22 Aug 2017 Ferado

ONE Millions PSU bank employees to go on strike tomorrow; here’s what they are demanding

INDIA: Nearly 10 lakh public sector bank employees are likely to go on nation-wide strike tomorrow. Employee unions under United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) on threatened to go on strike on Tuesday against the government’s proposed consolidation reforms.UFBU is an umbrella body of nine unions, including All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW).The unions claimed that as the conciliation meeting before the Chief Labour Commissioner failed, unions are left with no other option but to go on strike. As many as 21 public sector banks control 75% of the total business.

Though, most of the PSU banks have informed their customers about the strike and impact on services, operations at private banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, are likely to remain normal except there can be a delay in cheque clearance.The unions under the UFBU announced the strike after talks with the government over a proposed consolidation move across the sector were inconclusive, among other demands.

What are the demands?

According to a PTI report, unions have four demands:

1. No write-off policy for non-performing assets (NPAs) of corporate loans
2. Declaring wilful default of loans as criminal offence
3. Implementation of the recommendations of parliamentary committee on recovery of NPAs
4. Government should abolish the Banks Board Bureau and ensure stringent measures to recover bad loans.

Apart from these three demands, the unions said that banks should not pass on the burden of corporate bad loans on bank customers by raising the charges.

22 Aug 2017 Ferado


INDIA: No work is likely to be transacted at as many as 5,000 bank branches across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday with public sector and old generation private and regional rural banks employees set to go on a day’s strike.

Over 80,000 bank employees in the two States will be participating in the nationwide strike, said VVSR Sarma, Convenor (Telangana and Andhra Pradesh) of the United Forum of Bank Unions. An umbrella body, the Forum comprises five workmen unions and four officers associations. The new generation private sector banks and ATMs of all banks, however, are expected to function as usual. The strike is against what the bank unions term as “anti-people banking reforms”, write off of corporate non-performing assets and increase in bank charges.

It is in support of the demand for stringent measures for recovery of bad loans, withdrawal of proposed FRDI (Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance) Bill, abolition of Banks Board Bureau, adequate recruitment in all cadres and resolution of issues relating to employees, Mr.Sarma said.

This would be second strike this year by the UFBU, with the Forum holding a similar protest, impacting routine banking operations, in February. Several public sector banks anticipate normal functioning of their branches and offices to be affected, if the strike materialises, on Tuesday as evident from their intimation to the stock exchanges.

A few banks said they are taking “all the necessary steps in terms of the existing guidelines for smooth functioning” of the branches/offices.

22 Aug 2017 Ferado

Streets betrays workers by terminating agreement and slashing wages by 46%

AUSTRALIA: Unilever, owner of Streets ice cream, one of Australia’s most iconic brands, has betrayed workers at its Minto plant in Western Sydney by attempting to terminate a workplace agreement and cut its workers’ pay by 46 per cent.

As well as a drastic pay cut, hundreds of Streets’ workers, who make Paddle Pop, Magnum and Golden Gaytime ice creams, would also have important conditions slashed. Limits on overtime, annual, personal, parental and compassionate leave, redundancy conditions, and protections against use of labour hire and contractors, would all be torn up.

The strategy used by Unilever over a 16 month industrial dispute is disturbingly familiar. Management proposed a new agreement, which included harsh new conditions, which Streets’ workers overwhelmingly voted down.

In response, rather than continuing to negotiate, the company is applying to have the independent umpire slash wages by 46 per cent.

This practice has become a favourite of companies looking to bully their workforces into submission, and the precedent set up the Fair Work Commission’s rulings on disputes at Aurizon has allowed hundreds of agreements to be terminated.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“This is industrial blackmail. Unilever and Streets are forcing workers to choose between an agreement they don’t want and a 46 per cent cut in wages, with crippling cuts to conditions.”

“The rules that used to protect working people from this kind of attack are broken.”

“We stand with the workers at Minto just as we stood with the workers at CUB’s Abbottsford Brewery. This bullying of working people will never be tolerated.”

“Unilever are exploiting the fact that corporations have been given immense power, and protections for workers have been broken down. We want changes to the rules so that companies cannot blackmail their employees.”

“Unilever try to portray themselves as an ethical company, but that clearly doesn’t extend to their treatment of their own workers.”

“The ACTU will campaign against this appalling treatment of working people – not only at Streets but everywhere that companies are using termination of agreements as blackmail – until the rules are changed.”

22 Aug 2017 Ferado

16,000 Mahalla spinning and weaving workers end strike

EGYPT: Abdel Fattah Ibrahim, president of the General Union of Spinning and Weaving Workers, announced Sunday that the workers of the Egyptian Spinning and Weaving company in Mahalla city, Gharbiya, have ended their strike and returned to work.

Ibrahim said in his statement, that the workers had assigned a union to negotiate with the government on their demands and will continue meetings with government officials over their demands.

Negotiations on ending the strike began on Friday evening and continued until after midnight, said Ibrahim, stressing that he went personally to the headquarters of the company with members of the union, and convinced the workers to return to their posts.

The workers agreed to return full time, while while if they could continue negotiations on their financial demands, he said.

The employees pledged to make up for the losses suffered by the company, as a result of the strike during the past days, said Ibrahim.

MP Mohamed Abdo said that the workers ended the strike after generous effort from the Mahalla MPs, adding that the strike caused the company losses of over LE100 million.

Over 6,000 workers of the Egyptian Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahallah city, Gharbiya, began an open-ended strike on Monday August 7, demanding the ten percent bonus promised to them by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the parliament.

They also called for the disbursement of additional month long delayed bonuses.

10,000 more company workers joined the strike the following day.

21 Aug 2017 Ferado

ITF backs Norwegian unions campaigning to keep seafarers’ welfare high on political agenda

NORWAY: The ITF is supporting its Norwegian maritime affiliates that are advocating for cabotage legislation and the regulation of wages and working conditions for all seafarers working in Norwegian waters and on the continental shelf.

This week, ITF general secretary Steve Cotton joined the campaign and participated in maritime debate focused on cabotage in Arendal. Norwegian Trade Union Confederation (LO) leader Hans Christian Gabrielsen and Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) Director Deirdre Fitzpatrick also participated in the event.

During his remarks, Cotton stated that cabotage is a vital part of the ITF’s Flag of Convenience campaign since it ensures the right of national seafarers to work in their domestic trade. He went on to say that cabotage is equally important for developing world seafarers as for those in the developed world.

“Cabotage for the ITF means sustainable development for seafarers,” said Cotton. He also emphasised that Norway has always held a leading position in the international maritime industry and that Norwegian seafarers have played a major role.

LO leader Hans Christian Gabrielsen said “Social dumping at sea is just as serious as social dumping on shore, not only for the individual, but also for the local communities they are part of.”

SRI Director Deirdre Fitzpatrick presented a report commissioned by the ITF Cabotage Task Force last year to research cabotage regulations around the world.

The SRI surveyed 136 countries, of those 91 countries had some form of maritime cabotage restriction/protection. Many countries reported that the benefits of cabotage were fair competition, retention and transfer of maritime skills, promotion of jobs for local seafarers, promotion of local transport companies, safety, protection of the environment, national security and public service.

“Historically maritime cabotage protection has been widespread and the survey shows that this remains the case,” said Fitzpatrick.