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Issue #1810      February 14, 2018

Region Briefs

Japan: On January 23 the leaders of Japan’s largest business lobby and labour body met for full-fledged shuntō spring wage negotiations. Negotiations between labour and management are expected to heat up in the lead-up to March 14, when many companies are scheduled to present their wage proposals to the labour side. The conservative government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for the talks to result in a three percent rise in wages. But Kozu, who is leader of the trade union confederation Rengo, said he will demand a four percent hike where the wage growth rate among major companies in the past four years stood below three percent.

India: Over 1,000 workers have been on strike since January 29 demanding implementation of labour law provisions. Claiming to represent the unorganised workforce employed by dockworkers and commission and forwarding agents with the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT). The All-India Port Workers’ Federation (AIPWF) said the workers, mainly drivers and crane operators, are not being brought under Employee State Insurance (ESI) cover and paid minimum wages, bonus and provident fund. The AIPWF of the All-India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), which is associated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist), has denounced the authorities’ “apathy” when addressing the demands of workers providing services to the NMPT. On February 6 the Deputy Labour Commissioner directed the AIPWF to withdraw from the strike. He advised the NMPT to issue directions to all agencies and companies working for the port to strictly comply with all laws concerning welfare, wages and other statutory requirements in respect of their workers. Additionally he advised all employers not to antagonise workers and inflame the situation.

Nepal: In February the Nepalese government launched a campaign to address public transport sector child labour. In the first phase under the child labour-free public transportation drive, various awareness programs are being launched through various media outlets, said the coordinator of the Central Child Welfare Board. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act-2056 defines those below the age of 16 years as children. The Act and Motor Vehicles and Transport Management Act-2049 prohibit the use of child labour in the public transport sector.

Pakistan: On February 1, members of the Railways Workers’ Union (CBA) Workshop held a demonstration demanding promotions and services upgrades for diploma-holding engineers and class-IV railway employees. The railways union leaders and Peoples Solidarity Forum activist addressed the demonstrators calling for an end to the privatisation of the Pakistan Railways and the oppression of its workers. They also demanded the railways administration end the five percent salary deduction for housing services. Addressing the workers, the president of the railways union said the dignity and morale of workers was on the decline as 30 years of austerity and anti-labour practices in the Pakistan Railways had left the once former flourishing institution.

Andrew E Rayment

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