International Employment Relations Network List (iern-l) a miscellany of International Employment Relations News



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International Employment Relations Network List

(IERN-L)

A Miscellany of International Employment Relations News

Miscellany 8, 2012

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Access to ADAPT International Bulletin at:
http://www.adaptbulletin.eu/index.php/component/content/article?id=46

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Contents

Main Stories

Asean chief says Thailand must change: Myanmar reform puts new priority on skills

Australia: NSW government launches second wave of industrial reform

Europe: ILO study says workplace inequality in Europe has increased significantly since start of financial crisis

Korea: Choeun System Security Guards Strike G4S

New Zealand: Lockout of Meat Workers Unfair and Unnecessary

Nigeria: Labour: Blame Govt for Expatriate Quota Abuse

South Africa: NUM, COSATU and Implats agree on reinstatement

Spain: Spanish protest against spending cuts and changes to labour rights

UK: Work experience scheme under fire as Tesco makes U-turn

UK/Scotland: Unpaid work schemes come under fire

UK: Unite anger over no “fair pay” for RBS staff, bonuses for top bankers

USA: Wisconsin Workers Sticking with the Union

 

In Brief



Algeria: 40 Contract Teachers Arrested

Australia: Victorian nurses risk the courts by defying stop order

Belarus: Climate for Workers’ Rights is Worsening

China: At least 13 people killed in explosion at steel plant

Colombia: Historic vote in Colombia as Carrefour workers elect union reps

Germany: Global unions push German government on labour rights

Nigeria: Doctors call off 13-month old strike in Anambra

Nigeria: Striking Borno LG workers get minimum wage

Singapore: Further Moderating Demand for Foreign Manpower

UK: Doctors in industrial action ballot over pensions

UK: Burger King withdraws from work experience scheme

USA: German Delegation Ends T-Mobile Tour Stunned by U.S. Anti-Unionism

USA: Ky. College Student Brings Labor Education to Campus

USA: USW and Cooper Tire Dispute

Publications


The TUC Workplace Manual

26th AIRAANZ Conference 2012

Tripartite Advisory on Best Sourcing Practices & Employers Guidebook

Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today

Employment Relations 2e

Work and Employment Relations: An Era of Change

International and Comparative Employment Relations: Globalisation and Change

World of Work Report 2011

White Paper on Pensions

Calls for Papers

Human Resource Management Journal (US)

Study Group (Public Sector) at ILERA Congress

Study Group (Flexible Work Patterns), at ILERA Congress

Study Group #9 (Pay Systems), at ILERA Congress

Transnational industrial relations, at Greenwich University

27th AIRAANZ Conference

The Korean Journal of Industrial Relations


Conferences , Seminars, Symposia

UK: London BUIRA Seminar

Australia: Symposium on labour disputes in Asia



UK: Critical Labour Studies Symposium

UK: Transnational Industrial relations

Ireland: IFSAM Conference

UK: BUIRA Conference

USA: ILERA World Congress



Australia: Community, Work and Family Conference

Australia: AIRAANZ Conference
Other Sites

Working Lives Research Institute

The International Institute for Labour Studies (IILS)

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Main Stories

Asean chief says Thailand must change: Myanmar reform puts new priority on skills

ER/ASEAN/Thailand/Myanmar/Labour Markets/Skills Development

Source: ATUC, 25 February 2012. Web/URL: http://aseantuc.org

The enthusiasm of Myanmar’s leadership for their migrants to return and work for the country’s development should be a wake-up call for Thailand, Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan has warned.

He said Thai policy-makers should pay heed to the change next door and shift from a labour-intensive economy to one with higher skills.

The Asean chief expressed optimism about the “new real change” in Myanmar after a three-day visit to the country early this week with Asean and dialogue partner representatives.

“Both the president and [Nobel Peace laureate and opposition leader] Aung San Suu Kyi were upbeat that perhaps within 10 years Myanmar will be better off and be the most advanced and prosperous member of Asean,” Mr Surin said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand yesterday.

