After that ad, and a drop in profits, some good news for Hyundai. To the relief of many investors, the labour union has ended its seven-week dispute with the company over weekend work.
The 45,000-strong union will resume their overtime work from this weekend after refusing it for the past eight weekends, demanding higher wages. The temporary work stoppage cost the company more than Won1tn ($900m) in production losses. Continue reading »
By Ifty Islam of Asian Tiger Capital Partners
The collapse of Rana Plaza, the eight-storey building housing garment factories in Savar, near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has seen more than 300 killed and over 1200 injured, with many hundreds still missing.
Coming only five months after 111 deaths in an earlier factory fire, the overwhelming sentiment in Bangladesh has gone from shock to moral outrage about the scant regard for human life among the factory owners. There have been violent protests across Dhaka by thousands of enraged garment factory workers. Continue reading »
South Korean companies are facing growing public pressure to convert contract workers to permanent staff amid increasing calls for a so-called “economic democratisation,” which is likely to improve workers’ conditions at the price of increasing employers’ costs.
The latest response to this pressure came from E-Mart, the country’s biggest supermarket chain, which said last week it would convert 10,000 temporary salespeople to regular staff from April 1. Continue reading »
Higher wages and rising labour costs lie at the heart of the economic questions facing China’s leaders as they gather this week in Beijing for the National People’s Congress.
For hard-pressed exporters the developments are clearly negative. But for China as a whole they should be positive -with millions of workers earnings more pay and creating a growing consumer market – as long as the transition is managed properly. Continue reading »
Huawei, the Chinese telecoms group, is the latest international investor to feel the brunt of Indonesia’s increasingly vocal trade union movement.
Union activists and current and former employees have launched a campaign against what they say is Huawei’s use of illegal foreign workers, its union busting practices and other alleged violations of Indonesia’s tough labour laws. Continue reading »
Saudi Basic Industries Corp, Saudi Arabia’s biggest publicly-traded company, has a very non-Saudi problem: striking workers.
The Riyadh-based petrochemicals behemoth is facing the wrath of the labour unions – not at home in the kingdom where such groups are banned but at its Chemicals Geleen plant in the Netherlands. Continue reading »
By Marcos Troyjo of Columbia University
The timid expansion of Brazil’s GDP in the past 12 months at under 1 per cent deals a hard blow to the notion that its policy makers had devised an economic model uniting high growth with social inclusion. This sweet dream is over. It is wrong to assume that the set of policies Brazil has put in place in the past few years to boost its economy and upgrade its social data are pillars of a new development model. Continue reading »
Leaders of South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday pledged to try to stabilise labour relations in the troubled industry.
But Frans Baleni, general secretary, and Senzeni Zokwana, president, told beyondbrics they could not give investors “guarantees” that there would be no resurgence of the strikes that caused so much disruption this year. Continue reading »
The State Grid Corporation of China has made a public protest over recent moves to cancel visas and work permits for 28 of its technical staff in the Philippines, where it owns a big chunk of the power transmission operating company.
It’s not entirely clear what’s behind Manila’s actions. But energy officials are keen to ensure that control over power grid operations is in the hands of Philippine rather than Chinese nationals. Continue reading »
Bangladesh is widely known as significant exporter of garments to major Western brands in Europe and the US. Less noticed has been the rapid growth of its leather industry, which last year exported around $663m worth of leather and leather products to Italy, Spain, Germany, China, South Korea and Japan.
But global importers sourcing leather from Bangladesh for handbags, shoes and jackets are running the risk of a severe blow to their reputation, with a human rights group now training its sights on abuses by the country’s unregulated export-oriented leather industry. Continue reading »
Apple fans can sleep a bit easier while they’re waiting on line this autumn to upgrade to the iPhone5.
The independent auditor of Foxconn, the Apple supplier, says that the Chinese group that made headlines with a slew of worker suicides has cleaned up its act substantially, at least in some of its factories. Continue reading »
The killing of more than 30 striking miners by South African police on Thursday has shocked the country and the industry and reverberated around the financial markets.
Shares in Lonmin, the platinum mining group at the centre of the dispute, plunged by 10 per cent in Johannesburg early on Friday as details of the shootings at the company’s Marikana mining complex near Rustenburg were revealed.
While shares in Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum, the two other big operators at Rustenburg, also fell, the wider South African market barely moved.
Perhaps, investors are still weighing their responses. They would be wise not to underestimate the potential impact of a tragedy that has South African commentators making comparisons with the worst excesses of the apartheid regime. Continue reading »
Considering the state of the world economy, a labour shortage is the last thing you’d expect Chinese factory owners to have to worry about.
But finding workers in southern China is worse than last year, according to an annual survey conducted by the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong. Continue reading »
On the face of it South Korea’s unemployment levels should be the envy of the world, with figures published on Tuesday showing the jobless rate falling last month to just 3.1 per cent. Compare that to an average of 8 per cent in the OECD, the rich economies’ club, and 24 per cent in crisis-torn Spain, a country with a similar population and income per head on a spending power basis.
But in fact Korea’s workers and job seekers face much bigger difficulties than these numbers suggest. It would be a brave unemployed Spaniard who swapped places with a Korean. Continue reading »