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Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March
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Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within The ASEAN Region - Livelihood In the Age of Neo Liberalism - Charles Hector, 2012 March

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This paper, Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within the ASEAN region: …

This paper, Labour Flows and Economic Fault Lines Within the ASEAN region:
Livelihood in the Age of Neo-Liberalism by Charles Hector, was presented at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (SAC) Anthropology Conference entitled Envisioning the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community: Culture, Conflict and Hope held at the SAC from 28th - 30th March 2012.Bangkok, Thailand

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  • 1. LABOUR FLOWS ANDECONOMIC FAULT LINES WITHIN THE ASEAN REGION:LIVELIHOOD IN THE AGE OF NEO-LIBERALISM - CHARLES HECTOR
  • 2. ‘…Neo-liberalism - an ideology and a political philosophy with its own values of public responsibility. It had a very precise view of what economic systems should be and what kind of supporting financial system should underpin it. The distinguishing feature was the privatization of utilities essential for public good general welfare, such as water, power, public transport, health and other services, irrespective of services whether they were efficient or not whilst under the control of the State...’ Neo-liberalism encouraged low taxation, mobility of labour to keep wages low, unrestrained mobility of finance, and the rise of the stock/commodity/share/currency markets as a means of financialization which also became the indicator of economic welfare that is used by States.
  • 3. well being of individual persons LOW priorityWith the advent of neo- liberalization, traditional indicators like the general well being of persons and their families took a second place to the general wellbeing of the state, or is it not really businesses? Matters like equitable distribution of wealth and opportunities amongst individual persons and their families, or access to basic amenities and rights took second place.
  • 4. The Human ResourcesMinistrys study of 1.3 millionMalaysian workers has foundthat a shocking 34 percent earnbelow the poverty line of RM720monthly. -Malaysiakini, 5/8/2010, Study: 34% of workers earning below
  • 5. Labour flow? – WHY NOT Human labour movement? So much easier to talk about LABOUR as commodity – ignoring the fact that we are really talking about the human worker and their families/dependents
  • 6. MIGRATION AND LABOUR FLOWS ALWAYS EXISTED – NOT A NEW PHENOMENON AT ALL * Moving from rural to urban centres, within countries and across borders in search of a better life• Migrants even now form the majority & rule – US, Australia, New Zealand,…• ASEAN - many of its people are descendants of migrants• Malaysia – In peninsular, only remain couple of hundred thousand of indigenous people, 55% of Malays, and the remaining are descendants of migrants from China, India, Sri Lanka,
  • 7. MIGRATION AND LABOUR FLOWS ALWAYS EXISTED – NOT A NEW PHENOMENON AT ALL * Moving from rural to urban centres, within countries and across borders in search of a better life• Migrants even now form the majority & rule – US, Australia, New Zealand,…• ASEAN - many of its people are descendants of migrants• Malaysia – In peninsular, only remain couple of hundred thousand of indigenous people, 55% of Malays, and the remaining are descendants of migrants from China, India, Sri Lanka,
  • 8. DIFFERENT ATTITUDE TOWARDS MIGRATION – PROFITS?But today nation States seems to be adopting a different attitude towards migration of people, wanting not just to control this movement but to also profit from this movement.The control today seems to be motivated by reasons of income generation or profit making by both countries of origin and host countries.various kinds of fees, levies, compulsory medical testing, insurances – including medical insurances, remittance fees….
  • 9. WHY?Old sources of income and benefits – erased by WTO, Free Trade Agreements….free marketNO more import/export duties, trade barriers, conditions of ‘transfer of technology’ … ‘need to use percentage of local products’ – quotas for locals in management/supervisory positions…NEW sources of income ---- and the answer was Human Labour Migration…
  • 10. LEVYMalaysian government makes about RM2 billion per year from levy. Employers of migrant workers are required to pay an annual levy for each worker whereby the rates depend on the sector employed in – manufacturing(RM1,200), construction(RM1,200), plantation (RM540), agriculture (RM360), domestic help (RM360), services – welfare homes (RM600), services – island resorts (RM1,200), services –others (RM1,800). – Migrants in Malaysia – An Overview by Charles Hector, part 1 was published in Praxis, the Chronicle of the Malaysian Bar, Jan-March 2012, and the 2nd and last part to be published in the upcoming issue.
