31 May 2018 Ferado

Miners expect to weather one-day Canadian Pacific rail worker strike

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – A one-day strike by Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway engineers and conductors is not expected to have a lasting impact on Canada’s mining operations, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) said on Wednesday.

Members of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) downed tools on Tuesday night following what it believes was a best effort approach to reach a negotiated settlement.TSX- and NYSE-listed Canadian Pacific Railway announced on Wednesday that it has reached a tentative four-year agreement with CP conductors and locomotive engineers and a five-year agreement with the Kootenay Valley Railway conductors and locomotive engineers, ending both strikes.
Details of the agreement will be presented to the TCRC membership for ratification, the TCRC, which represents about 3 000 engineers and conductors, said in a statement.Full operations are expected to resume on Thursday morning, the union said.

“We believe this is a fair contract that our members can feel good about ratifying. I am personally very satisfied with what we have negotiated,” TCRC president Doug Finnson said. “We have had the discussion that needed to take place. This is a solid step in re-establishing a positive business relationship and moving forward.”

The mining association expressed relief at the news of the tentative four-year agreement and commended the work of federal negotiators, singling out the contribution from the Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patricia Hajdu. Both the union and CP also acknowledged the minister’s intervention.

“The impacts of a one-day strike will be manageable for Canada’s mining sector and intervention by the federal government in support of a quick resolution avoids harm to Canada’s reputation as a reliable exporter,” MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton said in a statement.

A protracted labour dispute would have led to painful rail service disruptions for Canadian mining companies and damaged Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading partner, and the national economy, the association noted.

According to MAC’s latest ‘Facts & Figures’ report, the Canadian mining industry accounts for over 50% of the freight revenues of Canada’s rail system yearly. The industry is also a key economic driver for the country, having contributed C$58-billion to Canada’s gross domestic product, employed directly and indirectly 596 000 workers, and accounted for 19%, or more than C$88-billion, of the total overall value of Canada’s exports.

Soon after announcing the tentative accord, CP’s TSX-quoted equity rose to a new record high, gaining 2.8% to C$247.65 apiece in the afternoon session, before settling somewhat lower at C$245.39 a share at the closing bell.

30 May 2018 Ferado

800 LHWs booked for resorting to ‘violence’

BAHAWALNAGAR: As many as 800 lady health workers were booked on Saturday allegedly for ransacking the deputy commissioner’s office and holding the staff hostage during a protest against non-payment of their salaries.

The case was registered on a complaint of Deputy Commissioner Office Complex caretaker Nazim Ali Khan.

In his complaint, Mr Khan alleged the lady health workers, led by Health Workers Union Punjab President Rukhsana Anwar, district president Fatima Jabeen and tehsil secretary general Masarrat Fatima, “occupied” the DC office building. “Not only did they occupy the building, but also damaged the furniture and held the staff hostage,” he said.

“About 100 staffers of the DC office saved their lives by fleeing from the scene,” he claimed.

The HWU Punjab president, on the other hand, rapped the administration for getting an FIR registered against LHWs despite resolution of the issue after talks. “We will raise voice for our rights at every forum,” she vowed.

30 May 2018 Ferado

apan to ease language requirements for unskilled foreign workers

TOKYO — The Japanese government plans to ease restrictions on unskilled foreign nationals seeking to work in Japan, Nikkei learned Tuesday, as the country grapples with a serious labor shortage.

The new policy, which will ease Japanese language requirements for overseas workers, will be incorporated into a work permit system and included in draft economic policy guidelines to be finalized by June.

The change marks a significant shift in Japan’s policy regarding overseas workers. Under current rules, work permits are issued mainly to skilled professionals.

The government hopes to attract more than 500,000 overseas workers by 2025 to five industries especially hard hit by a lack of unskilled labor. Japan had 1.27 million registered foreign workers last year, according to health ministry figures.

The new work permits will apply to construction, agriculture, lodging, nursing care, shipbuilding and related manufacturing. Applicants will be required to take occupational and Japanese language tests designed for each type of work by industry associations.

The draft guidelines, called the Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform, will call for creating a new class of work permits valid for up to five years. Details are still to be fleshed out.

Under the existing Technical Intern Training Program foreign workers are permitted to stay up to five years. The new qualification system will exempt those who have finished the training program from testing.

As for the Japanese language requirements, foreign nationals will have to be “capable of understanding slow conversations,” in principle. People are typically able to acquire that level of proficiency after around 300 hours of study, according to Japan Educational Exchanges and Services, which conducts Japanese language testing.

As for the construction and agricultural sectors, even those who have not acquired that basic level of Japanese skill will be eligible for work permits. With respect to technical skills, the government will consider using tests devised and conducted by industry bodies.

The construction sector is expected to face a shortage of 780,000 to 930,000 people by 2025. The government aims to accept a total 300,000 of foreign construction workers through the program.

The labor shortage in agriculture is exacerbated by the aging of Japan’s farmers. The program will likely try to bring in 26,000 to 83,000 overseas farmworkers to make up for an estimated shortfall of 46,000 to 103,000 workers by 2023.

Demand for caregivers for the elderly continues to grow as Japan ages. The government estimates the workforce in that sector needs to grow by 550,000 by the end of fiscal 2025. It has tried to attract more hands by introducing measures to raise pay. But it has concluded there are not enough domestic workers to fill the gap, so it hopes to bring in 10,000 workers from abroad.

