defending NR36 in Brazil is an international struggle with global consequences

defending NR36 in Brazil is an international struggle with global consequences

As we gradually emerge from this devastating global pandemic, there can be no doubt that protecting public health is an absolute priority. This not only means building better, more accessible and affordable public health care systems, but also dramatically improving occupational health and safety regulations to ensure safer workplaces for workers. This is precisely why the urgent call for recognition of ILO Convention No.155 on Occupational Safety and Health as a fundamental right has gained so much support in 2022.

For essential food industry workers working throughout the pandemic, the right to a safe workplace became absolutely vital. Meat and poultry industry workers in particular were understood to be at high risk of occupational exposure to COVID-19. Studies also showed that faster line speeds in poultry plants increased COVID-19 risk. Added to this is the fact that the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease (a disease that spreads between animals and humans) and greater efforts are needed to prevent the emergence of new zoonotic diseases. As the UN Environment Program (UNEP) pointed out in 2020, we must take several comprehensive measures to protect the environment and transform our food systems to prevent the next pandemic. This is even more urgently needed in industries where the risks of exposure to animal diseases – including slaughterhouses in the meat and poultry industry – are high.

All this means that globally we are at a critical turning point in which public health, and health and safety at work, must be given priority. Yet it is at precisely this juncture that Brazil is heading in the wrong direction. The government is moving to amend and thereby erode the protection of workers’ health and safety in the meat and poultry industry. Specifically, Regulatory Norm 36 (NR36) Health and Safety at Work in Slaughter Houses and Processing Meat and Derivatives is under attack.

NR36 was adopted in 2013 after 15 years of campaigning to improve the working conditions of meat and poultry workers and ensure their right to a safe workplace. NR36 includes everything from the length and timing of rest breaks, standing and sitting while working, work rotation, limiting exposure to cold temperatures, and the use of appropriate and adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that foremost protects workers’ health, not just the product. There are also provisions on biological hazards and biosecurity measures that are even more relevant today with the resurgence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) – including outbreaks of H5N1 – and a surge in Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

The objective of NR36 is: “… to permanently guarantee safety, health and quality of life at work.” Few would doubt the importance of this objective in 2022. Yet the meat and poultry conglomerates in Brazil want the government to erode NR36, reversing this objective. This means not guaranteeing safety, health and quality of life at work, and setting lower standards at a time when we are striving to protect human health. It means taking away the right to safety and health on the eve of its global recognition as a fundamental right.

As with our urgent efforts to prevent a climate catastrophe, reverse biodiversity loss and stop new pandemics, we must follow the science. Science must drive our actions, not politics. Yet the attack on NR36 is precisely that – a political assault on health and safety in the meat and poultry industry that defies science. Since the introduction of NR36 in 2013, dozens of studies have shown the substantial improvement in human health and hygiene and the quality of life of meat and poultry workers.[1]

Studies comparing work in poultry processing factories in Brazil before and after the introduction of NR36 demonstrate lower occupational risk and reduced incidence of long-term injury and illness. The importance of NR36 requirements for PPE, work rotation and rest breaks is cited again and again in international studies as examples of the qualitative improvement in human health.[2]

Science tells us that NR36 is working. Politics tells us that the multi-billion dollar meat and poultry conglomerates can squeeze some more profit if workers stand longer, reach higher, have shorter breaks, use cheaper PPE, and suffer in cold temperatures.

The global consequences of the reversal of NR36 cannot be underestimated. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef (23% of the total) and the second largest producer of chicken meat in the world. Chicken meat production grew to 14.35 million tons in 2021 and saw a 51% jump in exports. Meanwhile Brazil-based JBS is the world’s largest chicken producer and processor, the world’s largest protein supplier, and the second-largest global food company. So a reversal and erosion of health and safety standards in the meat and poultry industry is a global reversal.

Across the Asia-Pacific region and internationally we must protest to the government of Brazil and express our outrage. We must defend NR36 as a standard that exemplifies our fight to recognize ILO Convention No.155 as a fundamental right. We must at this critical historical juncture turn towards the protection of public health, workers’ health and the environment – not away from it. Yes we must also challenge and transform the the meat and poultry industry as a major contributor to climate change, biodiversity loss and as a key “disease driver”. But we can only do so through the organized strength of meat and poultry workers and their communities. We can move from safety to the environment and ensure a just transition. But such a transition is made impossible if the meat and poultry industry is cast backwards into a past of brutal, unsafe working conditions. There is no hope in that. No justice. And therefore no possibility of a just transition.

Hidayat Greenfield, IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Secretary

NOTES

[1] Diogo Reis, Antonio Moro, Elaine Ramos, Pedro Reis, “Upper Limbs Exposure to Biomechanical Overload: Occupational Risk Assessment in a Poultry Slaughterhouse”, in Ravindra S. Goonetilleke and Waldemar Karwowski (eds) Advances in Physical Ergonomics & Human Factors: Proceedings of the AHFE 2018 International Conference on Physical Ergonomics & Human Factors, July 21-25, 2018, pp.275-282. See also Dias NF, Tirloni AS, Cunha Dos Reis D, Moro ARP. “The effect of different work-rest schedules on ergonomic risk in poultry slaughterhouse workers”. Work. 2021;69(1), pp.215-223.

[2] See the papers published in Nancy L. Black, W. Patrick Neuman, Ian Noy (eds), Proceedings of the 21st Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2021), Volume V: Methods & Approaches. Springer, 2022.

