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Workers strike against labour-hostile policies

MANILA (UCAN/Agencies): Church groups and university students in Manila, the Philippines, launched campaigns in the third week of June in support of at least half a dozen labour strikes around the Philippine capital.
 
The Council of the Laity of the Philippines has issued a call of support for the striking workers of a US$360-million ($2.8 billion) food conglomerate.
 

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Elderly labourers taken to cleaners by outsourcing practices

HONG KONG (UCAN): Hong Kong’s mostly elderly cleaners, some in their 80s, are falling victim to outsourcing companies employing them under two-year government contracts.
 
Ming, who is 70-years-old, cleaned public toilets, but was forced to change companies four times in six years by an outsourcing requirement that favours the lowest bidder—with bids usually lowered through contractors minimising labour costs.
 

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Filipino workers complain of continuing rights abuses

MANILA (UCAN): Workers in the Philippines are complaining of continuing rights abuses even as the country’s economy grew by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of the year.
 
A study conducted by the non-government Centre for Trade Union and Human Rights recorded at least 345 rights violations, including 28 killings of workers in the past two years.
 
The same study also cited complaints involving at least 9,919 workers whose rights to organise and be part of a trade union were reportedly not recognised.

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A long road for labour rights

HONG KONG (SE): Members of the Hong Kong Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs joined thousands of people on May 1 for a Labour Day march, organised by the Federation of Trade Unions and its subsidiary unions, demanding better protection for workers.
 

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Looking for throwaway labour

As the government in Hong Kong mulls the dilemma of caring for its aging population, bureaucrats are once again looking off shore to find labour to fill the gaps and talking the need for a further 600,000 of what it puts the demeaning tag—domestic helpers.
 








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Work contracts not the answer

HONG KONG (SE): Whether the contractual working hours proposal put forward by the government on June 13 would solve the ongoing dilemma of the high number of overtime hours worked by employees in Hong Kong or not remains a moot point.
 
A statement issued on June 14 by the Hong Kong Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs indicates that it believes that it could well only serve to further muddy the waters.
 

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Worker safety clashes with employer interest

HONG KONG (SE): Following the deaths of several domestic workers falling from high rise apartment buildings while cleaning the outside of windows, the Philippine Consulate General to Hong Kong sought to place a clause in all contracts signed by its nationals in the future banning the task.

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Communication as important as work

HONG KONG (SE): Migrant workers were reminded that communicating with their employers about things that are important to them, like food preferences, rest periods and holidays, is as vital to workplace relations as their performance, at a session organised by the Domestic Workers Empowerment Project at the University of Hong Kong on May 22.

They were told that these things can be regarded as reasonable needs, and a good understanding between employer and employee is a recipe for a good and happy workplace.

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A long haul but recruitment agency business can be cleaned up

HONG KONG (SE): David Bishop, the founder of an employment agency set up with the deliberate aim of not charging foreign domestic workers illegal fees, said at a forum held in the Meng Wah Complex at the University of Hong Kong on May 22 that eliminating unethical and illegal practices from the industry needs the cooperation of both employers and employees.

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Nationality does not protect from exploitation by labour brokers

HONG KONG (SE): Something seems out of sync watching a young man from Hong Kong crying on Australian television as he tells the story of how he had been trafficked to labour on a Queensland plantation.

The young man paid money to a labour broker to take advantage of the short term employment visa programme the Australian government offers to young people from overseas to work in the farming, food packaging and construction sectors, among others.