International Employment Relations Network List
Employment Relations News
Labor Key to Apple Profits
Teaching and Research Assistants Call on NLRB to Issue Decision
: Anniversary of a Death in a New York Sweatshop: Justice is Still Lacking
in the Case of Juan Baten
: High Court snub for Rio opens Pilbara to
workers hold 'people's tribunal' to look at factory conditions
Buried in bricks: Bonded labour in Afghanistan
Update on MOM’s Investigation on Employment Dispute Case at
: TUC and NUS launch year of
campaigning to protect interns from abuse
: Unions slam retail ‘free work’ scheme
: HSU state officials turn fire on Jackson campaign
: Immigration arrests fall to 11
Out Workers to Embark on Journey for
Dean Baker: Auto Manufacturing Gives Big Boost to Jobs Growth
: Home Office announces hike in migrant visa fees
After Two Decades of Darkness
Discrimination Against Foreign Workers and Use of Forced
Death Threats against SINTRAELECOL Leaders
: Major DHL Agreement settled in New Zeala
: New agreement for Italian bank sector includes increase in jobs
COSATU welcomes WFTU to South Africa
The TUC Workplace Manual
AIRAANZ Conference 2012
Tripartite Advisory on Best Sourcing Practices & Employers Guidebook
Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today
Employment Relations 2e
Work and Employment Relations: An Era of Change
International and Comparative Employment Relations: Globalisation and Change
Special Issue IJHRM
Study Group (Flexible Work Patterns)
Study Group #9 (Pay Systems), at ILERA
Transnational industrial relations,
The Korean J
ournal of Industrial Relations
, Seminars, Symposia
Symposium on labour disputes in Asia
Critical Labour Studies Symposium
: BUIRA Conference
: Community, Work and Family Conference
iSlaves: Forced Labor Key to Apple Profits
Source: AFL/CIO, 9 February 2012. Web/URL:
More horrors out now from the Chinese
involved in creating Apple
products like iPads, iPhones and Kindles. It turns out many of the workers churning out
millions of the devices in unendurable conditions at
and other factories are also
forced laborers as young as 16.
The Hong Kong
based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM)
gions of vocational and university students, some as young as 16, are forced to take
long “internships” in Foxconn’s mainland China factories assembling Apple
products,” according to
found in some Foxconn factories,
employ 1.3 million people in China
, up to 50 percent of the workforce were students.
and others report that schools teaching journalism, hotel management and nursing
threatened students with failure if they did not take a factory position.
noted that “automotive majors at a vocational school in
Zhengzhou, capital of Henan, were also forced to serve as interns for Foxconn before
were given their diplomas.
Apple’s formula for mammoth profits, which topped $13 billion last quarter, depends upon a
steady supply of forced laborers
who are put through a torturous training to accustom them
the factory working conditions.
production goals, Foxconn relies on “
…on the shop
floor.” Workers say “military training” starts during the recruitment pha
se, such as being
forced to stand in the sun for hours with no water. In Chengdu,
some workers claimed
for up to one month before wor
k began they had to line up in formation and “stand still as a
soldier for hours.” Even the
reported that the state
Federation of Trade Unions
said Foxconn has a “quasi
military management system.”
scholars as well as business publications
, Taiwanese managers in China refer
to their management
style as militaristic.
Vocational schools force their students into Apple slavery because they get a huge cut: While
students receive less than $80 a month for working 11 hours a day, seven days a week, “over
the course of a year, 500 students could net a
school more than a million U.S. dollars in
Often, corporate apologists
in industrialized nations will counter that low wages paid to
workers in developing nations are justifiable because cost of living is lower. Another study,
also in the Alterne
t report, refutes that claim. Migrant workers at the iFactories in the
Shenzhen Province, even with overtime, are paid
47 percent of what city residents earned and
amounted to only two
thirds of the living wage calculated by SACOM.
Alternet writer Aryn Gup
ta also makes the connection that a nation whose political
wage labor is one that also seeks to cut off workers’ voices by choking
The use of hundreds of thousands of students is one way in which China’s state regulates
labor in the interests of Foxconn and Apple. Other measures include banning independent
unions and enforcing a
sehold registration system
that denies migrants social services
and many political rights once they leave their home region, ensuring they can be easily
Teaching and Research Assistants Call on NLRB to Issue Decision
CIO, accessed 12 February 2012. Web/URL:
A busload of teaching and research assistants from New York University (NYU)
the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
headquarters in Washington, D.C., in recent
days to call on the board to affirm their right to form unions. The NYU TAs and RAs,
members of the UAW, filed a petition seeking a union recognition election in the spring of
2010 but are still waiting for a boa
Chanting “Two years is too long to wait,” as they rallied outside the NLRB, the TAs and RAs
are among tens of thousands of private university graduate employees seeking their legally
protected right to form a unions. That right was taken away
by a ruling from the George W.
appointed NLRB in 2004.