  • 11. Income from Insurance & compulsory medical check-upsIn Malaysia, employers need to buy insurance from certain companies under The Workmens Compensation (Foreign Workers Compensation Scheme) (Insurance) Order 1998, and now we have that new Foreign Workers Hospitalization and Surgical Insurance Scheme (RM120 per year), and in some sectors, it is the workers that have to pay for this new Insurance – not the employers.Just the new insurance scheme – RM120 X 2 million migrant workers
  • 12. Remittance income “…Remittance flows are the second largest source of external funding for developing countries, and in Malaysian more and more companies are getting into this business, and now there are 62 and all over the country there are about 1,800 places where one can transfer money. The estimated total remittance was RM36.5bil in 2009 and recorded a further 12% increase in the first three quarters of 2010
  • 13. And to ensure continued profitsStill woo as many MNCs to set up factories, businesses - with promises of cheap problem-free labour - and today with the added promise of ‘no employer obligations’No local workers – no problem we will get you migrant workers , who are more easily managed with even lesser chances of creating problems…* There are also other factors for trying to get MNCs in…
  • 14. BEST if we can just use LABOUR without all the other obligations that come with an employment relationship…. Like the obligation to look after the welfare of the worker, ensure that worker rights are protected….permanent employment until retirement, domestic inquiry & right to be heard when we want to fire workers, trade union & collective agreements, Last In First Out(LIFO) policy when it comes to retrenchment…..
  • 15. Permanent to Short-Term EmploymentPermanent Employees Short-Term ContractsWage increments, annual Easier termination, leave/medical leave Avoid wage/annual entitlement increases, leave/sick leave maternity leave & increments, Avoid benefits, maternity leave, Lay-Off termination/lay-off Benefits, etc benefits, termination More compliant less difficult – domestic demanding worker – inquiry, right to be worried about ‘contract heard…., unions & renewal’ – hence also no collective agreements union problems..
  • 16. Local Workers –vs- Migrant WorkersLocal workers Migrant WorkersMore demanding of Easily ‘controlled’ – rights and benefits easily cheatedWill leave if dissatisfied No choice about with employment leaving as can only work for 1 employer - condition bondedCan utilize and pursue Rights in law – but NO claims in Labour Court, effective access to etc avenues of justice
  • 17. No employment relationship – no employer’s obligationsEmployee Not EmployeeCan come together as No right to make claim UNION and make for better wages, working conditions, benefits demands – for better Can be gotten rid off rights, wages, etc easily by just picking upCannot be gotten rid the phone & asking off easily – due process supplier to take worker away Obligation to ensure No worries about worker rights and welfare of rights or welfare – just worker use them
  • 18. End result…Factories/Workplaces get the required labour – with NO obligations with regard to worker rights and entitlements, and certainly NO RISK of Unions or strike or having to sit down and work out Collective AgreementsOwn employee numbers can slowly be reduced – and thus their UNION’s powers of negotiation… bargaining powers erodes away.. Threat of even a strike – no need to worry as we have the ‘outsourced workers’ who could ensure business continues as usual…PROFITS without responsibilities to worker rights and welfare – IDEAL for MNCs and businesses…
  • 19. Profits without risksWorkers work for the factory, factory pays RM50 to the ‘outsourcing agent’ for normal hours of work for 1 worker, and agent pays worker RM20, making about RM30 per day per worker.1,000 such workers - RM30,000 per day, per month RM780,000-00, per year RM9.35 million.With 2 million migrant workers -RM1.9 billion
  • 20. UN, ILO, Multi-National Bodies(OECD), ASEANWhat can they really do even if they have their Standards, Declarations, Conventions, ….? NOTHING but make recommendations to governments and/or businesses to protect rights, … blah…blah – but there is NO way for them to compel – or even ensure justice is done to victimized workers…* Also the victims have no direct access – to make complaints or claim rights… so why should the oppressor MNC or governments worry?
  • 21. ASEAN – What Road Shall We Take?Follow the river of neo-liberalism OR go another direction?Continue to be governed by speculations and threats – or revert to traditional, cultural and religious values of the ASEAN people – where human dignity, rights, livelihood of individual persons and families is the most important priority of governments…Take back control from private companies what a government should be doing for the people – healthcare, education, basic amenities, employment security, social security, public transport, …

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