20 Dec 2018 Ferado

EU steps up pressure on Korea to ratify ILO conventions

Korea: The European Union requested formal consultations with the Korean government on labour issues Monday, urging Korea to ratify the International Labou r Organization conventions.

Under the EU-Korea free trade agreement implemented in 2011, both sides agreed to improve labor and environmental standards via a dispute settlement mechanism in the trade and sustainable development chapter.

“As part of the agreement both sides made commitments on workers’ rights, but so far the actions taken by the Korean government to implement this dimension have not been sufficient,” European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement, highlighting that the “EU has a duty to uphold the spirit and letter of the agreements.”

The EU-Korea FTA requires Korea to work on ratifying and further applying ILO conventions. Korea joined the ILO in 1991, but it has ratified only 29 of the 189 conventions.

The EU has expressed concern, as Korea has not ratified four key conventions, including freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, the abolition of forced labor and the right to collective bargaining.

Consultations between the two parties are expected to take place from January 2019, according to the Labor Ministry. According to the agreement, both sides can convene the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development and a panel of experts to look into the matter until they arrive at “a mutually satisfactory resolution.”

As the term “mutually satisfactory resolution” is not clearly defined, “we cannot predict the outcome of the consultations yet,” Jeong Hae-young from the Labor Ministry told The Correspondent.

The EU cannot impose additional tariffs or penalties on Korea for delaying or failing to ratify the ILO conventions, but the Labor Ministry raised concerns that the delay could hinder the expansion of free trade between the two parties.

In a bid to ratify the conventions, the government said it would encourage Korea’s Economic, Social and Labor Council to hold discussions soon.

20 Dec 2018 Ferado

Labour inspections on hold during holiday season to curtail bribery

Philippines: Labour inspections of business are being halted during the Christmas season from 15 December to 15 January in an effort to prevent inspectors from being bribed during the holidays, the Philippines Department of Labour and Employment announced.

“It is our duty to ensure the continued effectiveness of DOLE’s enforcement of labour laws and standards and uphold the integrity of our labour inspection activities, specially this season with heightened chances of bribery and suspicions,” Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement.

Still, complaint inspections, technical safety inspections and occupational safety and health standards investigations are not covered by the suspension. Urgent inspections of establishments as directed by the labour secretary will also take place.

The department also noted its campaign against illegal forms of work contractualisation has resulted in 342,467 workers being regularised as of September.

13 Dec 2018 Ferado

COSATU to help evicted Swazi sugar cane farmers

South Africa: The President of South African trade federation COSATU met with Swazi sugar cane farmers and promised to help them regain control of their land from Swaziland’s absolute monarch King Mswati III.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) President Zingiswa Losi met with sugar cane farmers from Vuvulane, Mafucula and Shewula in Manzini, Swaziland on Tuesday 4 December 2018. She got first-hand information on the on-going evictions and harassment of the farmers by the Royal Swaziland Sugar Company and the Swaziland Sugar Association, both organisations controlled by King Mswati III.

According to Secretary General of the Media Workers Union of Swaziland, Sicelo Vilane, who was at the meeting, the COSATU President promised the farmers that her organisation would meet with the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland to look at how the farmers could be helped.

“She expressed and offered the solidarity of COSATU and the Southern African Trade Union Co-ordination Council to all the communities who are being subjected to such inhuman treatment”, Vilane says.

13 Dec 2018 Ferado

Myanmar takes step to implement child labour eradication program

Yangon: Myanmar is moving to implement a child labour eradication program and the related national-level work program (draft) is being sought at a Myanmar National Committee on Child Labour Eradication meeting, Myanmar News Agency reported Thursday.

Vice President U Myint Swe, who is chairman of the committee, stressed at Wednesday’s meeting the need for the program implementation in order to provide protection for children working in dangerous situations.

The program can bring about vocational training and educational opportunities for the children and help alleviate poverty, he added.

According to the labour force survey 2015, there are over 12 million children below 18 years of age in Myanmar. Of them, 1.1 million are working as child labourers, while over 600,000 are working in a vulnerable situation.

As part of its efforts in elimination of child labour, Myanmar has ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Convention 182 on the worst form of child labour and has been cooperating with the ILO and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is this aspect.

A tripartite agreement under the Decent Work Country Program between the government, employers and employees was also signed by the ILO and the Myanmar Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.

The program includes child labour issues under the title of job opportunities, labour rights and social security.

13 Dec 2018 Ferado

Punjab WWF to be approved by Punjab Assembly, Minister

Lahore: Provincial Minister for Labour & Human Resources Ansar Majeed Khan Wednesday said that an act for Punjab Workers Welfare Fund would be approved by the Punjab Assembly.

He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting at the Labour department. Secretary Labour & Human Resources Sara Aslam, Chairman Punjab Revenue Authority Javaid Ahmed, Secretary Punjab Workers Welfare board Ahmar Nayak as well as Additional Secretary Finance Masood Nauman, financial analyst Finance department and other officers were also present in the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, he said that after 18th Amendment, safety would be available to the workers with the establishment of Punjab Workers Welfare Fund.

As per labour policy 2018 of PTI, safety of the labourers in economic institutions, provision of facilities to the field inspectors, redressal of labourer’s complaints through complaint cells, to make sure the participation of women in industrial process, law for housemaid, industrial progress, eradication of child labour and other reforms would be ensured.

The minister said that on the instructions of Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, steps were being taken on emergent basis to provide security to labourers working in industrial sector.

Complaint centers set up in all offices would be monitored on daily basis to ensure security of labourers, he added.

The minister said that instructions had been issued to Secretary Labour and other officers to eradicate child labour in economic institutions.

Performance of the department would be improved through modern reforms in present labour inspection system, he concluded.