He said both the government and opposition leaders were welcoming back migrant workers as several industrial zones and development projects were being planned.

“Now it is Thailand who will certainly face a problem in replacing some two million workers who will be returning home,” he said.

Mr Surin also told the Bangkok Post that Myanmar people have been migrating to Thailand and other neighbouring countries because there were few jobs or only insecure ones at home. But if positive developments do take place there, they would soon go back.

“This should remind Thai authorities of the need to shift from an unskilled economy to a knowledge-based or skilled economy over the long run,” he said.

While the need to improve the migrant registration system is still there to ensure basic human rights are respected, Thailand has to look at medium- and long-term strategies as Myanmar is moving in a labour-intensive direction, Mr Surin said.

He told the media and diplomatic audience that President Thein Sein and his parliament were confident about their future path.

“They want to go about the roadmap within their comfort level. They realise that 2014 [when Myanmar takes its turn as Asean chair] will offer both challenges and opportunities. They have to be prepared for hardware developments for road, telecom, internet, hotel, banking and financial system upgrades,” Mr Surin said.

But like other former authoritarian states that are opening up, the pace and depth of internal reform will be controlled by Myanmar’s leadership. At times observers have doubted if Myanmar’s leaders would be faithful to their promises, he conceded.

“I sense that the commitment is very strong. The confidence is there, including from the Lady, given that she is running herself in the April by-election,” said Mr Surin, referring to Mrs Suu Kyi.

He sought to dispel the pessimistic notion that national reconciliation might fail.

“This time I sense that there are two levels of national reconciliation going on – at national and regional levels. And I was told by Myanmar advisers that in the next couple of weeks there should be some good progress on the nationalities issue,” he said.

Mr Surin concluded that the wind of change in Myanmar relies on five factors: Mrs Suu Kyi’s role in the body politic, a resolution on political prisoners, peace and reconciliation with ethnic groups, security within the political space that has been opening up for the people, and a guarantee of freedom and safety for Mrs Suu Kyi.

“An alliance for reform is there. Dynamism is there. So we should give Myanmar a chance,” said Mr Surin. –http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/281469/asean-chief-says-thailand-must-change

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Australia: NSW government launches second wave of industrial reform

IR/Australia/New South Wales/

Source: The Australian, 24 February 2011. Web/URL: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/nsw-government-launches-second-wave-of-industrial-reform/story-e6frgczx-1226279996935

THE NSW [New South Wales] government yesterday launched a second wave of industrial reform, freeing up workers' rights to join unions of their choice, vastly increasing fines for breaches of industrial orders and making it easier to sack public servants who do not have regular jobs.

The move drew the wrath of the opposition and unions, who described it as another plan to introduce a surrogate form of Work Choices [the previous conservative, Commonwealth Liberal National Party government’s labour legislation replaced by the present Commonwealth Labour government’s Fair Work Act]* in the state.

It comes a day after the release of a report into public service administration by former [NSW] Treasury official Kerry Schott, who outlined changes she said were required to fix systemic problems.

The [NSW] government has already fought battles with unions over a campaign to rein in a splurge in public sector salaries during 12 years of Labor administration, requiring pay rises above 2.5 per cent to be granted only through already proven improvements in productivity.

Premier Barry O'Farrell said yesterday he was "determined to . . . to give the state's industrial relations laws more teeth".

He announced changes to the [state’s] Industrial Relations Act to allow employees a choice of which union they join, raising the prospect of a new fight for membership among competing unions.

For example, junior doctors have no choice but to be members of the Health Services Union. Following corruption allegations at the HSU last year, the Australian Medical Association called for the law to be changed to allow them the option of shifting to the AMA.

The government will increase penalties for contravening dispute orders made by the [state’s] Industrial Relations Commission. Penalties will be increased from $10,000 for the first day of a first offence to $110,000. The government will also close a loophole to ensure it can get rid of public servants on the "unattached list", which Mr O'Farrell said would "make it easier to shed excess employees when they no longer have a permanent job".

Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon claimed the measures showed the [New South Wales] government "clearly believes unions have no right to exist". "The community has already resolved this issue _ it was called the Your Rights at Work campaign. The Premier and his ministers ought to learn from that experience."

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*The moderator gas placed in brackets additional material to help subscribers who are not familiar with Australian institutions.

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Europe: ILO study says workplace inequality in Europe has increased significantly since start of financial crisis

ER/Europe/workplace inequalities

Source: ILO, 23 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/press-and-media-centre/news/WCMS_173616/lang--en/index.htm

GENEVA (ILO News) – Workplace inequalities have increased significantly across Europe as a result of the global economic crisis and will continue to do so as more and more countries introduce austerity measures and labour reforms, according to a new study published by the International Labour Office (ILO).



Work Inequalities in the Crisis: Evidence from Europe analyses how working conditions, wages and incomes, employment and gender equality, among other workplace issues, have been deteriorating across the continent since the start of the crisis. It includes data from 30 countries and 14 national studies by leading European specialists.

For example, the study looks at how countries that have relied on external flexibility adjustments, such as Spain, have experienced severe difficulties on the employment front. More importantly, it sheds light on one aspect of the crisis that has been poorly documented so far: its microeconomic effects at enterprise level on different worker categories and the areas of work that directly matter to them.

The volume also shows that wage differentials between the top and the bottom earners increased in countries like Bulgaria, Hungary and the United Kingdom.

“The central message of this volume can be summarized in simple terms: not only did work inequalities contribute to generating the economic crisis, but these inequalities have even become worse as a result of it”, says Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead, the ILO’s Special adviser, responsible for wages policies, professor at Sciences Po in Paris and editor of the book.“Our general economic system will thus continue to be at risk until we properly address this critical issue.”

Other key findings include:


  • Workers on temporary contracts were massively affected by job cuts and used as “a sort of employment buffer”, as shows the example of Spain where 90 per cent of employment losses affected temporary workers.

  • Young people are experiencing unemployment rates nearly double those among older workers in the majority of European countries, with strong sharp increases in the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, as well as in Ireland, Spain and Greece.

  • Low-skilled workers have been especially hard hit in the crisis as manufacturing companies started to lay off part of their staff.

  • Despite male workers being initially more affected by the crisis than women (6 per cent more in the three Baltic states, Ireland and Spain), discriminatory practices against female workers have worsened over the past years.

  • Women employed in male-dominated sectors were the first to be dismissed or experienced higher wage cuts than men.

The book cites a number of “best policy practices” implemented by governments to address the impact of the crisis. These include the “German miracle” of low unemployment adjustments in the crisis, which was also achieved thanks to the expanded short-time working schemes; Sweden, which set up specific measures to help young people to keep their jobs or engage in training; and Italy, where the “Cassa Integrazione” system helped limit immediate unemployment effects from the crisis. The volume also underlines that industrial policies aimed at supporting sectors in difficulty, such as construction and automobiles – and supported by public expenditure – proved to be efficient.

The authors also cite the significant role played by social dialogue in negotiating alternatives to layoffs generally through wage and/or working time reductions, as in Germany and France. In countries with limited wage bargaining such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, both employment and wage cuts were immediate and substantial.

The book also shows that countries that relied on temporary contracts, such as Spain, experienced severe difficulties on the employment front: “Massive reliance on temporary contracts for nearly 20 years has left the country vulnerable and employment has plunged in response to the economic slowdown.” Compared to 2009, in 2011 the risk of poverty had increased by 2 percentage points in Spain, reaching 21.8 per cent.

New labour market reforms decided for 2012 to boost competitiveness, for instance the minimum wage freeze and cuts in social protection in Spain, the decision to multiply short time schemes in France, and further wage moderation and low pay sector increase in many countries may directly increase inequalities, according to the publication. A greater number of people will also become more vulnerable to future crises, it adds.

