Thursday, 2 May 2013

Press Release                                                                            1 May 2013

Solidarity message:  May Day 2013
“Free Somyot, All Political Prisoners and Abolish Lese Majeste Law in Thailand”

Today as we gather together to commemorate May Day let us remember the struggles of our brothers and sisters to improve our work and lives. All our rights as workers have been won through long, hard battles. Currently all over the world, worker activists face not only challenges from the bosses and owners, but also from governments which use unjust laws or military might to stop us from organising at work. Many of our brothers and sisters are in jail because of this repression.

In many countries in Asia we continue to see attacks on labour and democratic rights. For instance, Thailand has had 26 military coup d`etats in its modern history. The situation for labour and human rights activists in Thailand has now become very difficult. Since the 2006 coup d’etat, the widespread use of the repressive Lese Majeste law (Article 112 of Criminal Code of Thailand) has led to the imprisoning of hundreds of activists and civilians, both Thai and foreigners.

On 23 Jan 2013, labour activist and journalist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was jailed for 10 years (with another 1 year pending) for allegedly defaming the Thai Royal Family. 

Somyot's case has brought international attention to the situation in Thailand.

It has become obvious to all that Article 112 is being used by the Thai government and ruling elite to stifle dissent and suppress progressive activists and organizations. Article 112 stops people asserting their civil and political rights by making views opposed to the ruling regime illegal.

In such a climate of fear and repression, organising at workplaces and conducting campaigns by workers and trade unions becomes very difficult.

We call upon all Trade unions and progressive organisations around the world to continue to stand up for and support our brothers and sisters in Thailand.

Therefore, on the occasion of May Day, 2013, the international day of workers, we wish to declare our solidarity for all jailed, tortured and suffering activists in Thailand and all over the world.

We condemn the Thai government’s use of Article 112 ( Lese Majeste Law) against its opponents and consider its use an attack on basic human rights.
We call on the Thai government to drop the charges against Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, and to free all other political prisoners detained under Article 112.

We also call for the abolition Article 112.

Irene Xavier
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Workers of the world unite for a better future

Workers take to the streets on International Workers' Day in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe

Workers take to the streets on International Workers' Day in North and South America.

Boston-area workers share their stories as part of International Workers' Day.

I tried to put the South Korean union song but couldn't get it on youtube! The other song I tried to get by a labor activist in Canada, Art Farquharson, that too I couldn't get. I hope you had time to send messages of solidarity or joined marches with fellow comrades in our struggle to live a dignified life. Solidarity dear workers of the world.

Stop Union Busting!
Decent Wage Now!
Prioritise Workers' Rights. Malaysian Insider
On May 1, 2013, Asia Floor Wage Alliance demands
1) Immediate Stop to Attacks against Workers and Unions!
2) Delivery of Living Wage to Garment Workers!
Today is a Global Day of Action and Solidarity among workers worldwide! Today, we celebrate the victories of the labour movement won through bloody struggles of workers in Chicago, USA in 1886 for an 8-hour day.
But, we are also grimly reminded that laws won through such struggles will remain in books if workers do not continue to fight to implement them.
Top fashion Brands and Retailers in North America and Europe subject Asian garment workers every day to forced labour, wage theft, physical violence, poverty, and crippling malnutrition. They profit huge revenues daily as workers manufacturing their goods in the most “modern” supplier factories in Asia, face heinous violations of labour rights and civil rights.
Garment workers in Asia are stopped from organizing a collective voice as they are terrorized, imprisoned, terminated and blacklisted for forming a union.
Garment workers in Asia suffer from severe malnutrition, poverty, deaths and broken families as they cannot earn a decent wage to maintain themselves or their families in dignity.
Garment workers in Asia are treated as disposable workers as they are illegally hired as “contract labour” or on “short-term contracts” for regular jobs that require decent, regular employment.
Today, garment workers across Asia unite to demand an immediate end to such inhuman practices and to demand a living wage for an 8-hour work day!!
In 2009 a large Asian Alliance of unions and labour rights activists defined and calculated a floor wage (a minimum living wage) for Asian garment workers, which would guarantee that workers receive at least enough to meet basic needs for themselves and their families. The Asia Floor Wage (AFW) campaign is a collective demand for a minimum living wage for Asian garment workers who manufacture the majority of the world’s clothing.
Bangladeshi garment workers
The AFW Alliance urges global buyers to clean up their Global Supply Chain. They must make decent work for garment workers a condition for sourcing. They must factor in living wage demands into their price negotiations with suppliers. We urge our government to stand with us, the working people, to ensure that brands and retailers work with our supplier factories to deliver living wage during a standard working day for garment workers and to halt all forms of stacks on unionization, which is a treasured international labour and human rights standard.
Asia Floor Wage secretariat
*Asia Floor Wage is a minimum floor wage formula for Asian workers in the global garment supply chain – based on a family with food and non-food expenses. It translates into different local currencies through the PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) conversion factor for each country. In 2012, the formula was 540 PPP$. Visit for more details.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