Japan’s contingent of overseas workers has grown by about 600,000 since Prime Minster Shinzo Abe became prime minister for the second time in 2012, mainly through the technical intern program, which aims to provide on-the-job training to foreign nationals for certain unskilled jobs.

The country’s labor shortage is becoming the biggest single challenge for the economy. The government estimates Japan’s working-age population — those between the ages of 15 and 64 — will shrink by about 15 million from current levels by fiscal 2040.

30 May 2018 Ferado

Unfortunately, the government has wasted every opportunity it has been given to improve the situation for workers. The Bangladesh Labour Act, the country’s primary labour law, and its regulations contain numerous obstacles to the exercise of this fundamental right. Workers in Export Processing Zones are prohibited from forming a union. The government still arbitrarily denies the registration of over half the unions that apply. And workers face dismissal or worse, including severe beatings, for attempting to form unions – while those responsible face no consequences whatsoever. The ITUC’s 2018 review of the Committee of Experts’ report makes this abundantly clear. Bangladesh will not appear on the short list of cases of the Committee on the Application of Standards this year – not because there is improvement but rather because there is none. It makes no sense to provide the government yet another opportunity to make the same old excuses and the same old empty promises. Further, the ILO supervisory system has repeated too many times what the government must do to protect the right to freedom of association. Instead, we are putting the government of Bangladesh on notice. It has one final year to put its house in order. If it does not, the Workers’ Group will file for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry at the 2019 International Labour Conference. This also serves as a notice to global brands. If you are truly serious about your commitments to respect labour rights in global supply chains, the case of Bangladesh provides no better opportunity. In the run-up to the centennial of the ILO next year, let’s see whether together we can make real progress. If not, then we know what to expect next year.

INDIA: Unfortunately, the government has wasted every opportunity it has been given to improve the situation for workers. The Bangladesh Labour Act, the country’s primary labour law, and its regulations contain numerous obstacles to the exercise of this fundamental right. Workers in Export Processing Zones are prohibited from forming a union. The government still arbitrarily denies the registration of over half the unions that apply. And workers face dismissal or worse, including severe beatings, for attempting to form unions – while those responsible face no consequences whatsoever. The ITUC’s 2018 review of the Committee of Experts’ report makes this abundantly clear.

Bangladesh will not appear on the short list of cases of the Committee on the Application of Standards this year – not because there is improvement but rather because there is none. It makes no sense to provide the government yet another opportunity to make the same old excuses and the same old empty promises. Further, the ILO supervisory system has repeated too many times what the government must do to protect the right to freedom of association. Instead, we are putting the government of Bangladesh on notice. It has one final year to put its house in order. If it does not, the Workers’ Group will file for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry at the 2019 International Labour Conference.

This also serves as a notice to global brands. If you are truly serious about your commitments to respect labour rights in global supply chains, the case of Bangladesh provides no better opportunity. In the run-up to the centennial of the ILO next year, let’s see whether together we can make real progress. If not, then we know what to expect next year.Unfortunately, the government has wasted every opportunity it has been given to improve the situation for workers. The Bangladesh Labour Act, the country’s primary labour law, and its regulations contain numerous obstacles to the exercise of this fundamental right. Workers in Export Processing Zones are prohibited from forming a union. The government still arbitrarily denies the registration of over half the unions that apply. And workers face dismissal or worse, including severe beatings, for attempting to form unions – while those responsible face no consequences whatsoever. The ITUC’s 2018 review of the Committee of Experts’ report makes this abundantly clear.

Bangladesh will not appear on the short list of cases of the Committee on the Application of Standards this year – not because there is improvement but rather because there is none. It makes no sense to provide the government yet another opportunity to make the same old excuses and the same old empty promises. Further, the ILO supervisory system has repeated too many times what the government must do to protect the right to freedom of association. Instead, we are putting the government of Bangladesh on notice. It has one final year to put its house in order. If it does not, the Workers’ Group will file for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry at the 2019 International Labour Conference.

This also serves as a notice to global brands. If you are truly serious about your commitments to respect labour rights in global supply chains, the case of Bangladesh provides no better opportunity. In the run-up to the centennial of the ILO next year, let’s see whether together we can make real progress. If not, then we know what to expect next year.

30 May 2018 Ferado

The Government of Bangladesh Is Failing Its Workers

DHAKA: Unfortunately, the government has wasted every opportunity it has been given to improve the situation for workers. The Bangladesh Labour Act, the country’s primary labour law, and its regulations contain numerous obstacles to the exercise of this fundamental right. Workers in Export Processing Zones are prohibited from forming a union. The government still arbitrarily denies the registration of over half the unions that apply. And workers face dismissal or worse, including severe beatings, for attempting to form unions – while those responsible face no consequences whatsoever. The ITUC’s 2018 review of the Committee of Experts’ report makes this abundantly clear.

Bangladesh will not appear on the short list of cases of the Committee on the Application of Standards this year – not because there is improvement but rather because there is none. It makes no sense to provide the government yet another opportunity to make the same old excuses and the same old empty promises. Further, the ILO supervisory system has repeated too many times what the government must do to protect the right to freedom of association. Instead, we are putting the government of Bangladesh on notice. It has one final year to put its house in order. If it does not, the Workers’ Group will file for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry at the 2019 International Labour Conference.

This also serves as a notice to global brands. If you are truly serious about your commitments to respect labour rights in global supply chains, the case of Bangladesh provides no better opportunity. In the run-up to the centennial of the ILO next year, let’s see whether together we can make real progress. If not, then we know what to expect next year.