Qatar: Government scraps Kafala system, raises minimum wages for migrant workers
31 August 2020: Qatar’s Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs has finally promulgated the abolition of draconian Kafala system that required workers to take NOC from employers before switching jobs. Emir of Qatar in October 2019 has announced that the system will be done away with. In the times of pandemic triggered slowdown and reverse migration the government has also announced a 25 % raise in minimum wage to 1,000 riyals to lure migrant workers to stay on as the country braces for the FIFA World Cup 2022. There are over 6,30,000 Indian workers in Qatar who are set to benefit from this move.
Bangladesh: Government constitutes Tk700 crore fund for rehabilitation of migrant workers
24 August 2020:The Government of Bangladeshhas constituted a Tk700 crore fund for rehabilitation and re-employment of migrant workers who have returned home after losing their jobs overseas, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since 1 April 2020, more than 78,000 Bangladeshis have returned home from 26 countries. Under the fund, the affected Bangladeshi workers will get investment credit at 4% interest and the family of each expatriate Bangladesh worker, who have passed away due to Covid-19 infection, will get Tk3 lakh ex-gratia.
Kenya: Court declares health workers’ strike illegal, orders them to return to work
20 August 2020:The Employment and Labour Court in Kisumu issued conservatory orders barring striking healthcare workers from carrying on with their industrial action which had been going on for past 18-days. Members of Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU) Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco) and Kenya National Union of Laboratory Technicians (Knult) went on strike on 2 August 2020 against delay in payment of wages and poor management of health facilities in Homa Bay county by the county government. The union has been demanding that the Central government take over the management of health facilities in the area.
Jordan: Government promulgates law to end gender based wage discrimination
18 August 2020:The Parliament of Jordan has amended Labour Law No. (8) of 1996 to prohibit unequal pay based on gender. The law now defines “wage discrimination” as inequality between workers in remuneration for work of equal value due to discrimination based on gender. Employers found guilty of wage discrimination will be subject to a fine between 500 and 1,000 Jordanian dinars. In addition, the articles related to vacation days have been amended to provide for paternity leave of three days for fathers upon the birth of a child. Studies show that men earn 41 percent more than women in the private sector and 28 percent more in the public sector.
Belarus: Workers shut plants against police violence and corruption in elections
13 August 2020: Thousands of workers struck work and shut down plants over brutal police violence against people protesting against corruption in recent precedential elections in the country. Workers at state-owned Belarusian Automobile Plant (BelAZ), Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) and Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ) went on strike bringing manufacturing in the country to a standstill demanding fair elections and action against police officers who unleashed force against peaceful protestors demanding that elections be fair and transparent.
USA: California Labour Commissioner sues Uber and Lyft for wage theft
6 August 2020:California state labour commissioner has filed a suit against taxi companies Uber and Lyft for wrongly classifying drivers as ‘independent contractors’ to deny them minimum wages, leave pay and health benefits as per law. A UC Berkeley Labour Center report in May estimated that if the firms had treated their drivers as employees between 2014 and 2019, Uber and Lyft would have contributed a combined $413 million.
The companies have however, put together a $30 million fund to fight the law suit and campaign against AB-5 the newly promulgated law in California which mandates gig work providing companies to classify gig-worker as employees and pay them minimum wages, leave pay, health benefits and contribute towards unemployment benefits.
Indonesia: Government launches direct cash transfer scheme for workers hit by pandemic
06 August 2020:The Indonesian government has launched a direct cash transfer scheme for workers affected due to COVID-19 triggered lockdown and subsequent dipping of the economy. The scheme aimed at creating purchasing power amid workers who lost their livelihood cost the exchequer $2.15 billion and benefit over 14 million workers. Starting Septemeber the government will transfer $41 for the next 4 months to the accounts of all those workers whose monthly salary is below $343 per month.