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.

24 Aug 2017 Ferado

Hongkong Post staff stage protest against disability discrimination at work

Hong Kong’s postal authority has been ­accused of failing to properly handle discrimination against workers with disabilities, with one union saying that cases of name-calling, forced resignation and unfair treatment were only the tip of the iceberg.
Victims claimed complaints made to the management of Hongkong Post had been brushed aside and attributed to misunderstandings and communication errors, and said they intended to bring the matter before the­ equality watchdog and the Ombudsman.

About 10 workers and representatives of the Rights Association of Hongkong Post Contract Staff staged a demonstration outside the General Post Office in Central on Thursday morning.

They said the issue had become more serious since former postmaster general Jessie Ting Yip Yin-mei stepped down in March to become right-hand woman to the city’s leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

23 Aug 2017 Ferado

Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union’s victory in referendum

LAHORE (PR): The Registrar Trade Union National Industrial Relations Commission of Pakistan had decided in a case number 2(29) dated 20-3-2017 for cancellation of the Registration of Wapda Employees Pegham Union, Pasban Employees Union and Insaf Employees Union on account of failing to obtain minimum 10 percent votes as required under Section 19(9)(c) of Industrial Relations Act 2012 in nationwide referendum.

In the referendum held on February 2, 2017, Wapda Pegham Employees Union achieved 3,401 votes, Pasban Employees Union obtained 197 votes, and Insaf Employees Union got 1,417 votes, whereas All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union has obtained 1,03,553 votes. Wapda Pegham Employees Unions had been defeated in all sixth nationwide referendums consecutively.

The victory of Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union in referendum had affirmed that the workers of Wapda/electricity companies believe in their national unity and will continue to defeat the parochial, ethnic and religious sectarian forces and make success the struggle of the working class for defending and promoting their right to raise productivity of the largest national public utility of Wapda/Electricity companies

23 Aug 2017 Ferado

Impasse continues over wage hike at Coal India as talks with unions fail

india: The meeting between the Coal India management and unions over a wage hike ended without a decision being taken as the company said it wasn’t in a position to meet the demands, as per a report published in The Economic Times.

The unions did not accept the company’s argument that it did not have sufficient funds because it had paid excess dividend and fund transfer to the government under the buyback scheme.

The company management said that it is only in a position to give 15 percent hike, whereas the unions were demanding a 21 percent hike, down from the 50 percent hike it originally demanded.

The report states that salaries account for nearly 52 percent of the cost of production and the company spent Rs 33,000 crore on salaries for the year 2016-17.
The unions and the management negotiate salary hikes after every five years