In December, TAs and RAs from the University of Chicago protested outside the NLRB
offices in Chicago, calling on the NLRB to issue a decision in the NYU case affirming
teaching and research assi
stants’ right to form unions under federal law. The University of
Chicago grad employees, who are part of Graduate Students United, an organizing project
jointly affiliated with the
and the American Association of Un
), stood in solidarity with the UAW campaign at NYU.
Teaching assistants and research assistants
are critical to the mission of
our universities. They are paid modestly to tea
ch classes, grade papers and tests, tutor
students, run labs and do the research that make U.S. universities the envy of the world.
Since the 1960s, thousands of these student workers have formed unions.
Many of our most
prestigious public universities
isconsin, Michigan, UC Berkeley, UCLA and the
University of Washington
have graduate employees who are union members, and more than
50,000 graduate employees are members of AFL
CIO affiliate unions.
“We are proud to support the efforts of these young worke
rs in the UAW and the AFT,” said
Treasurer Liz Shuler, who heads up the AFL
CIO’s Young Workers
They deserve the same rights that other workers have and we look forward to the day
when the NLRB restores their rights under the
Anniversary of a Death in a New York Sweatshop: Justice is Still
Lacking in the Case of Juan Baten
WW, 13 February 2012
A year ago today
, Juan Baten, a 22
old Guatemalan, was crushed to death
while working in a Brooklyn tortilla factory.
Mr. Baten was one of 35,000 workers in a little
known, but indisp
ensable part of New York’s food system: a sprawling industrial sector of
food processing factories and distribution warehouses that supply the grocery stores and
restaurants where New Yorkers purchase their food.
A year later, justice has still not been
one in Mr. Baten’s case and New York’s food supply chain continues to rely on the
systematic exploitation of recent immigrant workers, many from Latin America and China.
Mr. Baten started working at Tortilleria Chinantla when he was just sixteen years old
. He was
working to support his young family
his partner Rosario and their baby daughter Daisy
and to send money back home to Guatemala where his father had recently died.
Mr. Baten worked grueling, long shifts through the night for low pay,
six days a week. On
one such night a year ago, just hours after he called to check on his daughter, Mr. Baten was
caught in the mixing machine in which he was brutally killed.
After conducting an investigation of the death, OSHA, the federal workplace sa
concluded that had the employer obeyed its legal duty and placed a required guard on the
mixing machine, Juan Baten would be alive with his family today. Instead, because of what
OSHA called Chinantla’s “disregard for the law’s requirements” o
r “indifference to worker
safety and health,” Daisy Stephanie is growing up without her father and Rosario lives with a
deep wound in her heart.
A year later, Tortilleria Chinantla and its owner Erasmo Ponce continue to evade
accountability for Juan’s dea
th. The company is still resisting the fine and citations imposed
against it by OSHA.
In addition to the safety violations, Chinantla was briefly shut down
after Juan’s death for failing to make required payments to workers compensation insurance,
tem that provides financial support to injured workers or the families of workers killed
on the job. Under New York State Law as an employer of more than five workers, Mr.
Ponce’s failure to make the required workers compensation payments constitutes a fel
crime. While New York prosecutes street vendors merely for selling their wares without a
license and Occupy Wall Street protesters are arrested just for peacefully marching, Mr.
Ponce has not been charged for his blatant criminal conduct.
While Juan B
aten’s death was a painful tragedy, the conditions that caused it are not unique
in New York City’s industrial food sector, which has an 80% immigrant workforce.
Brandworkers, in association with the Food Chain Workers Alliance and the Data Center,
ted a survey of food processing and distribution employees in the City which revealed
that more than 4 in 10 had been injured on the job. From industrial bakeries to beverage
distributors, seafood processors to salad preparers, sweatshops in the City’s foo
d supply chain
are failing to implement required safety procedures, training, and equipment.
OSHA investigated two other tortilla companies in Brooklyn as it investigated Chinantla and
it found serious violations at all three factories.
and safety violations are far from the only challenges facing New York City’s food
processing and distribution workers.
Wage theft is common in the sector with workers
deprived of millions of dollars in wealth desperately needed to support families here
their home countries.
Last year, at one food supply warehouse alone, employees organized to
recover $470,000 in illegally withheld minimum wage and overtime from their employer.
Workers also face discrimination on the job, with recent white hires
promoted above more
experienced workers of color.
