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International Employment Relations Network List

(IERN
-
L)

A Miscellany

of
International
Employment Relations News

14
February 2012

________________________________________________________________

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ADAPT
International Bulletin

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_______________________________________________________________

Content
s

China
:
iSlaves: Forced
Labor Key to Apple Profits

USA
:
Teaching and Research Assistants Call on NLRB to Issue Decision

USA
: Anniversary of a Death in a New York Sweatshop: Justice is Still Lacking
in the Case of Juan Baten

Australia
: High Court snub for Rio opens Pilbara to
unions

Cambodian
workers hold 'people's tribunal' to look at factory conditions

Afghanistan:
Buried in bricks: Bonded labour in Afghanistan

Singapore
:
Update on MOM’s Investigation on Employment Dispute Case at
Tampines

UK
: TUC and NUS launch year of
campaigning to protect interns from abuse

UK
: Unions slam retail ‘free work’ scheme


I
n Brief

Australia
: HSU state officials turn fire on Jackson campaign

Singapore
: Immigration arrests fall to 11
-
year low

2


USA
:
Locked
-
Out Workers to Embark on Journey for
Justice

USA
:
Dean Baker: Auto Manufacturing Gives Big Boost to Jobs Growth

UK
: Home Office announces hike in migrant visa fees

Burma
:
After Two Decades of Darkness
,

a


Daybreak

in Burma?

Kuwait:
Discrimination Against Foreign Workers and Use of Forced
Labour
Persist

Columbia:
Death Threats against SINTRAELECOL Leaders

New Zealand
: Major DHL Agreement settled in New Zeala
nd

Italy
: New agreement for Italian bank sector includes increase in jobs

South Africa
:
COSATU welcomes WFTU to South Africa


P
ublications

The TUC Workplace Manual

26
th

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


C
all
s
for Papers

Special Issue IJHRM


Study Group (Flexible Work Patterns)
,

at

ILERA Congress

Study Group #9 (Pay Systems), at ILERA

Congress

Transnational industrial relations,
at
Greewich University

3


27
th

AIRAANZ Conference

The Korean J
ournal of Industrial Relations


Conference
s

, Seminars, Symposia



Australia
:
Symposium on labour disputes in Asia




UK
:
Critical Labour Studies Symposium



Australia
:
Joe Isaac
Symposium




UK
: Transnational
I
industrial
r
elations



Ireland
:
IFSAM Conference



UK
: BUIRA Conference



USA
:

ILERA
World Congress



Australia
: Community, Work and Family Conference



Australia:
AIRAANZ Conference

________________________________________________________________


China:
iSlaves: Forced Labor Key to Apple Profits

IR/
ER/
China/Apple/’Internships’

Source: AFL/CIO, 9 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/02/09/islaves
-
forced
-
labor
-
key
-
to
-
apple
-
profits/

More horrors out now from the Chinese
serf
-
labor system

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
Foxconn

and other factories are also
forced laborers as young as 16.

The Hong Kong
-
based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM)
says, “Le
gions of vocational and university students, some as young as 16, are forced to take
months
-
long “internships” in Foxconn’s mainland China factories assembling Apple
products,” according to

Alternet
.
One study

found in some Foxconn factories,

which
employ 1.3 million people in China
, up to 50 percent of the workforce were students.

SACOM

and others report that schools teaching journalism, hotel management and nursing
threatened students with failure if they did not take a factory position.

The Chinese
4


government
-
owned
Global Times

noted that “automotive majors at a vocational school in
Zhengzhou, capital of Henan, were also forced to serve as interns for Foxconn before
they
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
to

the factory working conditions.

To meet

production goals, Foxconn relies on “
military
-
style management
…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

that
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
China Daily

reported that the state
-
controlled Shenzhen
Federation of Trade Unions

said Foxconn has a “quasi
-
military management system.”
According to
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
income.”

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
policy

endorses low
-
wage labor is one that also seeks to cut off workers’ voices by choking
their unions.

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
hou
sehold registration system

that denies migrants social services
and many political rights once they leave their home region, ensuring they can be easily
exploited
.

5


_______________________________________________________________
_

USA:
Teaching and Research Assistants Call on NLRB to Issue Decision

IR/USA/Academics/Union Recognition/NLRB

Source: AFL
-
CIO, accessed 12 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/02/06/teaching
-
and
-
research
-
assistants
-
call
-
on
-
nlrb
-
to
-
issue
-
decision/

A busload of teaching and research assistants from New York University (NYU)

traveled to
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
rd decision.

