Germany: Government mulls over supply chain law to fight labour and environmental abuse abroad
30 September 2020: Government is mulling over promulgating a law proposed by the ministries of Labour and Development – Lieferkettengesetz meaning supply chain law to fight against labour rights and environmental abuse by German companies outside of its territory by tracking violation of global human rights and environmental standards at the level of their sub-contractors or suppliers and holding the principal employer responsible for such violations.
USA: Seattle passes Minimum Pay Rate for gig workers engaged in driving work for companies like Uber and Lyft
29 September 2020: After New York, Seattle has become the second state in the United States of America to mandate payment of minimum wages to workers engaged in driving gigs with companies like Uber and Lyft. From January, ride-hailing companies must pay $16 minimum hourly wage to its workers. Seattle state will create a formula for minimum compensation for each trip — a combination of per-minute and per-mile rates which will be “scaled up” according to the utilization rate, or the fraction of each hour during which drivers have a passenger in their car. A lower utilization rate would correspond to a higher per-minute and per-mile rate, to compensate drivers for time spent waiting for clients.
Ukraine: Miners remain underground to register protest against deplorable working conditions
23 September 2020: Over 400 miners of the Kryvyi Rih Iron Ore Plant have been on strike since 4 September 2020 against deplorable working conditions. The protests began on 3 September 2020 at the Oktyabrskaya mine, where 29 miners refused to return over ground after their shift ended and have continued to remain underground since. Workers across Rodina mine, Gvardeyskaya mine and Ternovskaya mine have joined the strike demanding wage increase, improved working conditions, better pensions and enforcement of health and safety regulations, and dismissal of the corrupt mine management.
South Korea: Postal workers to go on strike before Chuseok holidays if not compensated for ‘sorting work’
17 September 2020: Delivery workers have decided to go on strike if they are not compensated for the overtime work they have to put in sorting parcels. Over 4,500 delivery workers under the aegis of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions have voted in favour of the strike action if they are not paid by the hour. Currently delivery workers are only paid on the basis of the deliveries they make, however they spend long hours sorting the parcels before they can be delivered. There is no payment for the time spent in sorting the parcels.
USA: Over 1,300 healthcare workers strike work, demand better working conditions and end of contract system
13 September 2020: Over 800 nurses of University of Illinois Hospital picketed outside the hospital while others were forced to remain on duty after court issued restraining orders citing their work as essential for the functioning of the hospital. The nurses’ union has been demanding that the hospital hire more permanent nurses, end the contract hiring system and put in place a patient-to-nurse ratio to ensure that patients receive proper care and the instances of infection and injury go down. At present there is no patient-to-nurse ratio in place and nurses remain overworked and burdened.
Cambodia: Garment industry minimum wage raised by $2 for 2021
11 September 2020: The National Council on Minimum Wage (NCMW) has approved a $2 raise over the existing $190 minimum wage. The new wage will be applicable from 1 January 2021. This is the lowest raise in 2013 following prolonged negotiations wherein unions demanded a raise of $12 adjusted to inflation while the employers body lobbied for a cut of $17 in the existing wages citing loss of business owing to the lockdown.
Thailand: Gig workers strike against meagre pay and long working hours
7 September 2020: Thousands of delivery workers flocked the capital city of Bangkok to register their protest against meagre payments and additional burden of meeting arbitrary standards set by the companies such as carrying bags of a particular colour. Owing to the protest the largest employer – Grab dropped its requirement that food delivery drivers use green bags and scrapped a zoning policy whereby drivers could only receive new jobs in a pre-designated area. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has hit the tourism and hospitality business forcing workers to choose gig jobs like food delivery. Given the influx of workers companies have tweaked their algorithm which has led to significant cuts in wages.