31 May 2018 Ferado

Lay-offs feared over power cuts in Hattar Industrial Estate

HARIPUR, May 28: Industrialists of the Hattar Industrial Estate have criticised the Peshawar Electricity Supply Company over the excessive power cuts and warn that they’ll lay off staff to reduce expenses in case of not getting smooth electricity.

Hattar Industrialists Association president Malik Ashiq Awan told reporters here on May 25 that the Hattar Industrial Estate was the biggest industrial zone in the province and had a contribution of billions of rupees to the national and provincial exchequers every month in the shape of taxes.

He said with over 300 functional industrial units, the estate supported over 60,000 families in different parts of country directly and indirectly by providing them with jobs and business opportunities.

Mr Awan however said half of the industries in the state were on the brink of closure due to the suspension of electric supply, which lasted around 10 hours daily, while the others were mulling to lay off manpower to meet expenses.

He insisted that the industrial production had almost come to a standstill due to power cuts.

“Industrialists are unable to meet their manufacturing targets due to the energy crisis, which will not only leave a negative impact on the collection of taxes but will also expose the scores of families, whose livelihood is attached to the manufacturing sector, to the serious economic problems,” he said.

Mr Awan said the federal government had exempted the industrial estates of Punjab from loadshedding but KP’s, especially the Hattar Industrial Estate, badly suffered from energy crisis due to a longstanding dispute between KP and the centre.

He demanded of the government to exempt the industrial sector from power cuts to protect employment of thousands of workers and ensure the continued contribution of huge taxes to the national and provincial exchequers.

31 May 2018 Ferado

Teachers union pulls support from Wynne’s campaign after Liberal accusation

HAMILTON—Her put-downs of the NDP’s ties to organized labour have cost Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne, struggling at third place in the election polls, front-line support from the union representing public high school teachers.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation sent a memo to its Toronto members Wednesday saying the union’s Toronto executive is withdrawing its formal endorsement and door-to-door canvassing efforts for Wynne and six other local Liberal candidates. “This new tack taken by the Ontario Liberals is an obvious act of desperation, and we can only hope that it doesn’t serve to drive voters back to the Tories from the NDP,” wrote Leslie Wolfe, president of the federation’s Toronto local.

The teachers’ union said the last straw came Wednesday morning when Liberal campaign co-chair Deb Matthews accused the NDP of trying to hide a for-profit business partnership called Cornerstone with eight of Ontario’s “largest and most powerful unions…to financially backstop the NDP’s campaigns and operations.” Cornerstone owns the building in which the party’s offices are located.

New Democrat spokesperson Andrew Schwab said the party pays rent at market rate for its offices at Cornerstone and there is no financial relationship “of any kind.”

31 May 2018 Ferado

Miners expect to weather one-day Canadian Pacific rail worker strike

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – A one-day strike by Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway engineers and conductors is not expected to have a lasting impact on Canada’s mining operations, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) said on Wednesday.

Members of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) downed tools on Tuesday night following what it believes was a best effort approach to reach a negotiated settlement.TSX- and NYSE-listed Canadian Pacific Railway announced on Wednesday that it has reached a tentative four-year agreement with CP conductors and locomotive engineers and a five-year agreement with the Kootenay Valley Railway conductors and locomotive engineers, ending both strikes.
Details of the agreement will be presented to the TCRC membership for ratification, the TCRC, which represents about 3 000 engineers and conductors, said in a statement.Full operations are expected to resume on Thursday morning, the union said.

“We believe this is a fair contract that our members can feel good about ratifying. I am personally very satisfied with what we have negotiated,” TCRC president Doug Finnson said. “We have had the discussion that needed to take place. This is a solid step in re-establishing a positive business relationship and moving forward.”

The mining association expressed relief at the news of the tentative four-year agreement and commended the work of federal negotiators, singling out the contribution from the Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patricia Hajdu. Both the union and CP also acknowledged the minister’s intervention.

“The impacts of a one-day strike will be manageable for Canada’s mining sector and intervention by the federal government in support of a quick resolution avoids harm to Canada’s reputation as a reliable exporter,” MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton said in a statement.

A protracted labour dispute would have led to painful rail service disruptions for Canadian mining companies and damaged Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading partner, and the national economy, the association noted.