Abusive management is common as well, including anti
immigrant insults and workers pushed to work to exhaustion. Since paid sick days are almost
existent in the sector, workers are regularly forced to
come to work when ill, particularly
troubling for a workforce that produces and transports our food supply. At one Brooklyn food
sweatshop, workers not only lose a day’s wages for calling out sick, they are hit with an
additional penalty deducted from thei
r pay that week.
The hard working employees in NYC’s food factories and warehouses contribute greatly to
the local economy and play an indispensable role in providing us with the food on our plates.
The hard work of the immigrant workers and all workers
in the sector deserves to be
rewarded with fair pay, respectful treatment, and safe working conditions. But to win good
jobs, workers cannot rely on government enforcement alone and certainly not on the good
will of employers in the sector.
Workers must c
ome together and use their own collective
strength to make positive change at these jobs.
That is what Focus on the Food Chain, a joint
campaign of Brandworkers and the Industrial Workers of the World labor union, is all about.
The Focus campaign provides
training and support for food processing and distribution
workers to launch their own efforts to improve their jobs using grassroots organizing,
advocacy, and lawsuits. Through these effective workplace justice struggles and by building a
growing base of
leaders in the sector, the Focus campaign is winning improved conditions
and demonstrating that workers have the power to transform sweatshop jobs into jobs with
Australia: High Court snub for Rio opens Pilbara to unions
Source: The Australian, 11 February 2012. Web/URL:
UNIONS have moved closer to securing an increased foothold in Western Australia's
ter the High Court yesterday refused an attempt by mining giant Rio Tinto to
overturn a landmark workplace ruling.
The setback for employers came as mining unions escalated industrial action at the BHP
operated Port Kembla coal terminal with plans to hold
three days of rolling strikes from
Employers said the High Court decision yesterday would result in resource companies that
employ workers on non
union agreements having to endure the "pain and misery" of Labor's
workplace laws earlier than expe
The decision has significant implications for BHP Billiton as it throws doubt over the
coverage of a similar agreement at the company's operations in the Pilbara.
Rio Tinto applied for special leave to appeal to the High Court after the full bench of
Federal Court last year found a non
union agreement covering thousands of workers at Rio
union agreement was made during the transition from Work Choices to the full
operation of the Fair Work Act.
After federal Labor stopped the
creation of new Australian Workplace Agreements, Rio put
in place non
union collective agreements that essentially mirrored the terms and conditions of
the Howard government AWAs.
The 2008 agreement was used to cover all workers employed in the Pilbara sin
ce then and
was viewed by employers as a way for Rio to have "certainty" when the Labor government
was introducing the Fair Work Act.
ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence yesterday welcomed the High Court's decision to refuse Rio
TInto special leave to appeal.
e fact that the High Court was not satisfied of a need to revisit the Federal Court's
decision that these workers were entitled to participate in good
faith bargaining shows the
law is clear," he said.
"However, it is disappointing that Rio Tinto continues
to use every legal avenue possible to
cling on to Work Choices
"Rio Tinto and other multinational companies operating in Australia need to accept the reality
that collective bargaining is the foundation of our workplace relations system.
The Australian Mines and Metals Association said affected resource companies would now
"have to fight in an environment where unions are granted a seat at the table and where
unions can bargain over a broader range of matters".
"It will bring forward
their pain and misery of working under a more complex system and
having to deal with matters that have diddly
squat to do with productivity," the association's
chief executive, Steve Knott, said.
The union victory came as the mining unions yesterday confir
med they would follow up
recent industrial action at the Port Kembla coal terminal with a series of fresh strikes from
Cambodian workers hold 'people's tribunal' to look at factory conditions
Source: The Guardian, 2 February 2012. Web/Url:
will hold a "people's tribunal" next week to investigate pay and
conditions at factories working for fashion brands including H&M
An international panel of judges will hear evidence from workers, factories and multinational
brands including Puma and Adidas. H&M said it would not attend but would supply
information about how it was addressing wages at its suppliers' factories
in the country.
day hearing aims to raise awareness of low pay and long working hours that workers
say are partly responsible for a series of "mass faintings" involving hundreds of workers at
factories supplying H&M, Gap and sports brands.
Up to 3
00 workers will give evidence about the fainting incidents and about living conditions
resulting from low wages.
The minimum wage in Cambodia is the equivalent of just $66 (£42) a month, a level that
human rights groups say is almost half that required to
meet basic needs.
Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Coalition for Apparel Workers Democratic Unions,
said: "Because the workers get low wages they try to work 10 to 13 hours a day to get the
money they need for their family."
He said workers needed a b
asic wage equivalent to at least $100 (£63) a month to get by
without putting their health in danger. "Workers are fainting because of long working hours
and the environment in the factory," he said.
