lianga. This resulted to the evacuation of 345 families with 1,628 individuals from 14 communities in January 28 until February 7, 2018.

In Surigao del Norte, there has been no let-up of military operations of the 30th IBPA troops in the mountains of Gigaquit, Sison and Surigao City targeted for the expansion and operation of large scale gold mining of Red 5-Greenstone Mining Corp., Manila Mining and Philex Mining

In Agusan del Norte, 100 troops from the 29th IBPA are operating in the mountains targeted by Sahi Coal Mining in Butuan City. This resulted to the evacuation of 115 farmers and Lumad of Sitio Patagon to Sitio Dugyaman, Brgy. Anticala, Butuan City last February 5. Meanwhile, 400 troops of the 29th IBPA along with other troops under the 4th ID from Cagayan de Oro, are in the mountain area of Ansili and Zapanta Valley in Kitcharao since February 2, where FirstGen Hydropower Corp. is constructing a hydropower plant. The area is also targeted for mining by Timberwolves and Empire Asia Coal Mining. This resulted to the evacuation of 41 settler and 59 Lumad-Mamanwa families with 278 individuals to the center of Zapanta Valley and Brgy. Bangayan, Kitcharao.

In Agusan del Sur that is the target for 200,000 hectares of Malaysian and Indonesian oil palm plantations, 26th IBPA, 23rd IBPA, 3rd Special Forces and in the Agusan-Surigao boundary, the 75th IBPA troops, are operating.  This resulted to the killing last January 15, of Aaron Notarte, a farm worker in Brgy. Imelda, Bunawan by 75th IBPA troops.

These military operations have interrupted the classes of 677 Lumad Manobo and Mamanwa students of 8 schools and 20 students of adult literacy in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Norte.

The persecution of the Lumad must stop! We have been vocal in our opposition against the entry and continuing operation of destructive mines, plantations and hydropower in our ancestral lands since the past regimes. Is Duterte then lying when he said that if we do not want mining and plantations in our ancestral lands that he will not force us? Is his regime sowing in-fighting by recruiting Lumad paramilitaries and forcing the surrender of tribes so as to make it appear that we are consenting to  the theft of our ancestral lands.

We have struggled to establish our livelihood while protecting our ancestral lands, built schools amid government neglect in providing education to the Lumad and we organized ourselves to develop our livelihood, but we are now being attacked. These attacks must stop!

Stop militarization in the country side! Defend ancestral lands! Respect our right to self-determination!

 

February 9, 2018

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA)

Early 2018 Victory: Cleaning Workers Won Their Struggle

We come to thump at the door
Not to beg you for something
We come to thump at the door
In order to remind you
“Bang, Bang, Bang”
We can move away the rubbish
And also the boss of ‘Man Shun’”

— Hoi Lai Estate cleaning workers’ poem

After 10 days went on strike, the Hoi Lai Estate cleaning workers finally win their fight. Man Shun, the company which employed the workers, agreed to fulfil its obligation for severance pay. With the support of the community and various organizations, the cleaning workers will get HKD 1,200 severance pay for each year they were employed, according to local media InMedia.

The dispute between the workers and the employer began when company’s contract with Hong Kong Housing Department over Cheung Sha Wan’s Hoi Lai Estate ended last year. As the contract ended, the workers were tricked by the company to sign voluntary resignation in October 2017 without any compensation.

Despite long tenures, the company denied the obligation to pay the workers their right to severance pay. Rather, Man Shun offered the workers to be re-employed by Hong Kong Commercial Cleaning—which appears has a close ownership connection—regardless of the previous tenure with only HKD 11 pay rise.

The company denial of workers’ right has made the cleaning workers furious. Refuse to be disrespected, the workers decided to determine their own fate. They went on strike and vowed to continue until they win their right.

Cleaning workers went on strike in front of Hong Kong Housing Authority Headquarters at Ho Man Tin, Kowloon City, Hong Kong on Thursday (04/01)

 

During the strike on 4 January, the workers alleged that the authority should take responsibility for resolving the problem given the Housing Department has funded the contractor. “Housing authority should take responsibility. We demand the housing authority to come and meet us,” said one of the protesters who declined to be identified.

Most of the dozens cleaning workers who went on strike are old-aged women workers with 7-9 years tenures. One of the interviewed workers said that her monthly salary is only HKD 8,600. “My earning is not sufficient to have a decent living.”

Cleaning workers showing a demand poster for unpaid severance pay in the previous strike (04/01)

Cleaning tasks are often underestimated, although the routines are heavy tasks, especially for the old-aged women workers. Some of the workers’ routines are cleaning the toilet, the floor, and the ceiling. The company provides less working tools, as the workers need to mix the limited cleaning liquid with water or even search for cleaners in the trash bin.

Every single day, the cleaning workers have to collect and dump trash from 400 flats in 40 floors estate. This task has to be finished within working hours. Otherwise, the workers have to do the unpaid overtime.

