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Issue #1798      October 11, 2017

Region Briefs

Japan: On October 6 Japan’s Dentsu Inc was fined a mere 500,000 yen ($4,400) which is strikingly small for a company that reported $10 billion in annual revenue for 2015. This was after a Tokyo court ruled it had made employees work overtime beyond legal limits. Matsuri Takahashi had worked 105 hours of overtime in October 2015 after which she fell into depression. She jumped to her death from a company dormitory on Christmas day, leaving behind a trail of public grievances on social media about her relentless working hours and boss’s verbal abuse.

Bangladesh: On September 21 at least six workers were killed and many more injured in a tragic accident, when fire engulfed a textile factory in Munshiganj, near Dhaka. The Ideal Textile Mill factory was in a mixed residential and industrial area in a multi-storey building. The fire was thought to have originated on the first floor where chemicals were being stored while renovations were going on. This fire is only the latest of several other deadly factory incidents in the country’s textile industry this year and is a direct consequence of ongoing repression of independent unions.

Cambodia: On October 5 the Ministry of Labour chief announced, after annual tripartite consultation talks, that the minimum wage for a Cambodian garment worker would be increased to US$170 for 2018, an increase of US$5. The textile industry in Cambodia generates $6 billion annually.

Nepal: The Nepalese government reissued a warning on October 4 to workers to refrain from enforcing or causing others to enforce any form of strike or protest in a manner to obstruct the supply and delivery of essential services, with legal action against individuals who participate in strikes under the Essential Services Operation Act, 1957. Some essential services where strikes are prohibited include postal, telecommunications, transportation, airport runway and aeroplane repair and maintenance services, the mint and government press, also any service of defence affairs of the Nepal government relating to the function of arms, ammunition or production of any military goods and services concerning water supply, tourism, petroleum supply, including cooking gas, health services, waste management, banking, electricity supply, insurance and transportation, storage and distribution of consumer goods including rice, lentils, edible oil and salt.

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