Fumes from chemicals, poor ventilation, malnutrition and
even "mass hysteria" have all been
blamed for making workers ill.
A report by the International Labour Organisation said at least 11 garment factories
experienced fainting incidents and more than 1,500 workers fainted or collapsed during
working hours las
In August, nearly 300 workers passed out in one week at a Cambodian factory supplying
H&M, prompting an investigation by the Swedish retailer. More than 100 people were
reported to have been taken to hospital after the incidents at M&V Internationa
Manufacturing in Kampong Chhnang.
A report commissioned by H&M blamed the faintings on mass hysteria caused by work
related and personal stress.
About 100 workers fainted at the Huey Chen factory, which supplies Puma, in April last year
and another 49 pa
ssed out at the same factory in July. Puma said it had implemented an
improvement plan at the factory and commissioned a report into the reason for the faintings.
It said it was working with the factory and local authorities to "take every precaution that
compliance with our social and labour standards is ensured".
Jeroen Merk, of the workers' rights pressure group Clean Clothes Campaign, said it was
"disappointing" that H&M and Gap had chosen not to attend the tribunal.
A spokeswoman for H&M said: "Workers
should earn a fair wage and we strive for decent
supply chain working conditions. To tackle this challenge we last year joined the Fair Wage
Network to find out more about how we can contribute to more fair wages."
Adidas said its factory workers earned
nearly twice as much as police officers or teachers in
the same region and considerably more than the minimum wage. A spokesman said:
"Workplace conditions at our major suppliers have been the subject of independent
verification and certification and we co
nstantly question and improve our performance."
The Clean Clothes Campaign and the British campaign group Labour Behind the Label
supported local members of Asia Floor Wage, a coalition campaigning for higher minimum
wages across the continent, in setting
up the tribunal. They said the event was an attempt to
raise awareness in a less confrontational way than strikes.
The move comes after 1,000 union leaders were dismissed after strikes for better pay and
conditions involving 200,000 workers last year.
hing and footwear is a vital part of Cambodia's economy, employing more than 300,000
people, mostly women. Last year exports of garments and footwear rose by 25% to $4.24 bn
(£2.68bn), making up 85% of total exports.
Afghanistan: Buried in bricks: Bonded labour in Afghanistan
Source: ILO, 6 February 2012. Web/URL:
The arduous nature of brick making and low wages make it difficult for
brick kilns to recruit and retain labour. Both child and adult labourers work over 70 hours a
week performing repetitive tasks. Much of the moulding process is done from a crouching
sition, and workers are constantly exposed to sun, heat and blowing dust. By using a
system of advances on future wage payments that bond labourers and their families, kiln
owners are able to ensure a regular labour supply at low cost.
Throughout the south
Asian brick industry, advances are commonly used to tie workers and
their families to a kiln and keep wages low. It is extremely difficult for a bonded labourer to
leave the vicious cycle of debt as the wages paid are too low to allow the advance to be fu
paid off by the end of the season. What’s more, there are few if any other local employment
Why are so many children employed in kilns
is it because they are cheaper?
Child labourers are not used in kilns becaus
e they are cheaper or perceived
to be better suited for the work. In fact, children are paid the same piece rate as adults, but
kiln owners recognise that they are less productive and so earn lower wages. However,
parents know that without the help of thei
r children they will never be able to repay their
debt fast enough, pushing them further in the debt trap.
However, there are still benefits to kiln owners. Households that work as brick makers are
kind payments of shelter, water and electricit
y. This form of remuneration is the
same whether two or ten household members are working. Children also help perform tasks
that, while not always visible, make adults more productive. Children help carry water,
sweep the workspace and roll the mud into ba
lls for older relatives to mould. At home, they
help with domestic activities to free up time for other household members to make bricks.
Why do people agree to enter into situations of debt bondage?
Sarah Cramer: Most households working in brick kilns i
n Afghanistan fell vulnerable to debt
bondage when living in Pakistan as refugees or migrants. Nearly all (98 per cent) of the
households surveyed had been in exile in Pakistan where they began working as low
labourers in brick kilns. With large fa
milies to feed, limited skills and almost no access to
credit, households returning to Afghanistan turned to brick kilns again because they are one
of the few places where they can get jobs and receive advances as well as in
such as shelter a
nd water. To entice them further, Afghan recruiters propose to pay for their
way travel costs back to Afghanistan. Households average 8.8 people per family, and 83
per cent of household heads have had no form of education.