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.
Bush
-
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
AFT

and the American Association of Un
iversity Professors
(
AAUP
), stood in solidarity with the UAW campaign at NYU.

Teaching assistants and research assistants

grad employees

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

W
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
AFL
-
CIO Secretary
-
Treasurer Liz Shuler, who heads up the AFL
-
CIO’s Young Workers
Initiative.

6


They deserve the same rights that other workers have and we look forward to the day
when the NLRB restores their rights under the
law.

___________________________________________________________________________

USA:
Anniversary of a Death in a New York Sweatshop: Justice is Still
Lacking in the Case of Juan Baten

ER/USA/OH&S/Sweatshops

Source:
I
WW, 13 February 2012
.
Web/URL:
http://www.iww.org/

A year ago today

(January 24)
, Juan Baten, a 22
-
year
-
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
d
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
Stephanie


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
fety agency,
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
7


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,
the sys
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
ony
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,
conduc
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.


Tellingly,
OSHA investigated two other tortilla companies in Brooklyn as it investigated Chinantla and
it found serious violations at all three factories.


Health

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
and in
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
non
-
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.


8


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
dignity.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Australia: High Court snub for Rio opens Pilbara to unions

IR/Australia/Mining/Non
-
union
Workplace Agreements

Source: The Australian, 11 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining
-
energy/snub
-
for
-
rio
-
opens
-
pilbara
-
to
-
unions/story
-
e6frg9df
-
1226268234167

UNIONS have moved closer to securing an increased foothold in Western Australia's
Pilbara af
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
tomorrow.

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
cted.

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.

9


Rio Tinto applied for special leave to appeal to the High Court after the full bench of

the
Federal Court last year found a non
-
union agreement covering thousands of workers at Rio
was invalid.

The non
-
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.

"Th
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
-
style agreements.

"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
tomorrow.


10


Cambodian workers hold 'people's tribunal' to look at factory conditions

IR/ER/Cambodia/Working Conditions

Source: The Guardian, 2 February 2012. Web/Url:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/02/cambodian
-
workers
-
peoples
-
tribunal
-
factory?INTCMP
=SRCH


Workers in
Cambodia

will hold a "people's tribunal" next week to investigate pay and
conditions at factories working for fashion brands including H&M
and Gap.

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.

The two
-
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
t year.

11


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
l
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.

Clot
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.

_______________________________________
__________________________________


12


Afghanistan: Buried in bricks: Bonded labour in Afghanistan

ER/Afghanistan/Bonded Labour

Source: ILO, 6 February 2012. Web/URL:

http://www.ilo.org/global/about
-
the
-
ilo/press
-
and
-
media
-
centre/insight/WCMS_172696/lang
-
-
en/index.htm

Sarah Cramer:

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
po
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
lly
paid off by the end of the season. What’s more, there are few if any other local employment
opportunities available.

Why are so many children employed in kilns


is it because they are cheaper?

Sarah Cramer:

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
provided in
-
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
13


households surveyed had been in exile in Pakistan where they began working as low
-
skilled
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
-
kind payments
such as shelter a
nd water. To entice them further, Afghan recruiters propose to pay for their
one
-
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
ns?

Sarah Cramer:

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
lthough
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?

Sarah Cramer:

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
-
term detrim
ent, to
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
abourers?

Sarah Cramer:

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
part fu
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.

14


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
-
thin margins,
many brick kiln owners will likely be forced to shut down or further cut their workers’
wages in

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?

Sarah Cramer:

Without education, training or transferable skills, adult and child bonded
labourers are
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
actors
need to provide both short
-
term humanitarian aid for immediate relief to bonded families and
longer
-
term programmes, in order to help them make the transition to new, more sustainable
livelihood strategies.

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
of incentive
-
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
issues, cross
-
border return migration and access to high quality education for children, so as
to break the inter
-
generational cycle of bonded labour.

__________________________________________________________________________

Singapore:
Update on MOM’s Investigation on

Employment Dispute Case
at Tampines

IR/ER/Singapore/Foreign Workers/Wage Arrears
/Dispute Settlement

Source: Ministry of Manpower, 6 February, 2012. Web/URL:
http://ww
w.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/Pages/PressReleasesDetail.aspx?listid=406


1.