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“শ্রম পণ্য নয়।” কিন্তু পিস-রেট মজুরির চাপ, কোটা এবং ভয় শ্রমকে পণ্য হিসাবে নিশ্চিত করে।

“শ্রম পণ্য নয়।” কিন্তু পিস-রেট মজুরির চাপ, কোটা এবং ভয় শ্রমকে পণ্য হিসাবে নিশ্চিত করে।

১০ মে ১৯৪৪ তারিখে গৃহীত ফিলাডেলফিয়া ঘোষণা, ১৯১৯ সালে প্রতিষ্ঠিত আন্তর্জাতিক শ্রম সংস্থা (আইএলও) এর লক্ষ্য ও উদ্দেশ্যগুলিকে পুনর্নিশ্চিত ও সংজ্ঞায়িত করে। প্রথম অনুচ্ছেদটি ঘোষণা করে:

(ক) শ্রম পণ্য নয়;

ঘোষণাটি একটি গুরুত্বপূর্ণ ঐতিহাসিক সন্ধিক্ষণে এসেছিল, স্বাধীনতার জন্য সংগ্রামরত অনেক দেশের জন্য উপনিবেশবাদের অবসানের সূচনাকে উদ্যাপন করে। অনেক সদ্য স্বাধীন দেশে ভাষা, শিক্ষা, আইন, সীমানা, জমির মালিকানা, একইসাথে শাসন ব্যবস্থার কাঠামোতে ঔপনিবেশিকতার অবশিষ্টাংশ অব্যাহত ছিল। বর্ণবাদ, বৈষম্য, দাসত্ব, এবং বন্ডেড লেবার বা শ্রম দাসত্বের পাশাপাশি ব্যাপক দুর্নীতির মতো বিভিন্ন ধরণের  ঔপনিবেশিক অনুশীলনগুলি অব্যাহত ছিল। (১)

অন্যতম আরো একটি চর্চা যার বৃদ্ধি অব্যাহত ছিল তা হল পিস-রেট মজুরি এবং কোটার ব্যবস্থা, যা শ্রমিকদের আরও বেশি উৎপাদন করার জন্য কঠোর পরিশ্রম করতে বাধ্য করার জন্য ডিজাইন বা তৈরী করা হয়েছিল। আধুনিক শিল্পে পুরষ্কার এবং প্রণোদনার ব্যবস্থা হিসাবে বোঝা যায় – এবং বর্তমান গিগ অর্থনীতি (মুক্তবাজার অর্থনীতি) এবং প্রযুক্তি জগতে সুযোগ এবং স্ব-নিযুক্ত বিশেষাধিকার হিসাবে – পিস-রেট মজুরি ব্যবস্থা শ্রম শৃঙ্খলার মধ্যে নিহিত। এটা ডিজাইন করা হয়েছে শ্রমিকদের বাধ্য করার জন্য; শ্রমিকদের কাছ থেকে আরো শ্রম আহরণ করতে।

এই ব্যবস্থার কার্যকারিতা হল এটা মনে হয় যেন শ্রমিকরা নিজেদের থেকে আরও বেশি করে আহরণের জন্য কঠোর পরিশ্রম করছে। তাই চিন্তাভাবনা চলছে, শ্রমিকরা লক্ষ্য এবং কোটা পূরণের জন্য নিজেদেরকে ঠেলে দিচ্ছে, পিস-রেট মজুরি যা উৎপাদন করার জন্য ডিজাইন করা হয়েছে তার আরও বেশি করে পিস তৈরি করে। এটি করার বাধ্যবাধকতা নিয়োগকর্তাদের দ্বারা ন্যায্যতা হিসাবে মানুষের অন্তর্নিহিত প্রতিযোগিতামূলকতাকে লালন করা হয়, প্রায়শই এটিকে ন্যায্যতা দেওয়ার জন্য ডারউইনের “যোগ্যতমের বেঁচে থাকার” অপব্যবহার করে। (২)

লক্ষ লক্ষ শ্রমিকের জন্য এই বাধ্যবাধকতা – এই নিরলস চাপ – পরিবর্তন হয়নি। পিস-রেট মজুরি এবং কোটা দ্বারা প্রয়োগ করা চাপ প্রতিযোগিতা করার অভ্যন্তরীণ আকাঙ্খা থেকে নয়, শুধুমাত্র বেঁচে থাকার জন্য। এটি ঘটে কারণ শ্রমিক এবং তাদের পরিবারগুলি একটি নিশ্চিত জীবন ধারনের জন্য পর্যাপ্ত মজুরি এবং ভালো স্বাস্থ্য, শিক্ষা, আবাসন এবং খাদ্য ও পুষ্টি এবং একটি উন্নত মানের জীবনযাত্রা নিশ্চিত করার জন্য প্রয়োজনীয় সামাজিক সুরক্ষা উভয়ই থেকে বঞ্চিত। যেমনটি আমরা অন্যত্র ব্যাখ্যা করেছি, পিস-রেট মজুরি এবং কোটা শিশু শ্রমের মূল চালিকাশক্তি। পিস-রেট মজুরি এবং কোটা দ্বারা সৃষ্ট চাপ শ্রমিকদের স্বাস্থ্যের উপর অত্যন্ত ক্ষতিকর প্রভাব ফেলে।

পিস-রেট, কোটা বা টার্গেট এর চাপে শ্রমিকরা তাদের শারীরিক সীমাবদ্ধতার উর্দ্ধে কাজ করে। অত্যাধিক কাজের চাপ এবং বিশ্রাম বা খাবার ছাড়া দীর্ঘ কর্মঘণ্টা বাগানে এবং খামারের শ্রমিক এবং মাংস শিল্পের শ্রমিকদের জন্য যেমন সাধারণ ঘটনা, তেমনি এটি বিশ্বজুড়ে বিলাসবহুল হোটেল এবং ফাস্ট ফুড চেইনের শ্রমিকদের জন্যও। কোটা, লক্ষ্যমাত্রা (টার্গেট) এবং পিস-রেট শ্রমিকদের শারীরিকভাবে যত সময় কাজ করতে সক্ষম তার চেয়ে বেশি সময় কাজ করতে চালিত করে। তাদের মস্তিষ্ক এবং স্নায়ুতন্ত্র তাদের কাজ বন্ধ করে বিশ্রাম নিতে বলে। তাদের শরীর বারবার সংকেত পাঠায় (অর্থাৎ ব্যথা)। কোটা তাদের বলে এই সব কিছু উপেক্ষা করে কাজ চালিয়ে যেতে। (৩)

