19 Aug 2017 Ferado

10 lakh officials to protest against banking reforms

New Delhi: Around 10 lakh bankers will go on strike on August 22 as talks between the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) on one side and Indian Banks’ Association, chief labour commissioner and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) failed on Friday, said a union leader.
The forum is an umbrella body of nine unions in the Indian banking sector.

The UFBU has given notice of a nationwide strike on August 22 to protest against reforms in the banking sector and other issues.

“The officials from IBA and DFS said there is no merger of government-owned banks or privatisation in the immediate future and urged us to withdraw our strike call. The talks were not satisfactory as there was nothing concrete coming from their side,” D Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, general secretary of the All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) told IANS after the meeting.

He said that around 10 lakh bankers working in around 132,000 branches would be on strike on August 22.

19 Aug 2017 Ferado

Kidnapped workers of Chinese company recovered

Tank: Workers of a Chinese firm abducted from the Frontier Region of Tank a week ago, were recovered on Tuesday.
On August 9, four workers of the Chinese oil and gas survey company, PJP, were napped from the border area of FR Tank-Lakki Marwat district. The Chinese company is responsible for conducting a survey focusing on gas reserves in the area.

Supervisor Riaz, bulldozer operator Shaukat, driver Amir Mohammad Khan and private security guard Zaro Jan were reportedly among the employees who were kidnapped.

The kidnapped workers were recovered by the security forces in a search operation launched in the area on Tuesday, however, the kidnappers managed to flee, according to reports.

19 Aug 2017 Ferado

MUMBAI: Two associations representing more than 1,600 pilots plan to take India’s aviation regulator to court over a new rule, which requires them to serve a notice period of up to one year when they resign from an airline. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation introduced the rule on Wednesday.

“We had petitioned at the Bombay High Court even when the rule was in its draft stages. Then, we were told it was too early to appeal. Now that it’s been implemented despite a

19 Aug 2017 Ferado

Why female migrants are prone to sexual abuse in Cambodia

COMBODIA: Despite having a raft of measures to prevent gender-based crimes in Cambodia, women continue to face rampant sexual abuse and harassment. Experts say strict implementation of laws is needed to curb the problems.
Cambodia’s bustling capital Phnom Penh is full of places filled with excitement, entertainment and opportunities. These features have acted as a significant pull factor, attracting huge numbers of people from across the country and doubling the city’s population over the past decade.

The primary motivation for most of these migrants coming to the capital is to seek either education or work. Although this rural-urban migration is having a positive impact on the Southeast Asian country’s economy, it has also created numerous problems, particularly in the case of female migrants.

Among the major issues they encounter in the city are sexual abuse, harassment and assaults. The problems hinder equal female participation in society, keeping girls and women from realizing their full potential. They obstruct their access to education, employment, public services and recreational activities.

– Open sewage canals put Phnom Penh’s poorest at risk

– Cambodian garment workers stay poor while dressing the West

“As people are scared of sexual crimes, those in the rural areas do not want to send their daughters to the city to pursue education,” said Tepphallin Ou, vice president of Cambodia Food and service Worker Federation (CFWF), a trade union. “It reinforces the Khmer past tradition of not letting women pursue higher education,” she told DW.

A 2013 report titled Women and Migration in Cambodia released by the Ministry of Planning revealed that 58.5 percent of the female migrants in Phnom Penh sought employment. It also revealed that 32.2 percent of women who migrated to Phnom Penh were employed as garment workers, while another 10.3 percent as service or entertainment workers. And it is those who have to work night shifts that experience harassment and assaults the most.

Tepphalin said: “Those female workers have neither physical nor psychological security, since they are constantly worried about their safety when walking home on the unlighted streets at night.” She added that some drug users also dwell on the same streets, making the women feel even more unsafe.

Another issue relates to the phenomenon of victim blaming, which remains widespread in Cambodia. When it comes to sexual crimes, society usually is ready to hurl the blame toward women.

“When girls and women are assaulted or raped, they are somehow found to be at fault. Even in 2017 Cambodian women are still doubted and blamed for the violence carried out against them, sometimes even by those whose duty it is to protect their rights,” Boramey Hun, country director of the NGO Action Aid Cambodia, told DW.

-Women account for a significant proportion of the Cambodian workforce and their numbers are rising. They play a critical role in the nation’s economy, with their enormous contribution to sectors such as the garment industry. The Cambodian government recognizes this, which is why it often claims women are the “backbone” of Cambodia’s economy.

But merely issuing such statements, while overlooking women’s safety concerns, is unlikely to be helpful in advancing the cause of female security and empowerment.

To confront the problems, the government has come up with several laws and measures. But lax implementation erodes their effectiveness in tackling the issues and protecting the women. “We demand that the physical environment we live in is made safer and more responsive to our needs, and that employers and public service providers work closely with us to make the lives of young urban women safer and more secure,” Boramey said.

“In practice, this means better lighting in our streets, safer public toilets and amenities. It also means secure, quality and affordable housing, especially for our sisters working in the garment and entertainment sectors.”

19 Aug 2017 Ferado

Southeast Asian workers press for big minimum wage hikes

HANOI — Calls for major increases in minimum pay are spreading through Southeast Asia as workers grow more conscious of their rights amid economic expansion and turn up the pressure on their governments.

Malaysia and Myanmar are among the countries where labor is pushing for hikes, which would help spur consumption. But higher personnel costs could also drive foreign businesses away.

Pressing for more

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress, representing workers in mainstay industries, has lobbied for a 50% increase next year in the monthly minimum of 1,000 ringgit ($232), targeting businesses on the Malay Peninsula. The country has implemented hikes nearly every year at regular intervals since instituting a minimum wage in 2013.

Malaysia has seen gross domestic product per capita reach about $10,000 — just shy of being designated a developed economy. But workers on oil palm plantations and in factories are paid relatively little. Labor’s request is unlikely to be accepted as is. But with general elections coming up, possibly as soon as this year, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government may look to woo workers.

Unions in Myanmar have also called for a 56% increase in minimum daily pay to 5,600 kyat ($4.14). The lifting of U.S. sanctions last year helped spur economic growth. But inflation has also marched ahead, with consumer prices climbing 7% in 2016. The government of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader, greatly values domestic stability and so is not in a good position to ignore workers’ voices.

Wages have become a political issue in Cambodia as well. Prime Minister Hun Sen has declared that minimum monthly pay will rise to $160 from the current $153 by 2018. This would put the country close to “newly industrialized economy” status and to Thailand’s level of around $186. National elections will not come until 2018, but the opposition made significant gains in regional elections this June. The opposition has drawn support with promises of major wage hikes, and both camps now make dueling promises on pay.

A double-edged sword

Wages have risen 11-91% in the past four years for unskilled laborers at factories in national capitals across Southeast Asia, according to the Japan External Trade Organization. A government-imposed raise in minimum pay would inevitably lift actual wages.

Pay raises push up consumption and help cull labor-intensive industries that no longer suit the stage of economic development. But if raises divorced from the underlying fundamentals continue amid political instability, businesses become more likely to flee. Cambodia has suffered from companies including Ford Motor and a leading European sewn-products maker walking away from factories for such reasons as spiking labor costs.