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.

30 May 2018 Ferado

1,400 workers get free check-ups at mega medical camp

Dubai: More than 1,400 low-income workers received health check-ups at the ‘Mega Medical and Wellness Camp’ initiative held at the Dubai Investment Real Estate Labour Camp in Jebel Ali on Friday morning.

The event was organised by Aster Volunteers Programme in partnership with Model Service Society (MSS) on the occasion of World Health Day.

The camp aimed to identify and meet the health and wellness requirements of low-income workers who are often not able to access basic health care facilities, while struggling to make ends meet and provide for their families back home.

Dr Zeba Azad Moopen, director of Special Projects at Aster DM Healthcare, told Correspondent that the event aimed to spread awareness among workers about their physical and mental health, through check-ups, medications, and advice provided by more than 20 doctors and 25 paramedics from Aster.

The workers at the camp were screened by specialists from general medicine, orthopaedics, dentistry, ophthalmology, dermatology, pulmonology and gastroenterology. Post screening, individuals diagnosed with specific health conditions were recommended appropriate treatment path.

Dr Moopen explained that some of the most common complaints among workers were issues related to orthopaedics due to manual labour and heavy lifting, as well as vision difficulties.

During the event, workers were given free spectacles, and prescribed medications according to their needs, through Aster pharmacies.

“Doing an event like this, on such a large scale, brings a lot of awareness to the rest of the public who live comfortable lives that there is this strata of society that exists here and there is so much that we can do for them,” said Dr Moopen.

Inaugurating the camp was Vipul, Consul-General of India in Dubai, and Eisa Al Zarouni, manager of Inspection Department, Dubai, at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

“Now that insurance is compulsory in several emirates in the UAE, workers are getting health checks, but there are a lot of instances where the workers can be helped through these medical camps, as they require good advice and consultation from doctors — and we as the consulate are happy to be a part of the initiative,” said Vipul.

Meanwhile, Dr Azad Moopen, founder, chairman and managing director of Aster DH Healthcare, highlighted the event was an opportunity to invite more volunteers from the public to help out.

“Many of these workers have issues and don’t get the time or opportunity to see a doctor, and since they are all covered under insurance, we are now identifying those who require help beyond what is available here and asking them to come to our clinics so we can provide them with full coverage,” he said.

Dr Moopen also referred to the Aster Van, which travels to various labour accommodation clusters across the country conducting free heath check-ups for
workers as a part of the programme.

Speaking to Correspondent, Arjun K., a worker at the accommodation, said he had been suffering from weak eyesight for more than a year but could not afford to take an eye test or buy glasses.

“This affects me in everything I do, and I am very happy today to get checked by a doctor and to hopefully get a pair of glasses,” he said.

Another worker, Raj M., said he had not had time to worry about his health as he was focused on working and sending money home to his wife and three children.

“Today I will take time to talk to the doctor and see if my health is in good shape. I am very thankful for this event,” he said.

In the spirit of the Year of Zayed, the full-day event offered workers the opportunity to participate in a number of entertainment activities, including live musical performances, and a lucky draw to win exciting and useful prizes.

30 May 2018 Ferado

Wapda employees get one month bonus pay on Eid

Lahore : Over 20,000 Wapda employees have been granted one month bonus pay on the eve of Eidul Fitr after negotiation undertaken by All Pakistan Wapda Hydroelectric Workers Union CBA with Wapda authority.

The decision was taken after a meeting between by Wapda Chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Muzamil Hussain and union representatives. The union representatives assured Wapda authority that the employees would continue to put their utmost efforts to raise productivity of the Wapda and to extend all support and assistance to get completed all development projects well in time.

The union was represented by Khurshid Ahmed General Secretary of the union along with Haji Humayun (Tarbela), Malik Ashraf (Tarbela), Said Sharaf (Warsak), Mushtaq Ahmed (Ghazi Barotha), Abdul Latif Nizamani president of the union while the Authority was represented by Muhammad Ikram Khan Member Finance Wapda, Muhammad Anwar Khan General Manager Finance and Shoaib Taqi General Manager HR Wapda and other officials.