WageIndicator Gazette 25, July 2010
Extension in Asia: 3 new countries *** DecentWorkCheck for Pakistan online *** Decisions for Life progress report: young women centre stage *** Break on proliferation of national Wage Indicator websites *** Salary Check in Belarus *** Salary Check in Indonesia *** Salary Check in Guatemala
Extension in Asia: 3 new countries
Despite the stifling recession, the international Wage Indicator operation keeps on thriving. From October next, it will add to the 46 participating countries 3 new Asian candidates: Pakistan, Cambodia and – in 2011 – Sri Lanka. Indonesia, already operational since 18 months, also is a beneficiary of the new project. The project which makes this possible has been given the title Decent Wages Asia. It is financed by the Dutch Christian Confederation of Trade Unions (CNV) and lasts 3 years. CNV also hand picked the national trade unions partners.
The overall aims of the project are:
- raising awareness, working people should know their minimum wages
- fostering of compliance, trade unions and governments check and insist that legal minimum wages are paid
- improvement of minimum wage setting as an instrument of economic policy
DecentWorkCheck for Pakistan online
A national DecentWorkCheck allows visitors of a Wage Indicator website to compare their working conditions with national labour law and international labour conventions. Over the past few years such national checks have been created by the Wage Indicator team for 20 countries, now joined by Pakistan, bringing the total to 21. With this early implementation, Pakistan is a forerunner in the Decent Wages Asia project that was also given green light in June. Fine tuning the DecentWorkCheck tool for Pakistan has been done by Iftikhar Ahmad, former official of the Pakistan Ministry of Labor and currently studying at Industrial and Labor Relations School, Cornell University in the US.
On paper labour rights in Pakistan look good, Ahmad comments. The problem lies more in enforcement, which is lacking in vigour. Recently this problem was aggravated by a change in the Constitution on April 20th. It stipulates that the federal government can no longer interfere with labour affairs and can't force provinces to enforce or enact legislation on its demand. But it is the federal government that signed for the application of the international ILO-conventions in the country, not the provincial governments. So it seems they have no obligation whatsoever to enforce labour rights whereas the federal government had to give up its right to interfere. Ahmad: ‘I believe that federal government will soon reverse this part of the amendment and would try to bring labour matters again within its own jurisdiction.’
For more information: DecentWorkCheck - Pakistan
Decisions for Life progress report: young women centre stage
Decisions for Life is a project that runs for 3 years, starting in October 2008, for implementation in 14 countries. It aims to reach young women workers in the services sector in those countries to help them make premeditated decisions about future employment/career, family building and work/life balance. This is an important Millenium goal, formulated by the United Nations. The project is funded by the Dutch Foreign Office – MDG3-fund, through ITUC, UNI and the Wage Indicator Foundation.
The Decisions for Life-project appeals to (young) working women in all participating countries. These are in alphabetical order: Angola, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Botswana, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Ukraine, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Female trade union officials and activists on both union and confederation levels consider the project as an opportunity to strengthen their positions. Moreover they have seen fit to promote the project in such a way that it became part of mainstream trade union policies within a matter of six months, since its introduction in Mach 2009 in southern Africa, in Brazil and Indonesia. The project, they say, gives them a chance to put working women’s problems and needs centre stage, triggering new trade union policies and leading to solutions. What follows is a selection of quotes from the project’s mid-term report, compiled in April and May.
Break on proliferation of national Wage Indicator websites
Easily recognized as belonging to an extended family by the shared ‘eyes-logo’, the national Wage Indicator websites nevertheless show a natural tendency to diverge more and more over time, content-wise. After all two thirds of all Wage Indicator websites are tended by national web journalists. Apart from the requirement that a national Wage Indicator website must contain at least a Salary Survey, Salary Checks, Minimum Wages, labour law content and gender issues, they are free to produce their own content. This unchecked proliferation does not lead to the best possible results everywhere. Which is why the international management has all content on national websites reviewed during the current year. To facilitate and coordinate future content production a format is developed in close consultation with the national web journalists. Simultaneously all sites are checked and updated in terms of Search Engine Optimization. From autumn onwards all content production must also conform to a SEO-format. SEO is done right from the start of application development and uploading of content.