Another task is handling the large garbage such furniture and home appliances—which is done only by 80 years old workers. The workers also have to manage the bulk trash that vulnerable to accidents.

Such domestic task which is done by the cleaning workers—also domestic workers elsewhere—is one of the major issues under capitalism. Taking care of the households, which construct as the main role of women in the patriarchal biased society, are often underpaid—or rather, unpaid—and regarded as unskilled labor.

This view is problematic given the domestic task serves a critical role in the society: that is the social reproduction of labor. In this sense, the domestic tasks made it possible for the working class to maintain their labor power and to recover from fatigue. Hence, the domestic task is an integral part of the economic development—and also subject to capitalist surplus value appropriation.

The invisibility of the cleaning workers become one of the factors of the wide support. “We should appreciate the cleaning workers. The community will be dirty without being cared by the cleaning workers,” said Lau Siu-Lai, one of the disqualified legislator during her solidarity speech in the celebration of workers’ victory at the Hoi Lai Estate, on Saturday (06/01).

With the workers’ determination and wide support, the company finally gave up. From the initial HKD 200 severance offer—which obviously was refused—the company will pay HKD 1,200 severance for each one year of service. The cleaning workers also will also receive a raise of HKD 172 salary which was initially offered only HKD 11.

Supporters from various local organizations and countries—Poland, Indonesia and Philippine—came to congratulate the workers over the victory. Since in the very beginning, various organization—trade unions, local community, political party, sympathizer, student groups and NGOs—helped the workers to organize the resistance.

Experiencing their own cases, the cleaning workers found themselves empowered. One of the workers delivered her testimony, said that ‘I feel empowered. I am now encouraged to be brave.” The supporters followed with chanting joyfully.

Through their experience, the cleaning workers also learned about the importance of solidarity. ‘I was amazed when I saw many people contributed to the fundraising. Also when I joined New Year’s Day pro-democracy protest, I was touched that many people sympathy on our struggle,” said another worker during her testimony.

Denny To reminded the workers and all of the supporters that there is still a long struggle for the better living condition of working class. “The end of the strike is the start of the movement for the workers who are still being exploited,” said Denny To who is one of the organizers of Cleaning Service Industry Workers Union.

 

Contributor: Rizal Assalam

Editor: Muh. Ridha

 

*Credit to Fifi (Chinese University of Hong Kong Grassroots Concern Group), Rena Lau (Globalization Monitor) and Fei (Workers’ News) who provided the valuable information

Source: http://ksn.or.id/early-2018-victory-cleaning-workers-won-their-struggle/?lang=en

Workers in Asia are Facing Major Challenges from the Current Neoliberal Development

There are at least two major challenges for workers and the ways of organizing and resistance in the current Asia neoliberal development: the expansion of China Overseas Investment and the shrinking of democracy.

These major challenges were addressed in the Asia Transnational Corporation (ATNC) Monitoring Network ‘Biennial Conference’ in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 17-21 November 2017. The conference was attended by 45 participants as the delegations from the various organization and individual members of the network.

In the last two years, Outward Direct Investment of China has significantly increased. In 2015, China already became the world’s second-largest source of outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) with infrastructure network project as the prominent sector. In Southeast Asia for example, Chinese investment has grown rapidly from US$ 1bn in 2007 to US$14.6bn in 2015.

This expansion has been accelerated by the ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR), a major development strategy proposed by President of China Xi Jinping first unveiled in September and October 2013. Under OBOR, the infrastructure projects funded by China capital are designed to connect Asia, Europe and Africa through six economy corridors. In this regard, Pakistan already integrated within the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

First plenary session discussed on the current neoliberal development trends in Asia. Credit: Lennon (SPA)

ATNC members discussed the major issue appears within this development framework. As the evidence already emerged in many cases, the expansion of capital in particular funded for infrastructure project will further damaging the environment. This is true since OBOR will continue the extraction of the fossil fuel. At the same time, this continuation will also follow by the forced eviction of local communities.

Delegations from Southeast Asia shared the country report. Credit: Lennon (SPA)

This capital expansion is also coupled with the shrinking of democracy in many countries in Asia. As the delegations from Southeast Asia reported, there is a growing trend of the rise of militarism and right-wing populism. Some of the countries experience this trend are Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.

Philippine under Duterte become the biggest number of human rights defender killed in Asia (Front Line Defenders Report, 2017). Most of the killing is related to the land dispute which nearly in the context of mega projects, extractive industry and big business.

While in Cambodia, main opposition party dissolved by Supreme Court only recently. Workers in Cambodia also facing difficulty to organize a resistance and to establish union since the new Trade Union law passed in 2016.

These described major challenges workers facing become the priority to be addressed by the ATNC members in the following years. Within this priority, ATNC members will organize interrelated activity: a research to have a better understanding of the capital expansion in Asia and to identify proper leverage to improve labour working condition, educational activity to equip the members with knowledge to resist, and campaign activity to raise the concerned issue.

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