31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Barbados Trade Union Calls for Boycott of American Warehouse Store Read more: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/barbados-trade-union-calls-boycott-american-warehouse-store#ixzz4rHbeQ7Yb

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday August 29, 2017 – A major row is developing between American warehouse club-style store Cost-U-Less and the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) that could cost the retailer.

The BWU has called on its members to boycott the general merchandise store, carrying out a threat it made nearly two weeks ago to name and shame businesses it accused of engaging in union busting practices.

In an address to the union’s 76th annual delegates conference over the weekend, General Secretary Toni Moore named Cost-U-Less as one such business, claiming it “entrapped workers in a form of modern day slavery” under the full glare of Government.

“The struggle must continue against those who wish to entrap workers in a form of modern day slavery. I think of companies like Cost-U-Less that Government has given every concession under the sun to allow them a platform to do business in Barbados, what do they do in return? They undermine our commitment to provide decent work through union busting tactics that see people losing jobs because they have committed the cardinal sin of becoming a union member,” Moore said.

At a news conference earlier this month to announce the annual conference, Moore had warned that the BWU did not intend to take the union busting attempts by local companies, “one most blatant”, lightly. She had also said “one company had called in the police three weeks ago after a union representative had made an attempt at engagement”.

“Such behaviour provokes militancy by the labour movement,” she suggested at the time.

During her address to the annual conference, she named Cost-U-Less as that company, while suggesting that Government was doing nothing to rein it in.

An incensed Moore claimed that the company was so confident of Government’s support, that during the passage of Tropical Storm Harvey almost two weeks ago, it remained open for four hours past the deadline for closure, on the premise that it was facilitating shopping by customers.

31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Patwaris turn to agitation as union leader suspended

DERA GHAZI KHAN, Aug 30: More than two-month long peaceful strike by revenue patwaris for the acceptance of their charter of demands may turn violent after the suspension of their tehsil president by the district commissioner, sources told Dawn.

Patwaris have been on strike across Punjab for the approval of their charter of demands, such as their induction into the computerised revenue system in place of non-revenue staff at the land record computer centre.

Patwaris held a provincial level convention last week in Dera Ghazi Khan where delegation from Punjab were present. They showed concerns at revenue policies by the chief minister.

The government retaliated when DC Allah Rakha Anjum issued the suspension order of Anjumn-i-Patwarian Tehsil President Rana Sajjad Ahmed for not attending a breach in the Dera Ghazi Khan canal despite being called by the DC.

The district president of the patwaris union of Dera Ghazi Khan, Ghulam Shabbir, said to protesters at their tehsil office that they warned the DC that such measure would force them to a provincial level agitation.

He said the DC had not punished the actual negligent irrigation officials responsible for the breach and instead suspended the leader of patwaris who had delivered a speech against the Punjab government at the convention taking pledge from patwaris not to vote the PML-N.

He said patwatris would continue their agitation against the DC.

31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Minimum wage to vary across states

The Code on Wages Bill proposed by the Union government earlier this month will not fix a single national level minimum wage for the whole country, but will vary across states and geographies.

“It provides for national minimum wage for different geographical areas so as to ensure that no State Government fixes the minimum wage below the national minimum wage, notified for that area by the Central Government,” the text of the Code on Wages Bill 2017, introduced in Lok Sabha by Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattareya on August 10, said.

Labour Ministry officials said the wage levels would vary state-wise and in some cases, may differ based on geographies – coastal, hilly or plains. “India is a vast country with cost of living varying across states. We cannot have a single national level minimum wage. The Centre will fix different wages through a notification after consulting the Central Advisory Board,” said a senior Labour Ministry official. If the minimum wages fixed by the states are already higher than the ‘national minimum wage’, the states will not be allowed to lower their wage levels, according to the provisions of the Bill. The Code on Wages Bill combines four labour laws — Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Equal Remuneratiom Act, 1976.
The Bill states that the state governments will fix their minimum wages keeping in mind “the skill required, arduousness of the work assigned to the worker, the cost of living of the worker, geographical location of the place of work,” among other factors. At present, various states are free to fix their own level of minimum wages as per the local conditions, cost of living and other factors.

Further, the Bill proposes that the minimum wages so fixed by the Central government be applicable to all employments covering both organised and unorganised sector. The present law, Minimum Wages Act of 1948, applies to employees working in 45 scheduled employments.

At present, the Centre has fixes a National Floor Level Minimum Wage – a non-statutory measure to ensure that states fix their minimum wages beyond this floor level. “This is one of the reasons why the changes to the minimum wage law assumes significance as through this Bill, the minimum wages set by the Centre will become statutory,” another senior Labour Ministry official said.

With effect from July 1 this year, the Labour Ministry announced a hike in the National Floor Level Minimum Wage from ₹160 per day to ₹176 a day and sent advisories to states for compliance. However, till April 1 this year, at least 11 States, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Tamil Nadu, had fixed their minimum wage level below the National Floor Level Minimum Wage of ₹160 recommended by the Central government as on that date.

31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Worker, 68, killed as concrete slab breaks loose at building

A 68-year-old construction worker died on Tuesday after he was hit by a large concrete slab that broke loose from a building in Cheung Sha Wan.

The fatal accident took place at about 10:30 am at a work site located in an alley outside Lai Sun Commercial Centre, Apple Daily reports.

The dead worker, who bears the surname Zhu, is said to have moved to Hong Kong with his wife from mainland China four years ago.

According to a co-worker, Zhu was hired three months ago to join a team that was tasked with installing glass windows and aluminum plates for a building adjacent to the Lai Sun Commercial Centre.

As he and his teammates were doing their job on the 30-year-old building on Tuesday, a concrete slab measuring about 3×4 square feet suddenly fell from the outer wall of the Lai Sun Commercial Centre and hit Zhu right in the head.

Zhu was wearing a helmet at that time, but the impact was so severe that it knocked him unconscious.

Paramedics who arrived at the scene sent him to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead later.

A 46-year-old manager of the Lai Sun Commercial Centrewas arrested by the crime squad of Sham Shui Po district for failing to prevent an object to fall from a height.

The Buildings Department undertook an inspection and ruled that there were no structural risks in the building.

However, it issued an investigation order to the property owner as multiple slabs on the outer wall were found loose.

A spokesperson from Lai Sun Group said the developer was deeply saddened by tragic accident.

The group will offer compensation to the dead man’s family, he said, adding that the company will also launch full inspections on the entire building.

According to the spokesperson, the slab may have broken loose due to the impact of the two powerful storms that hit Hong Kong in the past week.

Chow Luen-kiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union, was quoted by hk01.com as saying that Zhu’s family can expect to get HK$200,000 in compensation from the casualty insurance policy that union had bought for him.

The Construction Charity Fund will offer HK$100,000 to Zhu’s family for its urgent needs.

Zhu’s co-workers also immediately raised HK$2,000 and gave the money to his family.

According to Chow, the incorporated owners of the parking lot of the building should be held most responsible for the accident.

31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Burmese Rice Farmer: With a Union, We Improve Our Livelihood

BURMA: For years, Kyin San, like many rice farmers in Myanmar, worried that her land would be confiscated for large-scale development, as had so many other farms over the years.

But now, Kyin Sun says, farmers are no longer hesitant to negotiate with the government to settle disputes. Along with 10,000 other farmers in the Hlae Ku Township, Kyin Sun has joined the Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar (AFFM), part of the Confederation of Trade Unions–Myanmar (CTUM).

“Through CTUM, we have made much progress,” she says