কোটা পূরণ বা পিস-রেটের মাধ্যমে পর্যাপ্ত মজুরি অর্জনের জন্য প্রয়োজনীয় সময়টি গুরুত্বপূর্ণ হয়ে ওঠে। এটি এতই গুরুত্বপূর্ণ যে শ্রমিকদের অবশ্যই বিশ্রামের বিরতি, খাবার বিরতি এবং টয়লেট বিরতি ত্যাগ করতে হয় এবং নিজেদেরকে তাদের শারীরিক সীমার বাইরে কাজের মধ্যে ঠেলে দিতে হয়। এমনকি, সময় না হারানোর এবং তাদের লক্ষ্যে পৌঁছানোর প্রয়াসে, শ্রমিকরা  তাদের স্বাস্থ্য এবং জীবনের ঝুঁকি বাড়িয়ে পেশাগত স্বাস্থ্য এবং নিরাপত্তা ব্যবস্থা পরিত্যাগ করতে বাধ্য হয়। পিস-রেট বা কোটার চাপের মধ্যে, শ্রমিকরা ব্যক্তিগত সুরক্ষামূলক সরঞ্জাম পরিধান করা বন্ধ করতে পারে না বা সাবধানে সুরক্ষা নির্দেশাবলী অনুসরণ করতে পারে না কারণ তারা সেই সময়ে আয় হারাচ্ছে। সেই আয়ের প্রয়োজন যত বেশি, ঝুঁকিও তত বেশি।

নিয়োগকর্তারা পিস-রেট এবং কোটার প্রভাব উপেক্ষা করেন এবং এর পরিবর্তে অনিরাপদভাবে কাজ করার জন্য শ্রমিকদের দোষারোপ করেন। যৌথ দরকষাকষির মাধ্যমে জীবনযাপনের জন্য শোভন মজুরির নিশ্চয়তা দেওয়ার পরিবর্তে এবং আট ঘন্টার মধ্যে নিরাপদে কাজ করার জন্য কাজের চাপ পুনরায় ডিজাইন করার পরিবর্তে, নিয়োগকর্তারা সব ধরণের প্রশিক্ষণ … এবং সকল ধরণের শাস্তি প্রবর্তন করে। এটি একটি গভীর বিরক্তিকর বিড়ম্বনার বিষয় যে এমনকি বিশ্বের বড় বড় কোম্পানিগুলোও পিস-রেট এবং কোটার চাপে শ্রমিকদের স্বাস্থ্য ও নিরাপত্তা শর্টকাট করতে বাধ্য করে তারপর এই শর্টকাটগুলির জন্য শাস্তির জটিল ব্যবস্থা চালু করে।

এতে কোন সন্দেহ নেই যেহেতু জলবায়ু পরিবর্তনের ফলে তাপমাত্রা বৃদ্ধি হচ্ছে, অতিরিক্ত তাপের ফলে শারীরবৃত্তীয় চাপ (হিট স্ট্রেস) বা তাপ সম্পর্কিত শারীরিক অবসাদ (হিট ইগজোশন) হওয়া এবং হাইপারথার্মিয়া হওয়ার অধিকতর ঝুঁকি থাকবে (৪)। শ্রমিকরা যদি বিশ্রামের বিরতির জন্য পানি পান করার জন্য, ছায়া খুঁজতে এবং বিশ্রামের জন্য এখনই সময় বের করতে না পারে, তাহলে আগামী দুই দশকে কেমন হবে তা কল্পনা করুন। এই পরিস্থিতিতে, পিস-রেট এবং কোটার চাপ আরও অনেক শ্রমিককে হত্যা করবে।

শেষ পর্যন্ত এটি ভয় সম্পর্কিত। পর্যাপ্ত উপার্জন না করার ভয় বা তাদের চাকরি হারানোর ভয়ই বেশিরভাগ শ্রমিককে বাধ্য করে যারা পিস-রেট মজুরি এবং কোটার উপর নির্ভরশীল। দোষী হওয়ার, “দলকে হতাশ করার” ভয়ও রয়েছে, যা উল্লেখযোগ্য মানসিক চাপ তৈরি করে। প্রকৃতপক্ষে, আমার দেখা অনেক যুব শ্রমিকদের জন্য, পর্যাপ্ত পরিশ্রম না করার জন্য বা দলকে হতাশ করার জন্য দোষী হওয়ার ভয় তাদের চাকরি হারানোর ভয়কে ছাড়িয়ে যায়। তবুও অনেক নিয়োগকর্তার কাছে মনে হয় যে এই ভয় তাদের আধুনিক কর্মসংস্থান অনুশীলনের মূলভিত্তি।

ফিলাডেলফিয়া ঘোষণার ৭৭ বছর পরও কেন আমরা যথেষ্ট অগ্রগতি করতে পারি নাই তা নিয়ে প্রশ্ন তোলা উচিত। শ্রম অনেকটাই পণ্য এবং এটিকে টিকিয়ে রাখার অন্যতম কারণ হল পিস-রেট মজুরি ব্যবস্থা, কোটা এবং লক্ষ্যমাত্রার (টার্গেট) চাপ। এটি এমন চাপ যা ভয় এবং জীবিকার জন্য শোভন মজুরি এবং সামাজিক সুরক্ষার না থাকার উপর নির্ভর করে।

এই ভয় কাটিয়ে ওঠা এবং জীবিকার জন্য শোভন মজুরি এবং সামাজিক সুরক্ষার অনুপস্থিতি আসলে ১০ মে ১৯৪৪-এ ফিলাডেলফিয়ার ঘোষণায় ঘোষিত দ্বিতীয় নীতির উপর নির্ভর করে:

(খ) টেকসই অগ্রগতির জন্য মত প্রকাশের স্বাধীনতা এবং সংগঠনের স্বাধীনতা অপরিহার্য;

এখনই অগ্রগতি শুরু করার সময়।

ডক্টর মুহাম্মদ হিদায়াত গ্রীনফিল্ড, আইইউএফ এশিয়া/প্যাসিফিক রিজিওনাল সেক্রেটারি

আন্তর্জাতিক শ্রমিক স্মৃতি দিবসে ফিলিপাইনে হোটেল হাউসকিপিং শ্রমিকদের বিক্ষোভ “রুম কোটা হত্যা করে !”, ২৮ এপ্রিল ২০১৮

টিকা

১। ব্যাপক দুর্নীতি (গ্রান্ড করাপশন) হল সরকারের সর্বোচ্চ স্তরের দুর্নীতি এবং/অথবা সরকারি অফিসে দায়িত্বে থাকা ব্যক্তিদের মধ্যে দুর্নীতি যা  জনগণ বা একটি নির্দিষ্ট সামাজিক গোষ্ঠীর মৌলিক অধিকারকে ক্ষুন্ন করে। উদাহরণস্বরূপ ট্রান্সপারেন্সি ইন্টারন্যাশনালের ব্যাপক দুর্নীতির (গ্রান্ড করাপশন) আইনি সংজ্ঞা দেখুন।