In the longer term, the study warns that the crisis may also halt progress made in Europe towards better quality jobs and working conditions. For instance, it says reductions in spending on training at the enterprise level combined with reduced training programmes financed by the state will have a negative effect in the long term.

“This should motivate all policymakers and economic actors – even in a period of fiscal consolidation – to place the fight against inequalities at the core of their policy agenda and develop a full set of policies addressing those inequalities in the world of work”, concludes Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead.

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Korea: Choeun System Security Guards Strike G4S

IR/Korea/MNC/Unionism/Industrial Action

Source; UNI, 27 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/uni.nsf/pages/homepageEn?Opendocument&exURL=http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/UNINews.nsf/vwLkpByIdHome/7C3183B9AA92A800C12579B100560A65?OpenDocument

On January 27, 2012 negotiations between Choeun System Union, affiliated with the Korea Federation of Foreign Organization Employees’ Union (FFOEU), and G4S [Head Office in London] broke down and a strike began in the Seoul and Mapo Districts of Korea. The issues dividing the parties are significant.


According to Choeun System Union, G4S asked security guards to work 176 hours a month and with a workforce of 770 employees. The union submits, however, that G4S will require security guards to work 240 hours per month, plus additional overtime hours beyond that, to meet the employer’s demands. This staffing level means that G4S will fire at least 150 employees to meet their bidding standard of 2 shifts for 3 teams.
Effective February 27, the current replacement workforce, provided by US soldiers, will be replaced with G4S security guards. This will result in up to 300 employees being brought back to work or as new hires. G4S has been advertising both within and outside the current workforce. 600-700 workers are on strike, which means most will be without jobs for at least some time and probably permanently for many. G4S rejected employment succession, a key demand of the union.
In addition to hours of work, staffing levels and job security, other key issues in this dispute include: wage dumping (G4S proposed to reduce wages from W270,000 to W450,000 per month) and inadequate or inappropriate safety equipment (bomb-resistant jackets, guns and gun-fire).
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New Zealand: Lockout of Meat Workers Unfair and Unnecessary

IR/New Zealand/Meat Workers/ Lockout

Source: NZCTU, Accessed 28 February 2012. Web/URL: http://union.org.nz/news/2012/lockout-meat-workers-unfair-and-unnecessary

“AFFCO meat company  has given notice of an indefinite lockout of meat workers at five of its meat plants across New Zealand to try to starve its workers into accepting major changes to its collective employment agreement giving the company total flexibility in its terms of employment,” Meat Workers Union Secretary Dave Eastlake announced today.


 “Our members will be shocked that this company, now wholly owned by the Talley family, has taken such a cruel and unnecessary step in order to get exactly what it wants in their employment agreement.”
 “The lockout demands of the company are very similar to those being demanded of the workers at the Port of Auckland and reflect a new determination by some employers to screw down working conditions to the absolute bottom in this country – the low road of employment relations,” said Dave Eastlake.
 “The Meat workers will be holding meetings of its members this week to discuss this lockout and are calling on the Talley family to withdraw the notice and return to the bargaining table where this dispute should be resolved.”

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Nigeria: Labour: Blame Govt for Expatriate Quota Abuse

ER/Nigeria/ TUC/Foreign Workers

Source: This Day Live, 28 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.thisdayonline.com/

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has blamed the Federal Government for the expatriate quota abuse in the country stating that inability of government to enforce its laws has led to abuses of the expatriate quota.

President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele, lamented that the expatriate quota abuse has contributed majorly to lack of capacity development of Nigerian workers particularly in the oil and gas sector.

He explained that the local content bill being considered by government to encourage indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry cannot adequately address the problem of expatriate quota abuse in the country.

Speaking further, Esele said there was nothing much labour can do to stem the abuse stating that it was the responsibility of government to implement its laws on expatriate quota.

According to him, there is a major, disconnect between immigration service which is responsibility for checking expatriate quota abuse in the country and other sectors of the economy.