Do many women work in the kil
The gender make
up of brick kiln labour represents a major difference
between Afghan brick kilns and those found elsewhere in the region. Kiln workforces in
Nepal and India are comprised largely of men, women and children of both sexes. A
households in Afghan kilns are suffering from extreme poverty, women and adolescent girls
only work outside the home in the direst of circumstances. Even in neighbouring Pakistan,
women can be found working in kilns, except amongst the households o
f Afghan refugees or
migrants. The exclusion of women from the work force in Afghanistan results in a greater
dependence on child labour, as only one parent is economically active.
Why do parents put their children to work?
56 per cent of bri
ck makers in Afghan kilns are children, and a majority of
these are 14 years old and under. Girls are mainly present in the 14 and under group of kiln
workers, as cultural norms oblige girls to stay at home upon reaching puberty. This does not
mean that th
eir work ceases; it simply shifts from market work to family work, which is
unpaid and often undercounted by child labour statistics. Faced with never ending debt,
families feel they have to use all available labour, even if it is to their long
make daily ends meet. It is out of necessity and extreme poverty that households enlist their
children from an early age to work in the kilns.
Are the expected political and economic changes in Afghanistan likely to worsen the
situation of bonded l
While GDP growth currently remains strong, the Afghan economy will
undergo a major transformation as donor funds are scaled back leading up to and following
the 2014 transition. Current levels of economic growth (8.2 per cent in 2010) are in large
elled by aid and military spending; in 2010, aid to Afghanistan totalled 15.4 billion
USD and military spending totalled more than 100 billion USD.
As donor spending is reduced, the Afghan economy will likely contract, particularly in those
sectors most dr
iven by aid and reconstruction spending, including construction, and
increasing Afghanistan’s reliance on agriculture. Already operating on razor
many brick kiln owners will likely be forced to shut down or further cut their workers’
an effort to compete in price wars in the shrinking market for bricks.
What can the international community do to help bonded labourers in Afghanistan?
Without education, training or transferable skills, adult and child bonded
ill prepared to do anything besides making bricks. Thus, a change in livelihood
strategy will be extremely difficult, and will require interventions that address the lack of
skills, the lack of productive assets and household debt and bondage. Development
need to provide both short
term humanitarian aid for immediate relief to bonded families and
term programmes, in order to help them make the transition to new, more sustainable
Humanitarian and development actors need t
o work together with the Afghan government
and the social partners to develop a creative, coordinated strategy for breaking the
interlocking cycles of debt, poverty and dependency. This strategy should emphasize the use
based policies to encou
rage individuals to change their economic activities,
rather than command measures that attempt to restrict or prohibit certain types of activities. It
should address, amongst other things, access to credit and microfinance tools, land tenure
border return migration and access to high quality education for children, so as
to break the inter
generational cycle of bonded labour.
Update on MOM’s Investigation on
Employment Dispute Case
IR/ER/Singapore/Foreign Workers/Wage Arrears
Source: Ministry of Manpower, 6 February, 2012. Web/URL:
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) was alerted by the Police this morning of an
incident involving around 200 work permit holders employed by Sunway Concrete
Products (S) Pte Ltd and Techcom Cons
truction & Trading Pte Ltd over unpaid
salaries since November 2011.
MOM’s officers responded to the incident immediately and went down to the worksite
at Tampines Industrial Street 62.
MOM’s interim investigations revealed that the employers had not pai
d their workers
since November 2011. MOM understands that by 8pm today (6 February 2012), the
employers would have paid out the November 2011 salaries to all the affected workers,
with MOM officers present on
The employers have also assured MOM that
the affected workers will receive their
outstanding December 2011 salaries by this Friday (10 February). MOM will continue
investigations here and follow up with the workers to ensure that they receive their
December 2011 and January 2012 salaries promptl
y. MOM officers will also interview
workers on other employment
MOM does not condone employers who fail to pay salaries on time, or fail to upkeep
and maintain the foreign workers they have brought in. MOM urges workers to report
to MOM early if they have salary arrears.
TUC and NUS launch year of campaigning to protect interns from
Source: TUC, 13 February 2012. URL/Web:
The TUC and the National Union of Students (NUS) are launching a new campaign today
(Monday) calling for the fair treatment of interns. The event at TUC headquarters in central
London will begin a year of
campaign activity for fairer and better internships.
The TUC and NUS are concerned that interns around the UK are being exploited through
unpaid work. Unions fear that many employers have sought to take advantage of graduates'
desperation to find work in t
he economic downturn and so see interns as a useful source of
free labour. Others may be unaware that non
payment of interns is a breach of the law and of
national minimum wage rules, warns the TUC.
The event today (Monday) will feature contributions from
the TUC, NUS, campaign groups
and interns themselves, and the TUC will also launch a 'Rights for Interns' Smartphone
application. The phone app can be downloaded to Apple and Android phones free of charge.
