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Jailing of Labor Activist Raises Concerns About Mexico’s Readiness for USMCA [National Public Radio]
Gladys Cisneros, country program director at the Solidarity Center in Mexico City, says under the USMCA, Mexico will have to clear a huge backlog of labor disputes. And the courts have been shut down because of the coronavirus. "It's not the most reassuring landscape,...
The rankings used to bring with them a risk to a country's reputation. "Reputationally it meant a lot. It was embarrassing to be on Tier 3 or the Tier 2 Watch List. And if the tier rankings don't mean anything, then that reputational pressure is gone," said the...
The garment industry tends to invest where the rule of law is weakest, where there are sizable degrees of poverty and a degree of impunity, said the Solidarity Center's David Welsh on the podcast, "On the Level with Jeff Hutton," With the advent of the pandemic,...
"Migrant workers have been left aside by governments who have relied on them to do dangerous jobs that have become even more dangerous during this crisis," reports David Welsh, Solidarity Center's Southeast Asia country director.
David Welsh, Southeast Asia country director of the Solidarity Center, said: "With the enormous profit margins [brands] have enjoyed on the backs of workers in Southeast Asia, they are easily placed to sustain workers and factories over this period."
Indonesia’s Labor Laws Discourage Investment and Leave Workers Worse Off: Experts [The Straits Times]
Even so, David Welsh, country director of Southeast Asia of the Solidarity Center, a nonprofit aligned with the U.S.-based labor federation AFL-CIO, said the reforms, in the garment sector at least, risk amounting to a “race to the bottom”–slashing benefits to appease big international brands that can afford to pay. During the three months ended August–the most recent data available–Sweden’s H&M, which has manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, reported a gross profit margin of 50 percent before tax.
The vast majority of Brazilian textile and shoe factory workers who took part in a recent study say they have experienced some form of violence at work, often gender-based violence and harassment—to the extent that “for many women, work is synonymous with suffering,” writes the Solidarity Center’s Tula Connell.
Haitians who do the physically demanding and repetitive work of sewing and assembling clothing in the new industrial park earn the Haitian minimum wage of just 500 gourdes (about $5.25) a day—three times less than the estimated cost of living in Haiti, according to the Solidarity Center.
Dave Welsh, country director for labor rights group Solidarity Center, said that historically, migrant workers in Malaysia were initially operating outside “the purview of what were very bad labor laws” which were harshly enforced. Malaysia’s laws, he added, were “very transparent and completely, deliberately almost proudly out of whack with any international labor law norms, and applied vigorously.”
In the works is a radical overhaul of labor laws, which will redefine the lives of more than six million impoverished migrant workers. “The conditions [in Malaysia] are appalling,” said the Solidarity Center’s Dave Welsh. “If even a modicum of what trade unions put forward is enacted into law, this is a huge game changer.”