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
15


Products (S) Pte Ltd and Techcom Cons
truction & Trading Pte Ltd over unpaid
salaries since November 2011.

2.

MOM’s officers responded to the incident immediately and went down to the worksite
at Tampines Industrial Street 62.

3.

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
-
site.

4.

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
-
related issues.

5.

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.

_______________________________________________
______________________

UK:
TUC and NUS launch year of campaigning to protect interns from
abuse

IR/ER/UK/Free Labour/Internships

Source: TUC, 13 February 2012. URL/Web:
http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc
-
20615
-
f0.cfm

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.

16


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
-

oft
en for months on end
-

can afford
to work for free, says the TUC.

Frances O'Grady

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,
we're concerned
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.'

Dannie Grufferty

said
:'Unpaid internships quite flagrantly do not comply with basic
minimum wage legislation. They are not only deeply unfair, but are straightforwardly illegal.

17


'If we are serious about fair access to all professions, the current situation whereby young
people

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
peo
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

IR/ER/UK/Forced Labour

Source: CIPD, 13 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/pm/articles/2012/02/unions
-
slam
-
retail
-
free
-
work
-
sch
emes.htm?wa_src=email&wa_pub=cipd&wa_crt=news_4&wa_cmp=pmdaily_130212


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
-

including the

work

experience

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
-
year
-
old geology graduate
Cait Reilly
,
who is claiming in court that her three
week placement at Poundland was in breach of forced
labour provisions of the Humans Right Act.


18


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
long
-
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
when w
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.

________________
___________________________________________________________

In Brief

Australia: HSU state officials turn fire on Jackson campaign

IR/Australia/Union Factionalism

Source:

The Australian

6 February 2012. Web/URL
:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national
-
affairs/industrial
-
rela
tions/hsu
-
state
-
officials
-
turn
-
fire
-
on
-
jackson
-
campaign/story
-
fn59noo3
-
1226263182743

[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
r success
in presenting herself as the sole white knight fighting union corruption
.

19


Australia: Unions to shut down BHP and allied mines for a week

IR/Australia/Miners/BHP

Source: The Australian 4 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/unions
-
to
-
shut
-
down
-
bhp
-
and
-
allied
-
mines
-
for
-
a
-
week/story
-
e6frg8zx
-
1226262269818

SEVEN
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
-
year low

ER/Singapore/Labour Market/Migrant Workers

Source: Straits Times Newsletter, 7 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://www.straitstimes.com/PrimeNews/Story/STIStory_763798.html

THE number of foreigners entering Singapore illegally and staying on without papers fell to
an 11
-
year low last year.

__________________________________________________________________________



USA:
Locked
-
Out Workers to Embark on Journey for Justice

ER/USA/War on Workers

Source: AFL
-
CIO, accessed
12 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/02/09/locked
-
out
-
workers
-
to
-
embark
-
on
-
journey
-
for
-
justice/

Steven Greenhouse of The New York Times
wrote

recent
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.

_____
_____________________________________________________________________

USA:
Dean Baker: Auto Manufacturing Gives Big Boost to Jobs Growth

ER/USA/ Labour Market/Auto Manufacturing

20


Source: AFL
-
CIO, 11 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/02/10/dean
-
baker
-
auto
-
manufacturing
-
give
-
big
-
boost
-
to
-
jobs
-
growth/

We
[AFL
-
CIO]
asked economist
Dean Baker
, co
-
director of the Center for Economic and
Policy Research (
CEPR
), 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
still
-
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
workers
.

_____________________________________________________________

UK: Home Office announces hike in migrant vis
a fees

ER/UK/Labour Market/Migrant Workers

Source: CIPD, 10 February, 2012. Web/URL:
http://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/pm/articles/2012/02/home
-
office
-
announces
-
hike
-
in
-
migrant
-
visa
-
fees.htm?wa_sr

UK:
Increases for skilled workers are a ‘bitter blow’ for firms, says CBI

Employers face a hike in visa fees for skilled migrant workers, after
the government
announced substantial rises “to generate revenue and reduce the burden on the UK taxpayer”.

________________________________________________________________________________

Burma:
After Two Decades of Darkness, a Daybreak in Burma?