It features tools to help interns evaluate their o
wn internship, or ones they are considering, as
well as general guidance on work rights they are entitled to and minimum wage rates. Interns
who think they should be paid can use the app to find out what they are owed.
Hazel Blears MP will address the semi
nar on the parliamentary intern scheme, and other
speakers include TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O'Grady, NUS Vice President
(Society and Citizenship) Dannie Grufferty, National Union of Journalists (NUJ) General
Secretary Michelle Stanistreet, repr
esentatives from support group Intern Aware, and interns
who have experienced exploitation.
Any intern who is undertaking work
related tasks, with set hours and a duty to turn up and do
the work is probably defined in law as a 'worker' and, as such, is eli
gible for the minimum
wage, working time and paid holiday rights. The TUC believes any internship that does not
simply involve observation and work shadowing should qualify for payment.
As the use of internships becomes more widespread, the TUC is concerne
d that jobs in
popular career destinations like journalism, advertising, film, television and public relations
are becoming an exclusive domain for people from affluent backgrounds. Only those young
people whose parents have the means to support them
en for months on end
to work for free, says the TUC.
said: 'Whether they are unscrupulous or genuinely unaware of the rules,
too many employers are ripping off young people by employing them in unpaid internships
that are not o
nly unfair but, in most cases, probably illegal.
'Internships can offer a kick
start to a career that many young people value. But as more and
more graduates are being forced to turn to internships in place of traditional entry level jobs,
that a growing number of interns are at risk of real exploitation.
'It is vital that we crack down on those internships that offer little but hard graft for no
reward. Employers need to know that there's no such thing as free labour.'
:'Unpaid internships quite flagrantly do not comply with basic
minimum wage legislation. They are not only deeply unfair, but are straightforwardly illegal.
'If we are serious about fair access to all professions, the current situation whereby young
are expected to undertake many months, and sometimes years, of unpaid work in
order to be seen to have sufficient experience simply cannot go on. This presents a
fundamental barrier to many of the most competitive professions for the millions of young
ple who cannot afford to work for free.
'With over a million young people unemployed, we need to be clear now more than ever that
young people's enthusiasm and desire to work cannot be exploited. A fair day's work always
deserves a fair day's pay.'
UK: Unions slam retail ‘free work’ schemes
Source: CIPD, 13 February 2012. Web/URL:
Unions have called on major UK retailers to withdraw from government programmes under
which unemployed people must work unpaid or risk losing their benefits.
Shop workers’ union Usdaw
and the TUC have both spoken out against high street names’
involvement in a range of DWP schemes
scheme and the
community action programme
which see jobseekers placed for weeks or months with an
employer without pay as a condition of receiving benefit payments. Major retailers who have
taken placements under the schemes include Boots, Te
sco, Asda, Primark, Argos, TK Maxx,
Poundland and the Arcadia group, which includes Topshop and Burton.
The unions say the schemes are exploitative and that people undertaking the placements are
doing work that would otherwise be done by a paid employee.
The situation has been
highlighted recently by a legal challenge from a 22
old geology graduate
who is claiming in court that her three
week placement at Poundland was in breach of forced
labour provisions of the Humans Right Act.
John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary, told the Guardian newspaper: "Usdaw is not opposed
to schemes that genuinely aim to give young people appropriate work ex
perience or help
term unemployed people get back into work, but schemes should be voluntary,
participants should receive the rate for the job, and there needs to be transparent checks and
balances in place.
"We are in discussions with the participati
ng companies we have agreements with to re
examine their continuing involvement in the various schemes."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber added: "While unemployed people may benefit from
short periods of work experience, forcing them to work effective
ly for free for up to six
months is not the way to solve the UK's jobs crisis.
"Not only are the high street names involved in danger of exploiting participants, the scheme
also poses a very real threat to the jobs and pay of existing workers. It is also
far from clear
whether the placements actually involve any genuine degree of training or work experience
that will be of any use to the unemployed taking part.
"The danger is that this is simply encouraging employers to continue using unpaid labour
hat they should be doing is recruiting unemployed people into properly paid jobs."
Waterstones and Sainsbury’s are among retailers who have recently said they will not take
placements from unemployed people who are compelled to take part.
Australia: HSU state officials turn fire on Jackson campaign
6 February 2012. Web/URL
[New South Wales] STATE secretaries of the Health Services Union are moving to tear down
the growing media cult surrounding national secretary Kathy Jackson, alarmed at he
in presenting herself as the sole white knight fighting union corruption
Australia: Unions to shut down BHP and allied mines for a week
Source: The Australian 4 February 2012. Web/URL:
BHP mines in central Queensland will close down for a week as unions escalate a
campaign for better working conditions in mines.