২। যোগ্যতমের বেঁচে থাকার ধারণাটি একটি নির্দিষ্ট প্রাকৃতিক পরিবেশে প্রজননের একটি জৈবিক ধারণাকে বোঝায়। “ফিটনেস” জেনেটিক বৈচিত্রের একটি নির্দিষ্ট শ্রেণীর মধ্যে প্রজনন আউটপুটের হারকে বোঝায়। তাই ডারউইন উল্লেখ করছিলেন কীভাবে কিছু জীবন্ত প্রাণী অন্যদের তুলনায় তাৎক্ষণিক, স্থানীয় পরিবেশের জন্য আরও ভালভাবে ডিজাইন করা হয় এবং কীভাবে তারা মানিয়ে নেয়। এর সাথে প্রতিযোগিতার কোনো সম্পর্ক নেই। যেমনটি আজ ব্যবহার করা হয়, যোগ্যতমের বেঁচে থাকা অন্যদের প্রতি অন্যায্য বা অমানবিক আচরণের জন্য একটি অজুহাত, কেন তারা পিছিয়ে আছে তা ন্যায্যতা দেয়। স্পষ্টতই জীববিজ্ঞানীরা ১৮৬৯ সাল থেকে এগিয়ে গেছেন এবং বৈজ্ঞানিক চিন্তাধারা মৌলিকভাবে পরিবর্তিত হয়েছে। কর্পোরেট চিন্তা পরিবর্তিত হয় নাই।

৩। শ্রমিকদের জন্য বিভিন্ন ধরনের “ ব্যথানাশক” প্রদান বা উৎসাহিত করা বিভিন্ন শিল্পে নিয়োগকর্তাদের জন্য একটি সাধারণ অভ্যাস। এটি ঔপনিবেশিক সময়েও ছিল যখন কাজের শাসনের অংশ হিসাবে মাদক ব্যাপকভাবে ব্যবহৃত হত। এটি প্রায়শই ধরনের অর্থপ্রদান করে এবং মাদকের প্রতি আসক্তি ঋণ এবং শ্রম দাসত্বের দিকে পরিচালিত করে। পোল্ট্রি প্রক্রিয়াকরণ এবং সামুদ্রিক খাবার প্রক্রিয়াজাতকরণ শিল্পে বর্তমানে আজ ব্যথানাশকদের ব্যবহার ব্যাপক, উদাহরণস্বরূপ, যেখানে কারখানার ডাক্তার বা নার্সদের শুধুমাত্র ব্যথানাশক ওষুধ দেওয়ার বা প্রদান করার অনুমতি দেওয়া হয় এবং শ্রমিকদের অবশ্যই কাজ চালিয়ে যাওয়ার পরামর্শ দিতে হয়। ব্যথানাশক অবশ্যই কেবল সেই সংকেতগুলিকে বাধাগ্রস্থ করে যা শরীর আমাদেরকে কাজ থামাতে এবং বিশ্রামের জন্য পাঠাচ্ছে। অবশ্যই কাজ চালিয়ে যাওয়ার বাধ্যবাধকতা পিস-রেট এবং কোটা পদ্ধতি থেকেই আসে।

৪। হাইপারথার্মিয়া বলতে বিপজ্জনকভাবে শরীরের উচ্চ তাপমাত্রাকে বোঝায় যা আমাদের স্বাস্থ্যের জন্য হুমকি স্বরূপ।

Eliminating Violence Against Women: Taking action through education, awareness & organizing

Eliminating Violence Against Women: Taking action through education, awareness & organizing

Throughout the month of November, affiliated unions across the Asia-Pacific region launched a renewed effort to raise awareness and mobilize members to reduce the vulnerability of women workers, overcome fear, and eliminate all forms of violence against women. These coordinated activities across the region were the result of the decision of the IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Women’s Committee to mobilize for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, 2021, and promote the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) and Violence and Harassment Recommendation, 2019 (No. 206).

The IUF Asia/Pacific posters and the statement for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women were distributed in 21 languages in the Asia-Pacific region, including English, Japanese, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Sindhi, Pashto, Nepali, Sinhalese, Indonesian, Khmer, Thai, Tagalog, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), Burmese, Karen, Kachin, Mon, Arkanese and Shan.

In Pakistan the women agricultural and farm workers’ union, Sindh Nari Porhyat Council (SNPC), held an education programme for members on November 27, explaining the role of the union in ensuring that women can work free from violence. This includes measures to protect women when traveling to and from work and when physically isolated in farms and fields.

In the food and beverage sector, the women’s officers of the Pakistan Food Workers’ Federation (PFWF), explained the posters to union members in the workplace – targeting men workers – and distributed education material. This was vital in improving members’ awareness and understanding of the causes of violence against women and that stopping this violence is the responsibility of all union members, not only women. Discussions focused on ways to ensure a safe and secure workplace for women.

IUF-affiliated unions in Pakistan together with affiliates of Public Services International (PSI) jointly organized a seminar in Hyderabad on the ratification and adoption of ILO Convention No.190 and Recommendation No.206 on November 27, 2021. A second seminar on ILO Convention No.190 and Recommendation No.206 was held on November 29 in Karachi and was attended by trade unionists, journalists and parliamentarians. The meeting resolved to reform a committee to develop a national strategy for the ratification of ILO Convention No.190.

In Bangladesh, IUF-affiliated unions also organized a seminar on the ratification and adoption of ILO Convention No.190 and Recommendation No.206 on November 20, 2021. This was followed by education and awareness activities at factories and workplaces.

The seminar recommendations included the urgent need for legislation and policies in line with ILO Convention No.190, and that provisions for forming a joint sexual harassment prevention committee consisting of equal representation of workers and employers in each factory to be included in the Bangladesh labour law. The meeting called for amending labour laws to give the right to form trade unions for workers engaged in the informal sector, including domestic workers and non-farm agricultural waged workers. It is necessary to fix minimum wages for women workers in this sector and extend social protection to reduce their vulnerability.