IR/Burma/

Future of Trade Unions

Source: AFL
-
CIO, Accessed 12 February 2012


http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/02/06/after
-
two
-
decades
-
of
-
darkness
-
a
-
daybreak
-
in
-
burma/

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
tical parties,
including her own NLD. She did not say that unions should not be involved in politics or
21


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
o so.

__________________________________________________________________________

Kuwait: Discrimination
against

Foreign Workers and Use of Forced
Labour Persist

IR/Kuwait/Labour Rights/Foreign Workers

Source
: ITUC

7 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://www.ituc
-
csi.org/kuwait
-
discrimination
-
against.html

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

So
urce: ITUC, 9 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://www.ituc
-
csi.org/death
-
threats
-
against
-
sintraelecol.html

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.

__________________________________________________________________________

Guatemala:
SITRABI Target of Deadly A
nti
-
Union Repression in
Guatemala

IR/Guatemala/Unionist Assination

Source: ITUC, 11 February, 2012. Web/URL:
http://www.ituc
-
csi.org/sitrabi
-
target
-
of
-
deadly
-
anti.html

Miguel Angel
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
arms
.

___________________________________________________________________________

22


New Zealand
:
Major DHL Agreement settled in New Zealand

IR/New Zealand/Collective Bargaining

Source: UNI, 8 February 2012. Web/URL:
http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/uni.nsf/pages/homepag
eEn?OpenDocument&exURL=h
ttp://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/UNINews.nsf/vwLkpByIdHome/B5C5EC36EE3F38CC
C125799E00518D1C?OpenDocument

DHL workers voted to go on strike in mid
-
December over lack of progress in the
negotiations. However after a company
-
called me
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
roles.


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
on) figures
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:
http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/uni.nsf/pages/homepageEn?OpenDocument&exURL=h
ttp://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/UNINews.nsf/vwLkpByIdHome/847C3C7
2C5CC0BA2
C125799C00580542?OpenDocument

23


On 19 January, the Italian trade

unions in the banking sector signed a new
National

Collective Agreement that covers more than 320.000 workers in the finance
industry.


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
employment,.


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
.

_____________________
____________________________________________________________________

South Africa:
COSATU welcomes WFTU to South Africa

IR/South Africa/COSATU/WFTU

Source: COSATU, 9 February 2012. Web/URL
s
:
http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=5831

http://www.wftucentral.org/?language=en

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.

___________________________________________________________________________

Publications

The TUC Workplace Manual

Order your copy from
https://www.tuc.org.uk/publications/viewPub.cfm?frmPubID=641

24



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
representatives

.

___________________________________________________________________
__________
__

26
th

AIRAANZ Conference 2012: Re
-
Organising Work, Association of Industrial Relations
Academics of Australia and New Zealand
,
published papers
,
ed. Robin
Price
, Brisbane,
Queensland University of Technology.

______________________________________________________________
__________

The updated Singapore’s
Tripartite Advisory on Best Sourcing Practices & Employers
Guidebook

can be downloaded for free from the MOM website at
http://www.mom.gov.sg/BestSourcing/

________________________________________________________________________________

Poc
ock, B., Skinner, N a
nd Williams, P.

(2012)

Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in
Australia Today
,
NewSouth Books, may be ordered at

http://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/isbn/9781742232959.htm

_________________________________________________________________________


Bray, M, Waring, Cooper, R.

(2011)

Employment Relations 2e
,
McGraw Hill, ISBN:
9780070287266
, contact
MHA_higher
-
education@mcgraw
-
hill.com

__________________________________________________________________________

Baird, M., Hancock, K. and Isaac, J. eds. (2012)
Work and Employment Relations: An Era
o
f

Change
, The Federation Press, ISBN: 9781862878501 may
be ordered at
www.federation

press.com.au

__________________________________________________________________________

Bamber, G. J., Lansbury, R. D. and Wailes, N. (2012)
International and Comparative
Employment
Relations: Globalisation and Change
, Allen and Unwin, ISBN:
9781
742370651 may be ordered from
academic@allenandunwin.com



25



____________________________________________________________

Call
s

for Papers

Special Issue IJHRM:
Partnership, Collaboration and Mutual Gains, submission deadline 24

F
ebruary 2012
. Website:
http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rijh

_________________________________________________________________

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.
A
bstract
to:
clare.kelliher@cranfield.ac.uk

R.Croucher@mdx.ac.uk

c.edwards@kingston.ac.uk

by
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
daniel.j.b.mitchell@anderson.ucla.edu
.