Singapore: Immigration arrests fall to 11
ER/Singapore/Labour Market/Migrant Workers
Source: Straits Times Newsletter, 7 February 2012. Web/URL:
THE number of foreigners entering Singapore illegally and staying on without papers fell to
year low last year.
Out Workers to Embark on Journey for Justice
ER/USA/War on Workers
12 February 2012. Web/URL:
Steven Greenhouse of The New York Times
ly that the number of strikes has
dropped precipitously in the past two decades, while lockouts now “represent a record
percentage of the nation’s work stoppages.” Greenhouse quotes professor Gary Chaison of
Clark University, who says:
This is a sign of in
creased employer militancy. Lockouts were once so rare they were almost
unheard of. Now, not only are employers increasingly on the offensive and trying to call the
shots in bargaining, but they’re backing that up with action
in the form of lockouts.
Dean Baker: Auto Manufacturing Gives Big Boost to Jobs Growth
ER/USA/ Labour Market/Auto Manufacturing
CIO, 11 February 2012. Web/URL:
director of the Center for Economic and
Policy Research (
), to expand upon recent reports that show a marked improvement in
the nation’s jobs picture. In January,
243,000 jobs were created
and unemployment dropped
significantly for some of the hardest
hit workers. Baker’s intepretation of the data presents a
mixed economic picture, but on
e bright point stands out clearly: President Obama’s
support of the U.S. auto industry has been key to improving job creation for America’s
UK: Home Office announces hike in migrant vis
ER/UK/Labour Market/Migrant Workers
Source: CIPD, 10 February, 2012. Web/URL:
Increases for skilled workers are a ‘bitter blow’ for firms, says CBI
Employers face a hike in visa fees for skilled migrant workers, after
announced substantial rises “to generate revenue and reduce the burden on the UK taxpayer”.
After Two Decades of Darkness, a Daybreak in Burma?
Future of Trade Unions
CIO, Accessed 12 February 2012
Suu Kyi had already given a lot of thought to what a future Burma labor movement should
look like. She felt that it was important for unions to be responsible and to work for their
members. She said the new unions should not be tools or fronts for any poli
including her own NLD. She did not say that unions should not be involved in politics or
support the political parties they wanted, but she did voice her position that parties should not
create unions and the NLD had no desire or intent to d
Foreign Workers and Use of Forced
IR/Kuwait/Labour Rights/Foreign Workers
7 February 2012. Web/URL:
A new report from the International Trade Union Confederation on workers’ rights in
Kuwait reveals restrictions on labour
rights, extensive use of forced labour and
discrimination in law and in practice.
Columbia: Death Threats against SINTRAELECOL Leaders
IR/Columbia/Energy Workers Union/Death Threats
urce: ITUC, 9 February 2012. Web/URL:
Colombian trade unionists have seen a rise in the level of death threats s
ince the beginning of
the year, especially representatives of the Colombian energy workers’ union Sintraelecol,
affiliated to the CUT and ICEM.
SITRABI Target of Deadly A
Union Repression in
Source: ITUC, 11 February, 2012. Web/URL:
González Ramírez, a member of the Izabal banana workers’ union SITRABI,
was killed on 5 February. He was shot several times whilst carrying his young child in his
Major DHL Agreement settled in New Zealand
IR/New Zealand/Collective Bargaining
Source: UNI, 8 February 2012. Web/URL:
DHL workers voted to go on strike in mid
December over lack of progress in the
negotiations. However after a company
diation session following the Christmas /
New Year break, an agreement was reached. As well as the wage increase other key wins for
the union were; the addition of service pay that the warehouse workers enjoyed to the wage
rates of drivers employed by DHL
Supply Chain in New Zealand, additional increases to the
rate for driver of the heavier class vehicles (some long serving heavy vehicle drivers will
receive over 10% for the two years, and a working party to deal with the position of leading
hands which me
mbers felt was being downgraded in relation to other supervisory and clerical
DHL Supply Chain workers and FIRST Union had been trying to achieve a 4.6% + increase
for the first year based on the latest available Consumer Price Index (CPI) (inflati
when negotiations commenced. Although this was not achieved, only minutes after the
agreement was reached the New Zealand government announce a huge drop in the CPI to
1.8% for the previous 12 months. It is very likely that the negotiated incre
ases will be well
above inflation rates over the next two years, which means workers will be able to make up
for their wages running significantly behind inflation over the last two years
Italy: New agreement for Italian bank sector includes increase in jobs
IR/Italy/Collective Bargaining/Bank Workers
Source: UNI, 6 February 2012. Web/URL:
On 19 January, the Italian trade
unions in the banking sector signed a new
Collective Agreement that covers more than 320.000 workers in the finance
Under the new deal, finance workers will receive
an increase of in their monthly salaries of
170 Euros over 3 years, receiving a 50 euro increase in 2012, 50 euro increase in 2013 and
the final 70 euros in 2014.