“The biggest problem we have that has to do with expatriate quota abuse is government. We have laws but they are not enforced. There is nothing much labour can do because it is not labour that will go and enforce these laws. The expatriate quota abuses stem from government inability to enforce its laws.

“The issue of expatriate quota is what we are looking at in the local content bill. The fact is that the local content bill is vague on it, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is also vague on it. How can government say we have local content bill without capacity development. How will that work?

“Expatriate quota regulation has always been there, in the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), every expatriate is supposed to have an understudy after two to four years, the expatriate leaves and the Nigerian takes over but the problem we always have is that DPR who is supposed to regulate the oil and gas have not been up to the task so these laws and rules are violated”, Esele stated.

Speaking further Esele explained that expatriate quota abuse is not limited to the oil and gas industry stating that the food, tobacco and beverages industry is another sector where the quota is being abused.

“When we also look at the food, tobacco and beverages sector where you have lots of expatriates, the immigration is also one of our biggest problem there. For instance, a company comes and ask you to give them an expatriate quota of about 50, what are they doing with them? The immigration which is not vast in some of these laws will also grant these approvals without asking questions.

“If the right thing is done we will not have these problems. Also, we do not have inter-agency synergy in the country. Ordinarily, if someone is coming from the oil and gas, we would expect that immigration would discuss with the DPR which is responsible for the jobs there are doing. In the manufacturing sector, there are ministries where you can also make enquires, but these things are not just there.

“One thing we should realise is that for every time that the immigration is allowing expatriates into the country, there are just denying their Nigerian brothers of their jobs, and this is what they do so well in the west, when they discover you are an illegal immigrant, they get rid of you.

“What I expect Nigerian immigration agencies to do is to reach out to various agencies that are skilled in all of these areas to assist them and by that way we can at least reduce or minimise the expatriate quotas in the country,” Esele added.

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South Africa: NUM, COSATU and Implats agree on reinstatement

IR/South Africa/NUM and COSATU Mediation /Illegal Strike

Source: COSATU, 25 February, 2012. Web/URL: http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=5875

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) met with Implats last night in a bid to end the five week long illegal strike in Rustenburg. The parties agreed that Implats will reinstate the workers on old terms and conditions of service which were prevalent prior to the strike and that no work no pay rule will apply for all the days of the strike action.

All workers who have not re-applied for their jobs as requested before will be given the last chance to do so by Wednesday, 29 February 2012 at 15H00. Workers are encouraged to re-apply as early as possible beginning on Monday.

Those who re-applied before and were rejected on the basis of their record are also encouraged to come forward and re-apply.

The National Union of Mineworkers welcomes Implats`s commitment to rehire the workers on their old terms and conditions of service and calls upon those workers who have not yet reported for duty to use the opportunity and do so.

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Spain: Spanish protest against spending cuts and changes to labour rights

IR/ER/Spain/Austerity/Labour rights

Source: The Guardian, 19 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/19/spanish-protest-spending-cuts-labour?INTCMP=SRCH

Spain's conservative government faced its first mass protests on Sunday as hundreds of thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against austerity, spending cuts and radical changes to labour rights....

Unions claimed more than half a million people demonstrated across the country.

The protests came two weeks after Rajoy, who became prime minister in December, introduced a labour decree making it easier for employers to fire workers and opening the door to wage cuts.

Rajoy's reforms are part of a programme designed to create jobs. Spain has the developed world's highest unemployment rate. But with the economy set to shrink this year by 1.7%, even the government admits the shocking 23% unemployment rate will rise in the short term....

Unions complained that labour reform would lead to a fresh surge in lay-offs. Rajoy himself has said he expects them to call a general strike soon.

"There has to be a general strike," said Alberto Carrillo, a teacher who protested in Madrid. "They've cut rights, but not said how they plan to create jobs."

"When we designed this reform we were thinking of the people who are out of work, who see no future," Rajoy told a party conference on Sunday....

