Five developed countries with no legal minimum wage requirements are Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. China is known for its low wages and labor laws that prohibit independent unions and limit the right to strike. While work on the Chinese operations of IBM, Pepsico, Nike, Adidas and Walmart has been idle because of this year's labor protests, some experts say communist leaders are only enduring strikes in the hope of rebalancing a slowing economy. Working conditions continue to be dire in many industries, with an average of 200 workers killed on the job EVERY DAY.
Up to 6 million workers across the country suffer from respiratory diseases, often caused by exposure to dust, which accumulates in the lungs. Workers in this Eastern European country face discrimination, forced labor and crackdown on protests. Hunger Striking Workers Jailed for Protesting Wrongful Dismissal Continues. This follows labor laws introduced by President Lukashenko that prohibit agricultural and forestry workers from leaving their jobs at will, which the president himself compares to servitude.
China is in the top ten for widespread cases of abuse, workers employed in precarious jobs and lack of due process in the country. Strikes and pickets are illegal and workers who participate in any of them face threats and harassment from both employers and. There is also widespread discrimination and the possibility of being arrested for raising your voice. Colombia is the world capital of trade unionist murders, with 22 dead in the last 12 months alone.
The figure would have been higher if it had succeeded in two assassination attempts on would-be motorcycle killers who shot notable union leaders. Colombian workers also suffer discrimination and their collective bargaining is undermined. Egypt can be a difficult place for workers with its cases of police brutality, mass arrests, kidnappings and assassination attempts. In June of last year, 500 workers at a national steel company protested an unpaid premium that had been promised to them with a two-hour strike.
The company retaliated by calling the police and suspending 16 workers, many of whom were trade unionists. The media recently reported that Egypt has criminalized the strike and will penalize striking workers by forcing them to retire. Even in the developing world, the most affluent countries are more likely than the poorest to comply with ILO labour standards. Washington can help U.S.
consumers increase pressure on offending countries by requiring sellers to label products with country of origin. If each country must observe a common set of minimum standards, member countries can offer and enforce worker protections at a near-optimal level. It could also encourage or require vendors to identify goods and services produced in countries that fully comply with ILO core labor standards. Labor advocates favor strengthening enforcement by expanding the role of the World Trade Organization or using bilateral trade agreements.
As a final option to enforce labor standards, U.S. consumers can apply their own private sanctions. While the international community broadly agrees on the need to respect labor standards, the agreement does not extend to what those standards should be. Nor is the United States likely to weaken its own child labor laws because it has benefited from the availability of cheaper imported clothing.
Of course, children in poor countries also deserve protection and education, but the level of protection and resources available for education will be far below those of a rich country. Citizens of developing countries may be less confident that their laws and enforcement procedures will meet the tests implicit in ILO conventions, especially as interpreted by observers from rich countries. The argument for enforcing labor standards is strongest when it involves basic human rights, such as freedom of association or freedom from slavery, and when it is based on moral grounds rather than economic calculations. If the WTO is to be used to assess sanctions against countries that violate international labor standards, its member countries must devise a new way of assigning sanctions for violations.
Many businesses have closed down and workers have fled to neighboring countries in search of something, anything, better. Including labor standards in trade agreements can encourage countries in a free trade area to maintain worker protection rather than abandon them in a race to the bottom. . .
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