The unions and employers also agreed that t
he sector will add
16.500 jobs in the next three years, which could grow to 25.000 over the next 5 years. The
new workers added in the sector will be covered by the Collective Agreement but their salary
level will be 20 percent lower than those of current
workers in their first four years of
The agreement also says that outsourced banking IT work is covered by the National Banking
Collective Agreement and the Italian finance unions have the right to organise the workers
COSATU welcomes WFTU to South Africa
Source: COSATU, 9 February 2012. Web/URL
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) takes this opportunity to welcome
the Presidential Council of the
World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), which, for the
first time in its history, is being hosted in our country and continent.
The history of the WFTU is tied to our own history of struggle against apartheid and
colonialism, as well as capitalism in gene
ral on our continent and throughout the world.
The TUC Workplace Manual
Order your copy from
It will be of use not only to stewards but also to anyone who represents, advises or supports
members in the workplace, including learning, equality, green and health and safety
AIRAANZ Conference 2012: Re
Organising Work, Association of Industrial Relations
Academics of Australia and New Zealand
Queensland University of Technology.
The updated Singapore’s
Tripartite Advisory on Best Sourcing Practices & Employers
can be downloaded for free from the MOM website at
ock, B., Skinner, N a
nd Williams, P.
Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in
NewSouth Books, may be ordered at
Bray, M, Waring, Cooper, R.
Employment Relations 2e
McGraw Hill, ISBN:
Baird, M., Hancock, K. and Isaac, J. eds. (2012)
Work and Employment Relations: An Era
, The Federation Press, ISBN: 9781862878501 may
be ordered at
Bamber, G. J., Lansbury, R. D. and Wailes, N. (2012)
International and Comparative
Relations: Globalisation and Change
, Allen and Unwin, ISBN:
742370651 may be ordered from
Special Issue IJHRM:
Partnership, Collaboration and Mutual Gains, submission deadline 24
Flexible Work Patterns Study Group Meeting ILERA Congress Philadelphia USA
The Flexible Work Patterns Study Group will meet at the ILERA (formerly the IRRA) 16th
World Congress in Philadelphia USA on Monday, July 2, before the official opening of the
congress on July 3 2012.
Friday 24th February 2012
Study Group #9 (Pay Systems), July 2, 2012 in Philadelphia at ILERA
If you are interested in making a presentation at Study Group #9, please send an email with
the title and brief description to
Transnational industrial relations and the search for alternatives
A workshop at Greenwich
June 1, 2012.
Call for abstracts
by 1 March 2012 to Lefteris Kretsos (
8 February 2013, Freemantle, Western Australia.
. Submission deadline for refereed papers 21 September
n Journal of Industrial Relations (CALL FOR PAPERS)
The Korean Journal of Industrial Relations (KJIR) is published by the Korean Industrial
There is no due date for the submission. We receive articles around a
s, Seminars, Symposia
Australia: New Dy
f Industrial Conflicts in Asia: Causes, Expressions and
17th February 2012
Caulfield Campus, Monash University, Melbourne.
Ms Cynthia Kumar
no later than 10
February 2012 for catering.
Critical Labour Studies 8th Symposium
18 & 19 February 2012
University of Salford
Contact Phoebe Moore
or more information.
Jo Isaac Symposium,
Using the Power of Working Relationships to Achieve
Organisational Resilience and Sustainability: A Multi
Jody Hoffer Gittell,
4.30pm, Friday 24 February, 2012, ICT Theatre 1, Ground Floor, ICT
Building, 111 Barry Street, Carlton
To reserve your place at this free event please email:
by 19 February, 2012. Please include Isaac Symposium in the subject
elations and the
, 31 May 2012 to 1 June 2012
For abstract submission or more information,
contact Lefteris Kretsos (
Ireland: IFSAM 2012 Conference
, Limerick, Ireland, 26
29 June 2012. Website:
University of Bradford
30 June 2012
USA: 16th World Congress of ILERA
16th World Congress of ILERA
5 July 2012,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Website:
Reserve accommodation at:
Review program at:
Arrange travel at:
Australia: Fifth International Community, Work and Family
, The fifth
international Community, Work and Family Conference will take place at the University of
17 July 2013
. Information at
8 February 2013, Freemantle, Western Australia.