USA: Labour department fines Premar Global Warehouse Logistics $235,000 for wage theft

Turkey: Union power yields victory at Salcomp Turkey, a producer of mobile devices for Chinese company Xiaomi

23 September, 2021: Salcomp Turkey, which produces smart phones for Chinese tech products leader Xiaomi, has agreed to reinstate 170 workers it fired for joining a union of their choice. Workers had protested over five days.

The company’s management also agreed to withdraw a lawsuit challenging the CBA certificate issued by the labour ministry and start collective bargaining negotiations on 1 October, 2021.

Liberia: Labour ministry fines steel giant Arcelor Mittal $308,000 for unfair labour practices

22 September, 2021: An investigation by the west African country’s Ministry of Labour found ArcelorMittal Ltd guilty of unfair labour practices and fined it $308,000.

This was in a case brought by contract workers of the steel giant in October 2020. The company employed 546 contract workers in various departments at its Buchanan and Yekepa sites.

After years of service, the workers were turned over by AML to employment agency firms Frontline and ROSNA, who laid them off after two years of service.

AML also failed to fulfil its promise to re-hire the workers after business improved.

Egypt: Universal for Electrical Appliances workers strike against wage delays

22 September, 2021: More than 2,000 workers at the Universal for Electrical Appliances (UEA) went on strike against non-payment of wages for the last two months. The company has also failed to pay any bonus to 6,000-plus workers.

UEA workers had to resort to strike in 2019 amid similar conditions; therefore, their demands include a remedy to irregular salary payments, avoiding reductions to wages by up to 50 percent, non-payment of monthly incentives and arbitrary administrative decisions.

UEA workers are currently paid 2,400 Egyptian pounds and incentives to the tune of 700 Egyptian pounds. But workers have often reported high anomalies in payment of incentives.

USA: Labour department fines Premar Global Warehouse Logistics $235,000 for wage theft

21 September, 2021: The Department of Labour found Premar Global Warehouse Logistics, a warehouse company based in San Diego guilty of wage theft.

The company employed 16 Mexican nationals whom it paid less than minimum wages and no overtime in case of working for over 40 hours a week.

The workers were paid wages in Mexican currency despite the work being carried out in the United States.

The company has been fined $154,100 in overtime back wages and $75,900 in minimum wage back wages along with a $5,000 civil monetary penalty. The order also outlines that Premar must hire an independent third party to conduct supervisor training as to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, in addition to other conditions assuring compliance with the FLSA.

Italy: Unions ink collective agreement with Amazon

16 September, 2021: Owing to union pressure, Amazon Italia has agreed to consult with trade unions on issues like new openings, job training and industrial relations with authorities. This is a major change in the stand of the company, which actively engages in union-busting and excessive exploitation of workers and evades any dialogue with labour unions.

South Korea: Rail workers defer strike after authorities accept demands at midnight

14 September, 2021: A strike by metro rail workers in capital Seoul was averted at midnight after the management agreed to scrap a restructuring plan after nine hours of dialogue.

Seoul Metro agreed to abolish restructuring plans involving cutting nearly 10 percent of its 16,700 employee-strength, reducing benefits, freezing wages and partially outsourcing work to the private sector to mitigate continuing losses.

The union has proposed that governments treat Seoul’s subway system the same as the state-run Korea Railroad Corp wherein the government would share 60 percent financial liability of the Metro’s annual losses. It does the same for the national railroad operator under the Framework Act on Railroad Industry Development.

Netherlands: Court rules Uber drivers workers, not contractors

13 September 2021: Uber drivers have registered another victory in Europe. The Amsterdam district court has ruled that Uber drivers are employees and not independent contractors as claimed by the company.

The order will affect over 4,000 drivers who are employed by the company in the Dutch capital. They will now be entitled to sick leave, overtime pay and minimum wages.

In the past similar rulings have been passed by different courts in the UK, France and United States of America.

China: Food delivery company Meituan makes changes in algorithm after government crackdown

13 September, 2021: App-based food delivery company Meituan made its algorithm public and agreed to make changes in it after government crackdown on tech companies.

Earlier, the Supreme People’s Court had issued directives to tech companies against ‘996’ work culture, ie the practice of working 12-hour (9am-9pm) shifts six days a week.

Meituan has announced changes that would require workers to necessarily take breaks and allowances for delivery workers to take account of “abnormal conditions”, including delays caused by food vendors.

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