In India, the General Secretary of the Gujarat Agriculture Labour Union (GALU) organized series of education sessions on eliminating violence against women with local organizers so they can use the posters in their own meetings in villages. GALU also made eliminating violence against women a part of their program in the “School of Democracy” run to educated rural youth on union activities and public governance.

In Assam, India, the Women’s’ Water, Sanitation and Health Committees held a series of education and awareness activities in several tea plantations. The posters were used to introduce the key concepts and to discuss women’s experiences of violence and harassment in the plantation. Women tea workers reported on both the physical and economic vulnerabilities, the daily verbal and physical abuse they face, and discussed how this can be overcome through concerted action by their self-organized Women’s’ Water, Sanitation and Health Committees.

In Indonesia, the Federation of Hotel, Restaurant, Plaza, Apartment, Catering and Tourism Workers’ Free Union (FSPM) and the National Federation of Food and Beverage Workers (FSBMM) launched awareness campaigns in the workplace.

FSPM undertook an intensive awareness campaign among members in hotels and restaurants in Bandung, Surabaya and Yogyakarta. The unions also posted the posters on union noticeboards in the workplace.

The FSBMM Women’s Committee and FSBMM Youth Committee included the issue of violence against women in the agenda of their respective meetings in Bogor on November 13 and 14, 2021. FSBMM combined education and training with stronger policy commitments by affiliated unions, collective bargaining and negotiating more effective measures to make workplaces safe for women.

In Myanmar, a city-wide federation of hotel and resort workers held education and awareness activities on December 3, 2021. The posters were used to facilitate discussion of the different kinds of fear women face, what causes it, and what should be done. Women hotel and resort workers explained the way in which irregular, precarious employment arrangements and job insecurity contribute to their vulnerability and the violence they face.

 

“កម្លាំងពកម្មមិនមែនជាទំនិញ” ប៉ុន្តែសម្ពាធនៃការផ្តល់ប្រាក់ឈ្នួលតាមការកំណត់ចំនួនផលិត  កំណត់តាមកូតា និងការភ័យខ្លាច កម្មករពិតជាស្ថិតក្នុងស្ថានភាពបែបទំនិញ

“កម្លាំងពកម្មមិនមែនជាទំនិញ” ប៉ុន្តែសម្ពាធនៃការផ្តល់ប្រាក់ឈ្នួលតាមការកំណត់ចំនួនផលិត កំណត់តាមកូតា និងការភ័យខ្លាច កម្មករពិតជាស្ថិតក្នុងស្ថានភាពបែបទំនិញ

សេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍នៅទីក្រុង Philadelphia ដែលបានអនុម័តនៅថ្ងៃទី១០ ខែឧសភា ឆ្នាំ១៩៤៤ បានបញ្ជាក់ឡើងវិញ និងកំណត់គោលបំណង និងគោលបំណងរបស់អង្គការពលកម្មអន្តរជាតិ (ILO) ដែលបានបង្កើតឡើងក្នុងឆ្នាំ១៩១៩។ អត្ថបទដំបូងបំផុតប្រកាសថា៖

(ក) ពលកម្មមិនមែនជាទំនិញទេ។

សេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍នេះបានមកដល់ចំណុចប្រសព្វប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រដ៏សំខាន់មួយ ដែលបង្ហាញពីការចាប់ផ្តើមនៃការបញ្ចប់អាណានិគមនិយមសម្រាប់ប្រទេសជាច្រើនដែលកំពុងតស៊ូទាមទារឯករាជ្យ។ នៅក្នុងប្រទេសឯករាជ្យថ្មីៗជាច្រើន សំណល់នៃអាណានិគមនិយមសេសសល់ដូចជា ភាសា ការអប់រំ ច្បាប់ ព្រំដែន កម្មសិទ្ធិដីធ្លី ក៏ដូចជារចនា សម្ព័ន្ធនៃការគ្រប់គ្រង។ ការអនុវត្តអាណានិគម នឹងបន្តក្នុងទម្រង់ផ្សេងៗនៃការរើសអើងជាតិសាសន៍ ការរើសអើង ទាសភាព និងពលកម្មជាប់ចំណង ក៏ដូចជាអំពើពុករលួយដ៏ធំ។ (១)

ការអនុវត្តមួយក្នុងចំណោមការអនុវត្តដែលនឹងបន្តរីកចម្រើនផងដែរនោះគឺ ប្រព័ន្ធនៃប្រាក់ឈ្នួលកំណត់តាមចំនួន ផលិត(piece-rate)និងតាមកូតា(quotas)ដែលត្រូវបានរៀបចំឡើងដើម្បីបង្ខំកម្មករនិយោជិតឲ្យខិតខំផលិតបន្ថែមទៀត។ រឿងបែបនេះឃើញកើតមាននៅក្នុងឧស្សាហកម្មទំនើប ដោយបង្កើតជាប្រព័ន្ធនៃការផ្តល់រង្វាន់ និងការលើកទឹកចិត្តជាដើម ហើយនៅក្នុងសេដ្ឋកិច្ច និងពិភពបច្ចេកវិទ្យាបច្ចុប្បន្ន ជាឱកាស និងឯកសិទ្ធិការងារដោយខ្លួនឯង ប្រព័ន្ធប្រាក់ឈ្នួលកំណត់តាមចំនួនផលិតត្រូវបានចាក់ឬសនៅក្នុងវិន័យការងារ។ រឿងនេះត្រូវបានរៀបចំឡើងដើម្បីបង្ខំកម្មករ និងទាញយកផលប្រយោជន៍ពីកម្មករឲ្យបានច្រើនបន្ថែមទៀត។

ប្រសិទ្ធ​ភាព​នៃ​ប្រព័ន្ធបែប​នេះ​ ​វា​ហាក់​ដូច​ជា​កម្មករ​កំពុង​ខិត​ខំ​ប្រឹង​ប្រែង​ដើម្បី​ទាញ​យកផលប្រយោជន៍​បន្ថែមសម្រាប់​ខ្លួន​ខ្លួន​គេ ដោយសារតែគិតបែបហ្នឹង កម្មករត្រូវប្រឹងខ្លួនឯងឲ្យសម្រេចបានតាមគោលដៅ និងកូតា ដោយផលិតបានឲ្យកាន់តែច្រើនឡើងៗតាមការកំណត់។ ការបង្ខិតបង្ខំឲ្យធ្វើបែបនេះ និយោជកយល់ថាជាការប្រកួតប្រជែងរបស់មនុស្ស ដោយជារឿយៗប្រើពាក្យស្លោក “ការរស់រានមានជីវិតដែលសមរម្យបំផុត” ដែលផ្ទុយពីអត្ថន័យដើមរបស់ Darwin ។ (២)