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UK: Work experience scheme under fire as Tesco makes U-turn

IR/ER/UK/Unpaid work

Source: CIPD, 22 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/pm/articles/2012/02/work-experience-scheme-under-fire-as-tesco-makes-u-turn.htm?wa_src=email&wa_pub=cipd&wa_crt=news_3&wa_cmp=pmdaily_230212

The main government scheme to promote work experience is floundering after Tesco changed its policy on placements in response to claims of ‘forced labour’.



Last year there were 34,200 starts on the Get Britain Working work experience programme, which targets unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds and offers them unpaid placements ranging from two to eight weeks in length.
It is voluntary to sign up for the initiative, but jobseekers face losing their benefits if they drop out after a one-week ‘cooling off’ period – a condition that has provoked allegations that it is providing free labour to organisations.
Tesco – the country’s largest private sector employer - has come under particular fire for its involvement and has now changed its stance following a Twitter backlash and a protester invasion at one of its stores.
The retailer has suggested to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that “to avoid any misunderstanding about the voluntary nature of the scheme, the risk of losing benefits that currently exists should be removed”.
Furthermore, the supermarket has put in place its own alternative paid four-week work experience placement, with a guaranteed permanent job at the end of every “satisfactory” completion.
Other retailers have distanced themselves from the programme, with TK Maxx saying that it withdrew last October, and Sainsbury’s and Waterstones clarifying that they had never been signed on as formal partners. Matalan and Holland & Barrett are also reviewing thair particpation.
The compulsory element of the government scheme is also facing a legal challenge from geology graduate Cait Reilly, who argues that her placement at Poundland breached her human rights.
Legal experts have warned that the work experience system raises a number of employment issues, as the legal status of participants is unclear.
Candidates might not necessarily be classed as volunteers because of the threat of Jobseeker’s Allowance removal, said Caroline Essex, an employment specialist at law firm Davenport Lyons.
“The distinction between being a volunteer and undertaking real work is fundamental,” she continued. “Those classified as ‘volunteers’ may be protected from discrimination in the workplace only, whereas those classified as ‘workers’ may also be entitled to additional employment rights, such as protection for whistle blowing and statutory rest breaks and time off.”
The National Council of Work Experience (NCWE) has suggested that even mandatory placements could provide unrealised opportunities to jobseekers, but cautioned that lengthy assignments may start to constitute proper work.
“Well structured work experience programmes enable people to test out new job ideas or to learn new skills... on balance, people can get helpful and positive things out of it,” said Jane Artess, director of research at the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, which runs NCWE.
“But once somebody is contributing economically to a definable role then that constitutes a job, and really they should be paid,” she added.
Employment minister Chris Grayling has been forced to defend the CV-boosting benefits of the unpaid government programme, and accused critics of being “job snobs” for questioning the value of placements at supermarket chains.
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UK /Scotland: Unpaid work schemes come under fire

IR/ER/UK/Scotland/Unpaid work

Source: The Herald, 20 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/unpaid-work-schemes-come-under-fire.16791955

The Government has refused requests to reveal which companies are involved in delivering controversial "workfare" policies in Scotland – despite having already published similar information in England.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has faced criticism for increasing use of Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) placements for job seekers, requiring those on benefits to take up voluntary work, unpaid work placements or lose their support.

The scheme sees job seekers referred on to intermediary companies who offer them the chance to work unpaid for up to eight weeks. Providers of the work placements have included major multinationals and large retail chains, but some firms have faced criticism for taking advantage of the programme.

Critics warned it could even depress the creation of "real" jobs. Tesco blamed an error last week for an advertisement for night shift work that listed pay as JSA [Jobseeker's Allowance] + expenses.

Meanwhile, firms such as TK Maxx, Sainsbury's and Waterstones, which have taken part, have pulled out. Matalan suspended its involvement on Saturday and Poundland, which faces a court case over the issue, is said to be reviewing its policy.

Housing charity Shelter Scotland said it had backed away from the programme last year.

The Herald has been requesting, through Freedom of Information, the names of companies involved in the provision of unpaid placements for job seekers since early last month.

