25 Aug 2017 Ferado

Nearly 250 PRTC crew protest against ‘assault’ on a colleague by private bus Staff.

A flash strike by a section of PRTC staff disrupted bus services on Thursday putting commuters and passengers to hardship.

INDIA: About 250 drivers and conductors, who were recruited to the PRCTC on contract, went on strike in protest against the alleged assault on a driver by “agents” of private bus operators near Jipmer junction on Wednesday night.

Protection sought

Several town and suburban services were disrupted between 5 a.m. and about 11 a.m.

The protesting contract staff demanded police protection to their cadre, which included women conductors, to pre-empt such attacks which were triggered by disputes over bus timing. They wanted the culprits behind the attack to be arrested.

The staff claimed that agents of private bus operators were using strong arm tactics to herd passengers away from PRCTC buses at vantage bus stops such as New Bus Stand, Indira Gandhi Statue, Anthoniyar Koil and Gorimedu.

The staff complained that whenever victims of assault or harassment preferred a police complaint action had not been taken because of the intervention of influential persons on behalf of the private operators, and this emboldened the offenders.

As the strike continued, senior officials of the PRCTC and the police held talks with representatives of the contract staff.

Assurance from police

Eventually, the staff called off the strike on the basis of assurance from the police that action would be taken to prevent such incidents.

According to a PRTC official, dispute over bus timings keep recurring and suggested stringent regulation by the Regional Transport Officer.

The registered trade unions of PRTC workers expressed solidarity with the contract employees but did not join the strike, a PRTC official said.

PRTC bus services were not affected in Karaikal, he added.

25 Aug 2017 Ferado

Sock factory fires workers on strike

BURMA: Over 200 factory workers of DJY Knitting Myanmar factory of industrial zone 3 in Hlaing Tharyar have been protesting in front of the factory since August 7. They demand the re-hiring of their leader sacked by the factory and the organising of an independent workers union, according to protesters.

“We can’t accept them should they want to get back to work because they failed to return before the deadline,” said a factory official, who asked not to be named, to the media on August 23.

The factory official added that, the strikers failed to return to work for nearly 12 days without leave requests. The factory had given them a chance on four occasions by extending the deadline several times.

The factory fired the worker’s leader who was organising the trade union on August 7. According to our source, the factory offered compensations and acted legally because the leader committed several infractions: he allegedly held a meeting with the other workers in order to create the labour union without prior notice; he missed work the following day; he enticed other workers to go on strike; and he contacted the human resources department asking for paid leave for the workers.

“We have promised to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to obey the laws of the country. We never violate laws because it would affect business with our clients,” a factory official said on Wednesday.

Over 200 workers went on strike on August 7 and made 17 demands relating to their labour rights. According to the factory official, workers failed to return to work even though they agreed to all 17 demands of the strikers. These demands were ratified by the signing of a labour agreement contract in front of the township labour arbitration group of the Ministry of Labour.

The strike has not ceased as protesters now demand for the re-hiring of their dismissed leader, as he is a key person for the trade union.

“We just want to form a union. Every country has labour unions. We are here to protest since they tried to break the trade union,” said one of the workers’ leaders, Phyo Ko Ko Aung, to the media on August 22.

Strikers added that they are protesting peacefully against the factory and only have two further requests: to re-hire their leader and to be able to form an independent trade union.

Protesters addressed the regional arbitration council to solve their disputes. “We will oppose the factory through the legal system since they are fighting us with laws. We only want to be allowed to form a trade union,” said protest leader Ko Soe Thura Ko, who was fired by the factory, on August 23.

The DJY knitting Myanmar Co Ltd opened in Hkaing Tharyar two years ago. The factory employs close to 400 workers and over half of them are on strike. Those who refused to join the protest argued that they must keep working to earn a living. They added that they get unsolicited pressure from the strikers whenever they come to and

25 Aug 2017 Ferado

Union seeks protections for postal workers on marriage survey

AUSTRALIA:Your Union has called on Australia Post to clarify your rights and responsibilities during the upcoming Same Sex Marriage postal survey.

CEPU Communications Division National Secretary Greg Rayner has written to Australia Post seeking discussions around concerns associated with the delivery of ‘unaddressed mail’ as part of the process.

As the Union representing postal workers, the CEPU will not advocate any opinion on the substantive issue of the postal survey.

We believe this is a sensible, appropriate and necessary step to ensure CEPU members employed by Australia Post aren’t compromised in their role in upholding the integrity of the survey.

But while the CEPU is not taking sides, we are concerned about the lack of clarity around the conduct of the survey and the associated campaign process. For example, Australia Post has the right to refuse to deliver unaddressed mail deemed to be offensive – our members need to know what this actually means.

We also need Australia Post to confirm that members will have protections if they have issues with distributing certain campaign material on account of genuinely held beliefs.

We are conscious that the topic of Same Sex Marriage may be a highly sensitive and passionate one for many of our members and it is extremely disappointing that some media outlets have attempted to politicise what is purely an industrial matter for CEPU postal members.

This postal survey has been ill-conceived and CEPU postal members are being asked to play a key role in its hasted implementation. However, our members do their jobs extremely well and there is no reason to suggest a waiver of that dedication when undertaking duties associated with this process.