សម្រាប់កម្មកររាប់រយលាននាក់ ការបង្ខិតបង្ខំបែបហ្នឹង សម្ពាធឥតឈប់ឈរអញ្ចឹង មិនត្រូវបានផ្លាស់ប្តូរទេ។ សម្ពាធ​ដែលធ្វើឡើងទទួលបានប្រាក់ឈ្នួលតាមចំនួនផលិត និងកូតា មិនមែនមកពីបំណងប្រាថ្នាដើម្បីប្រកួតប្រជែងរបស់កម្មករនោះទេ ប៉ុន្តែគ្រាន់តែដើម្បីរស់ ទាំងនេះកើតឡើងដោយសារតែកម្មករ និងគ្រួសាររបស់ពួកគេមិនទទួលបានប្រាក់ឈ្នួលរស់នៅដែលមានការធានា និងការការពារដោយសង្គម ដើម្បីធានាបាននូវការទទួលបានសុខភាពសមរម្យ ការអប់រំ លំនៅដ្ឋាន អាហារ និងអាហារូបត្ថម្ភ និងគុណភាពជីវិតកាន់តែប្រសើរ។ ដូចដែលយើងបានពន្យល់នៅកន្លែងផ្សេងទៀត ប្រាក់ឈ្នួលតាមចំនួនផលិត និងកូតា គឺជាកត្តាជំរុញដ៏សំខាន់នៃពលកម្មកុមារ។

សម្ពាធដែលបង្កើតឡើងដោយការផ្តល់ប្រាក់ឈ្នួលតាមចំនួនផលិត និងកូតា មានផលប៉ះពាល់យ៉ាងធ្ងន់ធ្ងរដល់សុខភាពកម្មករ។ ក្រោមសម្ពាធអត្រានៃការផលិត កូតា ឬកំណត់គោលដៅ(Target) កម្មករធ្វើការលើសពីដែនកំណត់រាងកាយរបស់ពួកគេ។ បន្ទុកការងារច្រើនពេក និងម៉ោងធ្វើការយូរដោយមិនសម្រាក ឬការបរិភោពអាហារ វាជារឿងធម្មតាសម្រាប់​កម្មករចំការ កសិដ្ឋាន និងកម្មករឧស្សាហកម្មសាច់ តែវាកើតដូចគ្នាចំពោះកម្មករនៅក្នុងសណ្ឋាគារប្រណិត និងបណ្តាញអាហាររហ័ស(fast food)នៅជុំវិញពិភពលោកដែរ។ ការកំណត់កូតា ការកំណត់គោលដៅ និងអត្រាផលិត ជំរុញឲ្យកម្មករធ្វើការយូរម៉ោងជាងអ្វីដែលពួកគេគួរធ្វើ។ ខួរក្បាល និងប្រព័ន្ធប្រសាទរបស់ពួកគេប្រាប់ពួកគេឲ្យ​ឈប់​​ធ្វើការ និងសម្រាក។ រាងកាយរបស់ពួកគេបញ្ជូនសញ្ញាម្តងហើយម្តងទៀត(ឧទាហរណ៍ការឈឺចាប់)  តែកូតាប្រាប់​ពួកគេកុំឲ្យអើពើនឹងអ្វីៗទាំងអស់នេះ ហើយបន្តទៅមុខទៀត។ (៣)

ពេលវេលាដែលត្រូវការដើម្បីបំពេញឲ្យសំរេចកូតា ឬទទួលបានប្រាក់ឈ្នួលគ្រប់គ្រាន់តាមរយៈអត្រានៃការផលិត ក្លាយជារឿងសំខាន់។ វាមានសារៈសំខាន់ខ្លាំងណាស់ដែលកម្មករនិយោជិតត្រូវតែឈប់សម្រាក សម្រាកបរិភោគអាហារ និងសម្រាកចូលបន្ទប់ទឹក តែដោយសារឿងកូតា ពួកគេត្រូវបង្ខំខ្លួនឯងឲ្យធ្វើលើសពីដែនកំណត់រាងកាយរបស់ខ្លួន។ ជាការពិតណាស់ នេះជាកិច្ចខិតខំប្រឹងប្រែងមិនឲ្យបាត់បង់ពេលវេលា និងឈានដល់គោលដៅរបស់ពួកគេ ដោយត្រូវបង្ខំបោះបង់ចោលវិធានការសុខភាព និងសុវត្ថិភាពការងារ ដែលបង្កើនហានិភ័យដល់សុខភាព និងដល់អាយុជីវិតរបស់ពួកគេ។ នៅពេលដែលស្ថិតក្រោមសម្ពាធនៃអត្រាផលិត ឬកូតា កម្មករមិនអាចឈប់ពាក់ឧបករណ៍ការពារផ្ទាល់ខ្លួន ឬធ្វើតាមការណែនាំសុវត្ថិភាពដោយប្រុងប្រយ័ត្នទេ ពីព្រោះពួកគេកំពុងបាត់បង់ប្រាក់ចំណូលបើធ្វើបែបហ្នឹង។ តម្រូវការកាន់តែច្រើនសម្រាប់ប្រាក់ចំណូល នោះហានិភ័យកាន់តែច្រើន។