The request was turned down last week by the DWP, which said providing it would compromise the "commercial interests of both the department and those delivering services".

The refusal said the DWP considered there was no public interest argument for releasing the information requested for what is known as the Scotland Contract Package Area (CPA). But these concerns only appear to apply in Scotland. The DWP has published the names of the companies which provide mandatory work placements in south-east England and north- west England CPAs.

In December, the DWP revealed that in areas of south-east England such as Kent, providers of unpaid work placements include Asda, Oxfam* and Pizza Hut.

Tom Greatrex, Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton, will today lodge questions in the House of Commons asking why similar information is being withheld in Scotland.

He will call again on the DWP to reveal which firms it is working with to deliver the Work Programme. Mr Greatrex said: "It is astounding that the DWP are refusing to release this information in relation to contracts in Scotland when the same information is available for England.

"As these are contracts funded through public money, people have a right to know which companies are involved."

A spokeswoman for the DWP denied the decision was inconsistent, adding: "Scotland is not being treated as a separate case. In line with the Freedom of Information process, we have been asked to review this decision and that is what we are currently doing."

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*The IERN-L moderator worked for a while in an Oxfam bookshop, so did Alan Fox, but for much longer and as its manager. ___________________________________________________________________________

UK: Unite anger over no “fair pay” for RBS staff, bonuses for top bankers

IR/UK/Banks/ Collective Bargaining/Unite

Source: UNI, 23 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/uni.nsf/pages/homepageEn?OpenDocument&exURL=http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/UniNews.nsf/vwLkpByIdHome/C6F922B6AB0E6154C12579AD00356971?OpenDocument

Talks have broken down following the failure of the [Royal Bank of Scotland] to make staff a decent pay offer. This comes on the day the bank tells the city it will pay investment bankers a total bonus pot of £390m.


If RBS split the massive bonus pot it is awarding its investment bankers between the 60,000 average bank workers, they would have a real opportunity to pay their household bills and change the life of their family. The bonus pot would give these low paid employees approximately £6,000, which amounts to simply loose change for a city slicker.
Unite has launched a national campaign amongst RBS staff to inform them that some 28,000 RBS workers will receive no pay rise. Unite is appalled that while RBS can afford to pay large bonuses to city bankers, it refuses to recognise the contribution of the vast majority of the staff.
Unite has written to staff at their home address urging them to make their opposition to the pay offer clear by voting in a pay questionnaire. Workers have expressed to the union that they simply cannot afford to pay their bills, travel to work and pay their mortgages, when their employer is in effect giving them a pay cut.
David Fleming, Unite national officer, said: “It beggars belief that this 84 per cent taxpayer backed institution is imposing a pay cut on its hard working frontline staff, while continuing to pay the city bankers ridiculously large bonuses.
“This hypocrisy will infuriate the workforce, who have [sic] continued to work under the hardest of conditions. Instead of walking away from pay talks RBS should be reconsidering its derisory pay offer. Unite is now asking its members whether they can accept the deal and are seeking members views on the proposal.
“How does RBS expect staff to accept its claims of poverty and this ludicrous pay offer, when there is clearly enough money flowing into the hands of its top bankers and traders

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USA: Wisconsin Workers Sticking with the Union

IR/USA/Wisconsin/Union recertification ballots

Source AFL-CIP, 23 February 2012. Web/URL:

 http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/02/23/wisconsin-workers-sticking-with-the-union/

Two groups of Wisconsin public employees showed Gov. Scott Walker (R) and his anti-worker allies that they are not  intimidated by Walker’s law eliminates most collective bargaining rights for public workers.

One the law’s provisions require workers to annually vote to recertify their union and last night workers—members of Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 95—at Community Care of Central Wisconsin (CCCW) and Portage County–overwhelmingly voted yes. Out of the 133 CCCW employees just 12 voted no as did just 4 of the 65 Portage County workers.