May Day Message

In conjunction with May Day we, Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, urge the political parties contesting the 13th General Election to pledge their support and prioritise the demands of workers throughout Malaysia. Workers form the backbone of this country's wealth. Yet all the election manifestos with the exception of PSM, do not show an understanding of the challenges workers are facing not only because of the global economic downturn but also because of the commitment to neo-liberal agenda by most governments, including the government of Malaysia.
'Workers determine the future'. May Day celebration in 2012.

 We wish to remind the next government that the  workers of this country want mechanisms put in   place that would
·         *   protect jobs,
·         *   provide decent work and
·          *  pay living wages for women and men who work.

We reject the notion that contract workers, domestic workers, home-based workers, migrant workers and all workers in the informal economy can work without protection from the labour laws including the right to form and join trade unions. Any reason to make workers work long hours so that their families’ basic needs be met, should be put to an end.firesteel

Union rights
May Day is celebrated so that workers can earn enough for their basic needs by 8 hours of work. Denying this in practice and giving a holiday on May Day is meaningless. Workers cannot go on sacrificing their rights to decent livelihoods to subsidise the economy. Workers cannot go on and allow owners to rob them of their wages. 

There must be change in workers' situation in addition to changes that the parties are talking about in their manifestos. We wish to reiterate that we will push the next government to give us our rights. We submit to you once again the Manifesto Pekerja that is attached.

Jaringan Pekerja* Demands

1.  Implement Minimum wage of RM1,500 per month: Minimum wage be clearly defined and implemented. Also Wage Council's meetings be made transparent.

2. Workers' rights be respected: Amendments should be made to the Employment Act 1955 and Industrial Relations Act 1967 that support workers' rights such as freedom to form unions, non-interference of the Registrar of Trade unions in union affairs.

2.1 Welfare of women workers: Maternity leave of 14 weeks be made compulsory. The working premises must have areas for breast feeding. Child care centres made compulsory and paid for by employers.

 2.2 Stop Free Trade Agreements negotiations: These negotiations between first world countries and Malaysia are not transparent. The agreement ignores  workers’ rights are and has a detrimental effect to the local economy. 

3.   Social Security Protection: Implement a pension scheme for private sector workers. To implement a minimum 5 day or 40 hours per week work period for a healthy life style. Also a Workers Dismissal Benefit fund be implemented for dismissed workers' to cope with the loss of income.
Workers are the power for change

     4.  Health and Safety of workers: SOCSO should cover workers outside working hours and the process of claims should be simplified. The scheme should cover spouses and their children.

     5.  Dignified living standards: Stop the privatisation of hospitals, water and electricity which affects the workers living standards. Stop the direct and indirect taxes on food, transport and housing where escalating prices affect a dignified way of living.

*Alliance of several unions and NGOs.