និយោជកមិនអើពើនឹងផលប៉ះពាល់ពីការកណត់អត្រាផលិតផល និងកូតា នោះទេ តែបែជាបន្ទោសកម្មករចំពោះការងារមិនប្រុងប្រយ័ត្នទៅវិញ។ ជំនួសឲ្យការធានាប្រាក់ឈ្នួលរស់នៅសមរម្យតាមរយៈការចរចាជាសមូហភាព និងឲ្យមានការរៀបចំឡើងវិញនូវបន្ទុកការងារ ដែលត្រូវធ្វើដោយសុវត្ថិភាពក្នុងរយៈពេលប្រាំបីម៉ោង និយោជកបែជាណែនាំបែបការបណ្តុះបណ្តាល … និងមានការដាក់ទណ្ឌកម្មសព្វបែបយ៉ាងទៅវិញ។ វាជាការគួរឲ្យហួសចិត្ត និងគួរឲ្យព្រួយបារម្ភ ដែលសូម្បីតែ ក្រុមហ៊ុនធំៗ នៅលើពិភពលោក ក៏បានបង្ខំកម្មករឲ្យកាត់បន្ថយការគិតគូរពីសុខភាពនិងសុវត្ថិភាព ក្រោមសម្ពាធនៃការកំណត់ផលិតផល និងកំណត់កូតា ព្រមទាំងណែនាំប្រព័ន្ធស្មុគស្មាញនៃការដាក់ទណ្ឌកម្មសម្រាប់ផែនការរបស់គេ។

គ្មានការងឿងឆ្ងល់ទេថា ដោយសារការប្រែប្រួលអាកាសធាតុនាំឲ្យសីតុណ្ហភាពកើនឡើង នោះនឹងមានហានិភ័យខ្ពស់​នៃភាពតានតឹងនឹងកម្ដៅ ឬហត់នឿយនឹងកម្ដៅ និងការកើនឡើងកម្តៅ (៤)។ ប្រសិនបើកម្មករមិនអាចឈប់សម្រាក​ដើម្បីផឹកទឹក ស្វែងរកម្លប់សម្រាក ឥឡូវនេះសូមស្រមៃមើលថា តើវានឹងទៅជាយ៉ាងណាក្នុងរយៈពេលពីរទស​វត្សរ៍ខាងមុខ។ នៅក្នុងលក្ខខណ្ឌទាំងនេះ សម្ពាធកំណត់អត្រាផលិត និងកូតា នឹងសម្លាប់កម្មករជាច្រើនទៀត។

ទីបំផុតវាជាការភ័យខ្លាច ដែលជាការភ័យខ្លាចនៃការរកប្រាក់ចំណូលមិនគ្រប់គ្រាន់ ឬខ្លាចបាត់បង់ការងារ គឺជាអ្វីដែលបង្ខំកម្មករភាគច្រើនដែលពឹងផ្អែកលើប្រាក់ឈ្នួលតាមការកំណត់ផលិតផល និងកូតា។ មានការភ័យខ្លាចនៃការស្តីបន្ទោសផងដែរគឺ “ការធ្វើក្រុមក្រុមធ្លាក់ចុះ” ដែលបង្កើតភាពតានតឹងផ្លូវចិត្តយ៉ាងច្បាស់។ តាមពិតសម្រាប់កម្មករវ័យក្មេងជាច្រើនដែលខ្ញុំបានជួប ការភ័យខ្លាចនៃការស្តីបន្ទោសចំពោះការធ្វើការងារមិនគ្រប់គ្រាន់ ឬធ្វើឲ្យក្រុមធ្លាក់ចុះ លើសពីការភ័យខ្លាចបាត់បង់ការងារ ប៉ុន្តែសម្រាប់និយោជកជាច្រើន ការភ័យខ្លាចរបស់កម្មករនេះ គឺជាចំណុចសំខាន់សម្រាប់ការអនុវត្តការងារបែបទំនើបរបស់ពួកគេ។

ចិតសិបប្រាំពីរឆ្នាំបន្ទាប់ពីការប្រកាសនៅទីក្រុង Philadelphia យើងគួរចោទសួរថា ហេតុអ្វីបានជាយើងមិនមានការរីកចម្រើនគ្រប់គ្រាន់។ កម្លាំងពលកម្មជាទំនិញមួយដ៏ច្រើន ហើយកត្តាមួយក្នុងចំណោមកត្តាផ្សេងៗទៀតដែលធ្វើឲ្យ​និរន្តភាពនោះគឺសម្ពាធនៃការកំណត់ចំនួនផលិត(Piece-rate) កំណត់កូតា(Quotas) និងកំណត់គោលដៅ(Target)។ ទាំងនេះគឺជាសម្ពាធដែលផ្អែកលើការភ័យខ្លាច និងប្រាក់ឈ្នួលរស់នៅមិនគ្រប់គ្រាន់ និងការការពារពីសង្គម។

ការយកឈ្នះលើការភ័យខ្លាចនេះ និងអវត្តមាននៃប្រាក់ឈ្នួលចិញ្ចឹមជីវិត ព្រមទាំងការគាំពារសង្គម តាមពិតអាចពឹង​ផ្អែកលើគោលការណ៍ទីពីរដែលបានប្រកាសនៅក្នុងសេចក្តីប្រកាសនៃទីក្រុង Philadelphia នៅថ្ងៃទី១០ ខែឧសភា ឆ្នាំ១៩៤៤៖

(ខ) សេរីភាពនៃការបញ្ចេញមតិ និងការបង្កើតសមាគមមានសារៈសំខាន់ចំពោះវឌ្ឍនភាពជានិរន្តរភាព។

ដល់ពេលចាប់ផ្តើមដំណើរការហើយ។

លោកបណ្ឌិត Muhammad Hidayat Greenfield លេខាធិការប្រចាំតំបន់ IUF អាស៊ី/ប៉ាស៊ីហ្វិក

Hotel housekeeping workers in the Philippines protest “room quotas kill!” on International Workers Memorial Day, 28 April 2018

“Labour is not a commodity.” But the pressure of piece-rate wages, quotas and fear ensures it is.

“Labour is not a commodity.” But the pressure of piece-rate wages, quotas and fear ensures it is.

The Declaration of Philadelphia adopted on 10 May 1944, reaffirmed and defined the aims and purposes of the International Labour Organization (ILO) established in 1919. The very first article declares:

(a) labour is not a commodity;

The Declaration came at an important historical juncture, marking the beginning of the end of colonialism for many countries struggling for independence. In many newly independent countries the remnants of colonialism would continue in language, education, law, borders, land ownership, as well as structures of governance. Colonial practices would also continue in various forms of racism, discrimination, slavery, and bonded labour, as well as grand corruption. (1)

One of the practices that would also continue to flourish is the system of piece-rate wages and quotas, designed to compel workers to work harder to produce more. Understood in modern industry as a system of rewards and incentives – and in the current gig economy and tech world as opportunity and self-employed privilege – the piece-rate wage system is rooted in labour discipline. It is designed to compel workers; to extract more from workers.

