20 Dec 2016 Ferado

Workers, farmers protest outside Kohar’s residence

INDIA: On a call given by labourer and farmer unions, many activists gathered to hold a protest outside the residence of Punjab Cabinet Minister Ajit Singh Kohar.

The labourers and farmers staged protests across the state outside the residences of the SAD-BJP ministers for the unaddressed demands of labourers, including atrocities at Jaloor Kand.

Speaking at a dharna outside the house of Cabinet minister Kohar, leaders said the state government was again spending crores of rupees to dupe people in the name of development ahead of the elections, while at the ground level, farmers and labourers were forced to commit suicides.

They said for the past 10 years the state government had not been able to fulfill the promise of residential plots and work through MNREGA to labourers. Other demands of labourers like compensation for farmers, debt-laws in favour of labourers-farmers, cancellation of false cases against labourers and workers, solving of the problem of stray animals were also not being addressed.

They said the government was rather imposing unannounced restrictions on dharnas of farmers/labourers and resorting to lathicharge, arrests and registration of false cases against workers.

They said in villages, the rich landlords were also committing atrocities against Dalits, the latest example of which was the incident at Jaloor village in Sangrur.

They said the administration was also adopting a dilly-dallying approach on the demands raised in the Sangrur incident.

Tarsem Peter from the Pendu Mazdoor Union Punjab, Harmesh Malri from the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Santokh Singh Tangar from the Kirti Kisan Union and Surinder Singh Bains, Harpal Bittu, Balwinder Singh Bhullar, among others, were present on the occasion.

20 Dec 2016 Ferado

Salary crisis threatens to derail programmes

With the salaries of the employees of Delhi Commission for Women pending for over three months, the women’s body’s projects will be wound up by this month.

Officials with the DCW told The Hindu that programmes such as 181 Helpline for women in distress, Rape Crisis Cell, Acid Watch and Anti-Trafficking Cell will close by the end of this month if salaries are not paid.

No clarity

“Staff will start to leave. We don’t know when the salaries will come as there is no clarity. How long can people work without money?” said a DCW official.

The 181 Helpline was started after the December 16, 2012 gang-rape to help women in distress and was handed over to the DCW this year.

After assuming charge, DCW chief Swati Maliwal started the Acid Watch, wherein the employees help acid attack survivors and also ensure that acid is not sold over the counter. “Our employees are themselves victims. Despite repeated letters to the Lieutenant Governor and the President, nothing has been done,” said the official.

Case against Maliwal

After a case was filed against the DCW chief over an alleged recruitment scam, salaries of the employees haven’t been disbnrsed. Ms. Maliwal had earlier said that financial powers of the Commission have been curtailed and files were sent to the Women and Child Development department.

The officials said they are not hopeful that salaries will come this month.

“Autonomy of the Commission is under attack. Attempts are being made to crush our work and shut down the Commission,” Ms. Maliwal had said.

19 Dec 2016 Ferado

Workers of 10 RMG factories go on strike

Dhaka: About 20,000 workers of a dozen factories in Ashulia, the garment hub in outskirts of Dhaka city, have been demonstrating for increased wages. Workers of at least 10 factories went on strike, without resuming work on Monday morning. Workers of three more factories also observed work stoppage, remaining within the factory premises of Setara Group, Bando Design and Star Link Creation. Production came to a halt due to workers’ strike at the factories De Rose, Pioneer, Washing Design, Palmal Group, Safa Knit, Dong Xiang and Envoy. Workers alleged that they could not meet their family expenses with the current wages. “If we pay house rent, we cannot run the family throughout the month and if we try to meet other expenses, we cannot pay house rent,” a worker said. The officer in charge of Ashulia police station Mahesinul Quadir confirmed that the garment workers were on strike. The last time they received a pay-hike was in 2013 and the minimum wage was fixed at Tk 5,300 a month. However, the workers now demand Tk 15,000 salary a month. The workers also alleged that they were not given gratuity and leave to which they are entitled. They even complained about harassment by the owners of the factories. The workers in Ashulia began demonstrating last Monday when workers of Windy Group went on strike. Workers of at least 10 factories followed them in the past one week

19 Dec 2016 Ferado

Nepal, Qatar rights bodies to promote workers’ welfare

Kathmandu:National Human Rights Commission and the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar today agreed on an 11-point activation plan for implementation of the agreement reached last year to protect the rights of Nepali migrant workers in the Gulf country, amid a programme in Kathmandu

NHRC Chairperson Anup Raj Sharma and Qatar’s rights committee Chairperson Ali Bin Samikh Al-Marri signed the activation plan on behalf of their respective countries.

A 10-point bilateral agreement was signed in November 2015 for the welfare of Nepali migrant workers in Qatar. The activation plan seeks to bring into effect the agreement in the wake of recently introduced new labour law in Qatar and the signing of labour agreement between the two countries.

