3 Sep 2017 Ferado

‘Hot autumn’ looms as militants fight Macron’s union reforms

FRANC: There was a mood of defiant bravado against Emmanuel Macron’s new labour laws at the trade union headquarters on a street running up from the docks to the refineries and factories that make Le Havre a bastion of French organised labour.

“Look at Britain, where Margaret Thatcher made such reforms and you’ve ended up with insecurity and zero-hours contracts — that’s where the government wants to drag us,” said Reynald Kubecki, a militant union leader.

A wave of demonstrations, strikes and days of action has been promised by Kubecki’s hard-left union, the General Confederation of

3 Sep 2017 Ferado

Liberal trade union leads transport strike action

On Monday, the liberal trade union, the CGSLB, will lead awareness-raising for the use of “soft mobility” in several congested areas within the three regions of the country.

It announced this on Friday. The watchwords of such gatherings will be “All together in traffic jams – not something we dream of.”

The inter-professional agreement (“AIP”), concluded by the Group of Ten last January, includes a part on societal challenges, including transport. The liberal trade union advances, “For trade unions and employers, the budget generated by savings produced by giving up the company car…should encourage the purchase of a bicycle or public transport season tickets.” That having been said, the federal government intends to substitute, if desired by both the employer and employee, company cars with a cash sum.

The trade union laments, “Briefly, this provides a new form of extra-legal advantage without any environmental or transport benefit. It is, at the very least, strange in a country which is currently collapsing in bottlenecks and excess CO2 emissions…”

To raise driver-awareness upon this societal issue, the CGSLB will distribute handouts on Monday in six cities (Charleroi, Liège, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Roeselare), and will also spearhead an online campaign.

The trade union hopes to make regional governments aware that the current proposal by the federal government is “not enough”, since it does not undertake to make any commitments in respect of the environment or transport. The organisation concludes, “The CGSLB is requesting that the regional governments take full account of the ideas and proposals, as regards worker mobility.”

3 Sep 2017 Ferado

Labor union opposes compressed workweek bill

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A bill allowing a four-day work week but increasing the number of normal work hours per day was opposed by a labor union viewing it as “plainly pro-business and pro-capitalist.”

House Bill 6152 gives options for companies to increase the normal working hours from the regular eight-hour workday to a 10 or 12-hour workday to lessen the number of days at work.

Once an employee worked beyond the prescribed 48 hours a week based on the labor code, he or she is subject to overtime pay. The House of Representatives approved the bill on third and final reading on August 21.

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) said the bill is “retrogressive and in fact, silent about the so-called detrimental effects that extended hours have on employees’ health and well-being”.

“HB 6152 is retrogressive because it backpedals the gain of workers struggle that catapulted the more than century-old International Labor Standards and the Philippine law stipulating that eight (8) hours/day is the normal working hours,” the group said in a statement Friday.

While the bill sounds enticing, CTHUR branded the compressed workweek bill as “deceptive” because it would have a negative impact on the basic needs of the workers.

“It is also deceptive as it completely ignored the fact that workers and their families have to eat and to support household expenses, even on rest days and income reduction will negatively impact on family basic needs,” it said.

Mark Lawrence Gomez, 25, an employee working in a mall, also opposed the passage of bill because it does not give the workers the assurance of higher wages unless they go beyond the prescribed normal hours.

“I am against it. The issue is not just the number of working hours but most importantly, the wage that it should be higher. The bill’s intent is just temporary and will have a minimal effect on the plight of the workers,” Gomez told DavaoToday in an interview.

In a press release, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said the bill would result in “longer hours of work per day, increase incidence of Endo or contractualization, and will have downward implications on workers’ take-home pay.”

“This will mean drastically shifting work schedules for workers as companies try to shuffle in more contractual workers into the production cycle. In fact this is already being done in many manufacturing firms in economic zones,” De Jesus, a former labor organizer, added.

HB 6152 seeks to amend Articles 83, 87 and 91 of the Labor Code of the Philippines. The original bill filed by Baguio City Representative Mark Go under HB 5068.

3 Sep 2017 Ferado

PCP employees protest non-payment of salaries

ISLAMABAD, Sep 1: A large number of employees of the Printing Corporation of Pakistan (ECP) on Aug 31 held a protest against the non-payment of salaries, even though the government had announced they will be paid soon.

The employees appealed to the finance minister to make special arrangements and release the funds immediately so they can celebrate Eidul Azha. PCP Workers Union general secretary Bilal Mehmood told Dawn the government had announced that the 700 employees will be paid their salaries by Aug 28. Mr Mehmood said the only solution was that the finance minister should allocate a supplementary grant of Rs25 million and ensure the salaries are paid.

3 Sep 2017 Ferado

Punjab government unable to pay salary to its employees

INDIA: Debt-ridden Punjab government was not able to pay salary of its employees on Friday due to non-availability of funds. Salaries for government staff are paid on the first of every month. This time, sources say, it could take at least a week. The government plans to clear the salary bill in three-four instalments.
Having a fat salary bill of Rs 2,200 crore per month for its 3.5 lakh employees, Punjab has been paying salaries from VAT collections worth Rs 1,400 crore and from state’s share of Rs 700 crore in central taxes every month. But after implementation of GST, the VAT has been subsumed. Sources said as per the new rules, the GST would be paid to the state in quarterly instalments. It expects its instalment not before September 20. Similarly, the state’s share in Customs duty and Income Tax is not expected before September 15.
Sources said the state had pending bills worth Rs 5,000 crore of the development works started by the previous government. The Congress government, after taking over in March, had stopped all works and also the payments to the contractors. The bills have been piling up. Therefore, the government allowed Rs 900 crore as Ways and Means Advance has already exhausted the limit. This is the second time in last five months that the government is facing a fiscal situation.