The least they deserve, though, is clarity around their legal rights and obligations.

We will keep postal members informed as discussions with Australia Post on this matter progress.

25 Aug 2017 Ferado

China’s labour law is no use to those who need it most

CHINA:WHETHER in the breathless years of double-digit economic growth or today’s more languid era, one constant in China has been the poor state of workers’ rights and the frequent outbreaks of labour unrest. From coalminers in the snowy north-east to factory staff in the steamy Pearl River Delta, workers have agitated against low pay, wage arrears, unsafe conditions and job losses. A law on labour contracts that took effect in 2008 aimed to keep Chinese hard-hats happier, and on paper it should have succeeded. Indeed, the worldwide ranking of employment-protection laws by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a rich-country think-tank, puts China near the very top of the tables on several indicators.
But even though the law has left blue-collar workers in the lurch, it hasIn practice, however, the law has only helped a bit. The lack of independent unions or genuine collective bargaining leaves China’s blue-collar workers vulnerable and grumpy. Incidents of labour unrest remain widespread. Around 600 strikes or protests have been reported this year, according to researchers at China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based watchdog, who reckon this tally of known incidents may represent only 10-15% of the actual number. The government is trying to keep unrest in check by lowering the threshold at which the police intervene. In Beijing protests used to be broken up if 50 workers showed up; now ten will suffice.
brought considerable, unintended benefits for white-collar ones. Managers in all sorts of companies—Chinese, foreign, state-owned and private—complain that the law makes it difficult to fire office staff, even in cases of egregious malfeasance. “When the law was written, we didn’t anticipate this,” says Wang Kan of the China Institute of Industrial Relations.

He describes a case involving a senior executive at a big technology company who was caught subcontracting work at grossly inflated prices to a firm that he had established using a relative’s name. His employer was unable to meet the extensive documentary and procedural requirements laid out in the law, so could not dismiss him. The executive’s departure instead came on terms he dictated: he got a huge payout and the firm he was leaving even waived non-compete restrictions it would normally have imposed.

Blue-collar workers may have even less job security than before, partly because of slowing growth and the closure of some state-owned firms. Yet they are often unable to use the labour law to protect themselves. Many of them, especially the tens of millions of migrant workers who roam from job to job in construction and other lowly roles, are taken on without formal contracts, says Aaron Halegua of New York University, even though that contravenes the law in itself. If an employer denies any relationship with a worker and there are no documents to prove one, he says, the worker’s case will seldom reach a court or arbitration panel.

Professionals have also been better able to use the labour law because they are paid enough to hire legal help. Lawyers are not allowed to take on cases in exchange for a share of any settlement. Theoretically the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, an umbrella for all Chinese unions, offers legal aid to blue-collar workers as part of its mandate. Since it is completely controlled by the Communist Party, however, it typically prizes the government’s desire for stability over workers’ calls for fairness.

China does have a handful of campaigning lawyers and NGOs that seek to offer legal help to abused blue-collar workers, but they are routinely met with professional censure or worse forms of intimidation. Communist Party officials instinctively respond more fiercely to aggrieved blue-collar workers than to white-collar ones. When they lie awake at night worrying about labour unrest, they picture mobs of manual labourers with pickaxes, not swarms of pen-wielding office drones.

24 Aug 2017 Ferado

Trade unions, employers welcome Labour Bill Say the new law creates win-win situation for both parties Pu

NEPAL: Welcoming the Labour Bill, which was endorsed by the Legislature-Parliament last week, both employers and trade unions have said that its effective implementation will help establish a cordial labour relationship in every workplace and the entire nation.
Speaking at an interaction programme organised by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) today, trade unions and employers believed that the new labour law has created a win-win situation for both parties and will prove to be a milestone in improving the labour environment in the country.

“The new Labour Act has addressed the concerns of both workers and employers. As the law has ensured social security for workers based on work evaluation and issues related to workplace security and accidents, workers can now work without any fear,” said Bishnu Rimal, president of General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT).

However, Rimal said that the government should timely bring guidelines of the act to ensure that provisions incorporated by the Labour Act are enforced properly.

Similarly, Khila Nath Dahal, president of Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), said that the Labour Act is inclusive and has tried to address workplace problems of employees of small industries to large scale industries regardless of any sector. Informing that the provision of labour market inspection in the Labour Law is one of the many worker-friendly provisions in the new law, Dahal said, “The government should monitor workplaces regularly to ensure that the new Labour Law is implemented properly.”

On the occasion, Country Director of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Richard Howard praised the enactment of the Labour Law that has incorporated the suggestions of both employers and employees. “The enactment of this labour-friendly law will be instrumental to create more jobs in Nepal for which the country is desperate as employment generation is necessary to take a leap forward in economic growth,” he said. He also assured that ILO is committed to assist Nepal to provide required technical and financial support for labour friendly market and job creation.

FNCCI President Bhawani Rana said that endorsement of the Labour Act will be crucial for Nepal to sustain and enhance the current positive indicators of the national economy.

Similarly, Shekhar Golchha, senior vice-president of FNCCI, said that the Labour Act has addressed employers’ concern of labour flexibility and employees’ concern of social security.