The major points included in the 11-point activation plan are: appointing a contact person in the respective countries’ human rights agencies for exchange of information; imparting training to private foreign employment agencies; and providing legal support to Nepali workers in Qatar.

The rights bodies of the two countries would also study the problems faced by Nepali migrant workers in Qatar.

On the occasion, NHRC Chairman Sharma said the first ever understanding on migration was signed with South Korea in 2010 for the protection of rights of Nepali migrants workers there. He expressed his confidence that the agreement would play an important role in protecting workers’ rights.

Likewise, NHRC Qatar Chair Dr Al-Marri informed that his country had been receiving a large number of foreign migrant workers, including Nepalis, every year and the Qatari government had taken steps for their welfare.

19 Dec 2016 Ferado

Company pays under minimum wage, tries to charge woman after she quits early

JAPAN: A Tokyo company paid a woman less than the minimum wage, then illegally tried to charge her for training fees after she quit early, it has been learned.

“If you don’t pay within 10 days, we may take legal action,” read a certified letter that arrived in November last year to a 21-year-old woman living in Saitama Prefecture. The sender was a company managing a yoga classroom where she had worked until the previous month. She had quit because of her overbearing bosses, and now the company was charging her for on-the-job training she received. They were seeking 3,500 yen per hour of training, for a total of 140,000 yen, a penalty for her having quit the job early. She ignored the letter, and three weeks later a letter from a summary court arrived urging her to pay.

The woman had begun working for the company in a part-time position in October 2015. At the time she was still a student at a vocational school, and the job was one she had finally landed after struggling to find work. Once she finished training she would gain full-time employment. “Someone finally took me in,” she thought, as she resolved to work hard at the new job.

She was positioned at a workplace in Tokyo, with pay set at 870 yen per hour. It wasn’t until later that she learned this was less than the minimum wage, which at the time was 907 yen per hour in Tokyo. While performing duties like working the front desk, she received training to become a yoga instructor.

It was not long before she lost her will to apply herself to the new job. She was troubled by the manager’s overbearing attitude, and a male employee who would yell at his subordinates for an hour straight. She became scared to go to work, and three colleagues who were hired at the same time as her quit in succession. At the end of October she told the company she was going to leave as well.

It was after then that the company showed its true colors. Soon after quitting she received a phone call, in which the company demanded she pay for the training she had received. When she was hired, she had been made to sign a form saying that if she did not work for at least two years at the company she would have to pay the training costs. She refused to pay, but the company did not give up. She set her phone to reject calls from the company phone number, but then it called from a different number. Someone saying they were a department head at the company told her a letter would be arriving and hung up.
A woman who was charged 140,000 yen by her company for training fees after saying she was going to quit is seen in this photo taken in Taito Ward, Tokyo, on Nov. 16, 2016. She says there are many people who are similarly troubled. (Mainichi)

Terumasa Ishida of the Rengo Hiseiki Rodo Center says that this kind of behavior by the company violates the Labor Standards Act, which forbids setting up penalty fees for failure to comply with an employment contract. “This behavior is unforgiveable because it robs people of the freedom to leave their job,” he says.

The woman sought help from a labor union. The company argued that the woman was at fault for suddenly quitting, but after the union shot back that the company’s actions were illegal, it ended up apologizing, withdrawing its demand for the money and paying the woman the gap between what she received and the minimum wage.

The woman now works at a massage parlor geared toward women. She says, “Companies that don’t follow the law will never follow it. The more people are unquestioning of their companies, the more they will lose.”

Meanwhile, a lack of awareness of the minimum wage is a problem. Over 5 percent of workers at mid- and small-size businesses in Tokyo and Osaka are paid less than the minimum wage. The government touts that wages are rising at large corporations, but many workers, mainly those irregularly employed, are being left behind.

At the Sugamo Jizo Road shopping area in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, a restaurant advertised in a flier for a job paying 900 yen per hour. The man managing the restaurant said, “Until the newly hired person can do the job well, they will be paid 850 yen per hour.” When asked whether he knew the minimum wage in Tokyo was 932 yen per hour, he said, “Well I don’t know all the specifics …” He explained he used the wages at other businesses as a guide, and said, “I thought the minimum wage was in the 800s.”

An official at the Tokyo Labor Bureau says, “We want to focus our investigations on problematic employers and correct them.” However, lawyer Hideo Ogawa, head of a poverty-fighting section at the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, says, “The minimum wage is enforced with punishments by the national government, and paying less than it is a crime. However, unless it’s reported the labor standards inspection offices won’t be aware of it. Businesses think they won’t be investigated for it anyway.

ニュースサイトで読む: http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161219/p2a/00m/0na/023000c#csidx05c59ac927d3825b6f6f1abd9b27620
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