From 14 to 16 September 2013, World Solidarity facilitated a workshop in Hong Kong in which trade unions and other social movements from Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Nepal could share and experience the realities of domestic workers coming from their countries and working abroad in Hong Kong. The last five years these organisations had regular consultations and organized campaigns to emphasize and improve the working conditions of domestic workers. Their contribution in the process towards the adoption of the ILO convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers cannot be underestimated. The objective of the Hong Kong gathering was to build more bridges between workers from the sending and the receiving countries. The workshop concluded with a common statement , urging the EU countries to ratify the ILO Convention on domestic work.
Since March 19th 2013, Belgium disposes of a new Law on Development Cooperation. This Law, which replaces the Law of May 25th 1999, modernized the Belgian Development Cooperation so as to adapt it to the evolution of the international context and the new challenges cooperation is facing. The restructuring was a long-term process, during which 3 Ministers succeeded each other at the head of the ministry for Belgian Development Cooperation. In the meantime, World Solidarity (WSM) and the Belgian Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (CSC) have endeavored to influence the result. In the end, we sowed beautiful seeds... Hopefully the harvest will be satisfying!
WSM welcomes decision of big brands to sign legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh
World Solidarity welcomes the monumental news that brands are agreeing to sign the legally binding, enforceable and transparent Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh with IndustriALL, UNI and Bangladeshi unions. CCC will sign the Accord as a witness.
The minimum wage in the garment and footwear industry in Cambodia will rise from 61 to 80 USD a month from this May 1st. This increase leaves Ath Thorn, president of the CLC (Cambodian Labour Confederation) bitter: it will not allow any worker to migrate out of poverty and is, in fact, much less than it looks on paper.
The Cambodian Working Group for Domestic Workers (CWGDW) released a Call to Action for the governments of Malaysia and Cambodia to act expeditiously to enact effective protection measures for domestic workers, including ratifying ILO 189: Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
Together with more than 60 Cambodian and international human rights groups and trade unions World Solidarity calls on Cambodia and Malaysia to reach a bilateral agreement that would guarantee strong labor rights and working conditions for Cambodian maids employed in Malaysia.
"The time is ripe for the Cambodian and Malaysian governments to take measures to ensure the rights of domestic workers, including a decent minimum wage, and define the rights and responsibilities of domestic workers, employers and recruitment agencies," the Cambodian Working Group for Domestic Workers said in a statement. The groups want both governments to reach an agreement that would protect the rights of Cambodian maids in accordance with the International Labor Organization (ILO)'s Convention Concerning Decent work for Domestic Workers, which was adopted last year.
Read the call for action here.
Five months after they were fired for trying to establish a union, 67 employees of the Angkor Village Hotel in Camodia continue to demonstrate daily at the the entrance of the hotel to challenge their dismissal. They are supportd by CTSWF, the tourism union of CLC, trade union partner of World Solidarity and ACV in Cambodja. The hotel owners simply ignored the court's verdict to annul the lay-off.
After 11 months of negotiation, a major Nike supplier has agreed to pay $1m to Indonesian workers for 593,468 hours of unpaid overtime. For the 4,500 workers the deal means that they receive an average of about US$ 220 each.
The settlement covers a period of two years and concerns workers of the workers of the PT Nikomas Gemilang IY plant. This agreement sets an important precedent. ‘This has the potential to send shock waves through the Indonesian labour movement,’ says the union’s chairman, Bambang Wirahyoso of Indonesian trade union federation Serikat Pekerja Nasional (SPN). He continues: “Now that the precedent has been established, the leadership at SPN is gearing up to take on the fight for any workers who have been subjected to forced overtime without pay. We have only just begun’.
Upon request by our Cambodian partner organisations C.CAWDU and CLC’s, we (World Solidarity, ACV-CSC and Clean Clothes Campaign) have been writing protest letters to denounce the lack of respect for the Cambodian workers and trade unions’ labour rights. This action has proven to be successful! Thanks to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), ACV-CSC and World Solidarity, the large number of unjust dismissals and the arrest of Sous Chanta (June 2011) were put on the agenda of the annual International Labour Organisation’s Conference. In the Committee on the Application of Standards, the Cambodian government was twice called to account because it did not comply with the international labour convention on freedom of association. For more information about the protest letters and the discussion on this topic in Geneva, see the next page.
From October 4 to 6, 2011, the garment federations C.CAWDU Cambodia, Garteks Indonesia, NGWF Bangladesh, NGWU Nepal and the Belgian NGO World Solidarity joined forces in a garment network workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. Purpose of the event was to discuss the situation in the Asian garment industry and the actions of garment federations to address the problems of these workers.