According to MAC’s latest ‘Facts & Figures’ report, the Canadian mining industry accounts for over 50% of the freight revenues of Canada’s rail system yearly. The industry is also a key economic driver for the country, having contributed C$58-billion to Canada’s gross domestic product, employed directly and indirectly 596 000 workers, and accounted for 19%, or more than C$88-billion, of the total overall value of Canada’s exports.

Soon after announcing the tentative accord, CP’s TSX-quoted equity rose to a new record high, gaining 2.8% to C$247.65 apiece in the afternoon session, before settling somewhat lower at C$245.39 a share at the closing bell.

30 May 2018 Ferado

800 LHWs booked for resorting to ‘violence’

BAHAWALNAGAR: As many as 800 lady health workers were booked on Saturday allegedly for ransacking the deputy commissioner’s office and holding the staff hostage during a protest against non-payment of their salaries.

The case was registered on a complaint of Deputy Commissioner Office Complex caretaker Nazim Ali Khan.

In his complaint, Mr Khan alleged the lady health workers, led by Health Workers Union Punjab President Rukhsana Anwar, district president Fatima Jabeen and tehsil secretary general Masarrat Fatima, “occupied” the DC office building. “Not only did they occupy the building, but also damaged the furniture and held the staff hostage,” he said.

“About 100 staffers of the DC office saved their lives by fleeing from the scene,” he claimed.

The HWU Punjab president, on the other hand, rapped the administration for getting an FIR registered against LHWs despite resolution of the issue after talks. “We will raise voice for our rights at every forum,” she vowed.

30 May 2018 Ferado

apan to ease language requirements for unskilled foreign workers

TOKYO — The Japanese government plans to ease restrictions on unskilled foreign nationals seeking to work in Japan, Nikkei learned Tuesday, as the country grapples with a serious labor shortage.

The new policy, which will ease Japanese language requirements for overseas workers, will be incorporated into a work permit system and included in draft economic policy guidelines to be finalized by June.

The change marks a significant shift in Japan’s policy regarding overseas workers. Under current rules, work permits are issued mainly to skilled professionals.

The government hopes to attract more than 500,000 overseas workers by 2025 to five industries especially hard hit by a lack of unskilled labor. Japan had 1.27 million registered foreign workers last year, according to health ministry figures.

The new work permits will apply to construction, agriculture, lodging, nursing care, shipbuilding and related manufacturing. Applicants will be required to take occupational and Japanese language tests designed for each type of work by industry associations.

The draft guidelines, called the Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform, will call for creating a new class of work permits valid for up to five years. Details are still to be fleshed out.

Under the existing Technical Intern Training Program foreign workers are permitted to stay up to five years. The new qualification system will exempt those who have finished the training program from testing.

As for the Japanese language requirements, foreign nationals will have to be “capable of understanding slow conversations,” in principle. People are typically able to acquire that level of proficiency after around 300 hours of study, according to Japan Educational Exchanges and Services, which conducts Japanese language testing.

As for the construction and agricultural sectors, even those who have not acquired that basic level of Japanese skill will be eligible for work permits. With respect to technical skills, the government will consider using tests devised and conducted by industry bodies.

The construction sector is expected to face a shortage of 780,000 to 930,000 people by 2025. The government aims to accept a total 300,000 of foreign construction workers through the program.

The labor shortage in agriculture is exacerbated by the aging of Japan’s farmers. The program will likely try to bring in 26,000 to 83,000 overseas farmworkers to make up for an estimated shortfall of 46,000 to 103,000 workers by 2023.

Demand for caregivers for the elderly continues to grow as Japan ages. The government estimates the workforce in that sector needs to grow by 550,000 by the end of fiscal 2025. It has tried to attract more hands by introducing measures to raise pay. But it has concluded there are not enough domestic workers to fill the gap, so it hopes to bring in 10,000 workers from abroad.

Japan’s contingent of overseas workers has grown by about 600,000 since Prime Minster Shinzo Abe became prime minister for the second time in 2012, mainly through the technical intern program, which aims to provide on-the-job training to foreign nationals for certain unskilled jobs.

The country’s labor shortage is becoming the biggest single challenge for the economy. The government estimates Japan’s working-age population — those between the ages of 15 and 64 — will shrink by about 15 million from current levels by fiscal 2040.