The effectiveness of this system is that it appears as though workers are working harder to extract more from themselves. So the thinking goes, workers are pushing themselves to meet targets and quotas, producing more and more pieces of whatever the piece-rate wages are designed to produce. The compulsion to do this is justified by employers as nurturing the inherent competitiveness of humans, often misusing Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” to justify this. (2)

For hundreds of millions of workers this compulsion – this relentless pressure – has not changed. The pressure exerted by piece-rate wages and quotas stems not from an internal desire to compete, but merely to survive. This occurs because workers and their families are denied both a guaranteed living wage and the social protection needed to ensure access to decent health, education, housing and food & nutrition, and a better quality of life. As we have explained elsewhere, piece-rate wages and quotas are a key driver of child labour.

The pressure created by piece-rate wages and quotas has a devastating impact on workers’ health.

Under the pressure of piece-rates, quotas or targets, workers work beyond their physical limitations. Excessive workloads and long working hours without rest or food are as common to plantation and farm workers and meat industry workers as it is to workers in luxury hotels and fast food chains around the world. Quotas, targets and piece-rates drive workers to work longer than they physically should. Their brains and nervous system tell them to stop working and rest. Their body sends repeated signals (i.e. pain). Quotas tell them to ignore all this and keep going. (3)

The time needed to meet quotas or earn enough wages through piece-rates becomes critical. It is so critical that workers must forgo rest breaks, meal breaks and toilet breaks, and push themselves beyond their physical limits. Indeed, in an effort not to lose time and reach their targets, workers are compelled to abandon occupational health and safety measures, increasing the risk to their health and to their lives. When under pressure from piece-rates or quotas, workers cannot stop to put on personal protective equipment or carefully follow safety instructions because they are losing income at that point. The greater the need for that income, the greater the risk.

Employers ignore the effects of piece-rates and quotas and instead blame workers for working unsafely. Instead of guaranteeing living wages through collective bargaining and redesigning workloads to be done safely in eight hours, employers introduce all sorts of training … and all sorts of punishment. It is a deeply disturbing irony that even the biggest companies in the world compel workers to shortcut health and safety under the pressure of piece-rates and quotas then introduce complex systems of punishment for these shortcuts.

There can be no doubt that as climate change leads to rising temperatures, there will be greater risk of heat stress or heat exhaustion and hyperthermia (4). If workers cannot stop for rest breaks to drink water, seek shade and rest now, then imagine what it will be like in the next two decades. In these conditions, the pressure of piece-rates and quotas will kill many more workers.

Ultimately it’s about fear. Fear of not earning enough or fear of losing their jobs is what compels most workers who are dependent on piece-rate wages and quotas. There is also fear of being blamed, of “letting the team down”, which generates significant mental stress. In fact, for many young workers I’ve met, fear of being blamed for not working hard enough or letting the team down outweighs their fear of losing their job. Yet for many employers it seems that this fear is the lynchpin of their modern employment practices.

Seventy-seven years after the Philadelphia Declaration, we should question why we are not making enough progress. Labour is very much a commodity and one of the factors that sustains this is the pressure of the piece-rate wage system, quotas and targets. This is pressure that relies on fear and the absence of a living wage and social protection.

Overcoming this fear and the absence of a living wage and social protection may in fact depend on the second principle declared in the Declaration of Philadelphia on 10 May 1944:

(b) freedom of expression and of association are essential to sustained progress;

It’s time to start making progress.

Dr Muhammad Hidayat Greenfield, IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Secretary

Hotel housekeeping workers in the Philippines protest “room quota kills!” on International Workers Memorial Day, 28 April 2018

Notes

  1. Grand corruption is corruption at the highest levels of government and/or corruption among holders of public office that undermines the fundamental rights of a people or a particular social group. See for example Transparency International’s legal definition of grand corruption.
  2. The concept of survival of the fittest refers to a biological concept of reproduction in a particular natural environment. “Fitness” refers to the rate of reproductive output among a specific class of genetic variants. So Darwin was referring to how some living organisms are better designed for an immediate, local environment than others and how they adapt. It has nothing to do with competition or competing. As it is used today, survival of the fittest is simply an excuse for the unfair or inhumane treatment of others, justifying why they are left behind. Obviously biologists have moved on since 1869 and scientific thinking has fundamentally changed. Corporate thinking hasn’t.
  3. It remains a common practice for employers in several industries to provide or encourage various kinds of “pain killers” for workers. This also dates back to colonial times when opiates were used widely as part of the work regime. It often formed payment in kind and addiction to opiates led to debt and bondage. The use of pain killers today is widespread in the poultry processing and seafood processing industries, for example, where in-house doctors or nurses are only permitted to prescribe or provide pain killers and must advise workers to keep working. Pain killers of course only kill the signals the body is sending us to stop and rest. The compulsion to keep working of course comes from the piece-rate and quota system itself.
  4. Hyperthermia refers to dangerously high body temperatures that threaten our health.

 

Coca-Cola Philippines workers ask: “Hey Coke, are We Essential Or Worthless?”

Coca-Cola Philippines workers ask: “Hey Coke, are We Essential Or Worthless?”

After 17 months of being compelled to work as essential industry workers, Coca-Cola workers in the Philippines are apparently now worthless. Management in the Philippines is refusing union demands for fair wage increases despite members working hard as essential workers throughout the pandemic.

The value of workers’ lives is also in doubt as Coca-Cola Philippines refuses to reinstate three trade union leaders – Alfredo Marañon, Belarmino Tulabut, and Danilo Pineda – who were unfairly terminated 17 months ago for responding to workers’ concerns about workplace safety.

As FCCU-SENTRO-IUF members across the Philippines launch mass protests and prepare for strike action, they are calling on Coca-Cola to recognize their efforts as essential workers by engaging in good faith wage bargaining that provides fair wage increases. To bring attention to their protest Coca-Cola workers are wearing face masks that read: “Hey Coke are we essential or not?”