___________________________________________________________________

Transnational industrial relations and the search for alternatives

A workshop at Greenwich

University
May 31
-
June 1, 2012.
Call for abstracts

by 1 March 2012 to Lefteris Kretsos (
l.kretsos@greenwich.ac.uk
).

___________________________________________________________________________

Australia: 27
th

AIRAANZ Conference
, 6
-
8 February 2013, Freemantle, Western Australia.
Information from
www.conferencewa.com.au/airaanz2013
; email
trish.todd@uwa.edu.au
;

email
al.rainnie@gbs.curtin.edu.au

. Submission deadline for refereed papers 21 September

2012.

___________________________________________________________________________

The Korea
n Journal of Industrial Relations (CALL FOR PAPERS)


The Korean Journal of Industrial Relations (KJIR) is published by the Korean Industrial
Relations Association.

There is no due date for the submission. We receive articles around a
year.
Web/URL:
26


http://www.lera.uiuc.edu/news/Calls/2007/Korean%20Journal%20of%20Industrial%20Relati
ons.htm



Conference
s, Seminars, Symposia

Australia: New Dy
namics
o
f Industrial Conflicts in Asia: Causes, Expressions and
Resolution Alternatives
, Friday

17th February 2012
,
Time: 9:00am
-
5:00pm
Venue: N1.08,
Caulfield Campus, Monash University, Melbourne.

RSVP:
Ms Cynthia Kumar
Cynthia.kumar@monash.edu

no later than 10

February 2012 for catering.

_________________________________________________________________________

UK:
Critical Labour Studies 8th Symposium
,

18 & 19 February 2012
.
Venue:


Old Fire
Station
,
University of Salford
.

Criticallabourstudies.org.uk
.
Contact Phoebe Moore
p.moore@salford.ac.uk

f
or more information.

___________________________________________________________________________

Australia:
Jo Isaac Symposium,
Using the Power of Working Relationships to Achieve
Organisational Resilience and Sustainability: A Multi
-
Stakeholder Approach

Professor
Jody Hoffer Gittell,

2.00pm
-

4.30pm, Friday 24 February, 2012, ICT Theatre 1, Ground Floor, ICT
Building, 111 Barry Street, Carlton
.
RSVP:

To reserve your place at this free event please email:
isaac
-
workshop@unimelb.edu.au

by 19 February, 2012. Please include Isaac Symposium in the subject
line.


___________________________________________________________________________

UK: Transnational
I
ndustrial
R
elations and the
S
earch for
A
lternatives
,
Greenwich
University
, 31 May 2012 to 1 June 2012
.

For abstract submission or more information,
contact Lefteris Kretsos (
l.kretsos@greenwich.ac.uk
).

___________________________________________________________________________

27


Ireland: IFSAM 2012 Conference
, Limerick, Ireland, 26
-
29 June 2012. Website:
http://www.ifsam.org/

__________________________________________________________________________________

UK: BUIRA

2012
Conference

University of Bradford
,
28
-

30 June 2012
.

Members

submit
your abstact
here
.

___________________________________________________________________________

USA: 16th World Congress of ILERA
,

16th World Congress of ILERA
, 2
-
5 July 2012,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Website:
http://www.ilera2012.com/

Register at:
http://www.ilera2012.com/Registration/default.asp

Reserve accommodation at:

http://www.ilera2012.com/Accommodations/default.asp


Review program at:

http://www.ilera2012.com/Congress
-
Program/default.asp


Arrange travel at:

http://www.ilera2012.com/General
-
Information/default.asp

________________________________________________________________

Australia: Fifth International Community, Work and Family
Conference
, The fifth
international Community, Work and Family Conference will take place at the University of
Sydney, 15
-
17 July 2013
. Information at
www.CWF2013.aifs.gov.au

__________________________________
_________________________________________

Australia: 27
th

AIRAANZ Conference
, 6
-
8 February 2013, Freemantle, Western Australia.
Information from
www.conferencewa.com.au/airaanz2013

email
trish.todd@uwa.edu.au

email
al.rainnie@gbs.curtin.edu.au



28