OPEIU President Michael Goodwin says the vote by nurses, social workers, computer programmers and other professionals “defeated Walker and his program [and] sets the stage statewide for workers to fight back and win.”

Local 95 President Jeff Jester says the union will

now take these votes of confidence from our members and use them to fight for restoration of collective bargaining rights for all public sector employees in Wisconsin.

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In Brief

Algeria: 40 Contract Teachers Arrested

IR/Algeria/ Trade Unions/ TU Rights

Source: ICTU, 27 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.ituc-csi.org/algeria-40-contract-teachers.html

Forty unionised contract teachers affiliated to the SNAPAP have been arrested in Algeria. The president and general secretary of the National Council of Contract Teachers have also been arrested. According to the reports received by the ITUC, the arrests were made on 26 February at 2.30 p.m. during a sit-in outside the presidential building. The trade unionists wanted to protest against a series of tough measures for teachers being taken by the National Education Minister.

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Australia: Victorian nurses risk the courts by defying stop order

IR/Australia/Victoria/Nurses/Illegal Strike

Source: The Australian, 25 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/industrial-relations/victorian-nurses-risk-the-courts-by-defying-stop-order/story-fn59noo3-1226281048710

VICTORIAN nurses last night vowed to ignore the industrial umpire and push ahead with rolling stoppages. The Australian Nursing Federation told members last night to flout a Fair Work Australia order to cease their campaign of industrial action, which threatens to cripple the health system.

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Belarus: Climate for Workers’ Rights is Worsening
IR/Belarus/ anti-unionism
Source: ITUC, 24 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.ituc-csi.org/belarus-climate-for-workers-rights.html
Some 600 workers from the RUPP “Granite” construction materials company in Brest left the official government-controlled union in protest at low wages and the lack of effective representation. They moved to set up their own independent trade union last December, and have since faced a wave of repression from the management and the authorities.

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China: At least 13 people killed in explosion at steel plant

ER/China/OH&S

Source: China Labour Bulletin, 21 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.clb.org.hk/en/node/101253

At least 13 people were killed and another 17 injured in an explosion at Angang Heavy Machinery, partly owned by the Anshan Iron and Steel Group, one of the three largest steel producers in China, the official Xinhua news agency reported today .

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Colombia: Historic vote in Colombia as Carrefour workers elect union reps

IR/Colombia/ Trade Unionism/Representation/Carrefour

Source: UNI, 27 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/uni.nsf/pages/homepageEn?Opendocument&exURL=http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/UNINews.nsf/vwLkpByIdHome/44B54598679D7DAFC12579B10075BC7C?OpenDocument

Thousands of newly unionised Carrefour workers in Colombia elected union representatives on Friday in an historic vote.

The elections, held in 57 stores across 20 cities, were the first in the country for Carrefour, which entered the Colombian market 15 years ago

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Germany: Global unions push German government on labour rights

IR/Germany/MNCs/Labour Standards

Source UNI, 23 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/uni.nsf/pages/homepageEn?Opendocument&exURL=http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/UNINews.nsf/vwLkpByIdHome/0C431C993D625229C12579AD0056E677?OpenDocument
Representatives from global union federations met with the Counsellor for Labour and Social Affairs at the Permanent Mission of the federal Republic of Germany in Geneva today about the labour practices of Deutsche Telekom and DHL internationally. They argued that ... Deutsche Telekom and DHL’s practices outside Germany do not measure up to international labour standards with documented violations of freedom of association, employment standards and health and safety. All parties highlighted the need for the German government, as a significant shareholder in both companies, to pressure the companies to respect international labour standards.
The International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Union (ICEM) also brought a letter regarding German company, Bericap’s, operations in Turkey.

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Guatemala: Murder Strikes Guatemalan Banana Workers Union Again

IR/Guatemala/anti-unionism/intimidation

Source: AFL-CIO, 23 February 2012. Web/URL: http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/02/23/murder-strikes-guatemalan-banana-workers-union-again/

Seven current or former members of the Guatemalan  banana workers’ union have been murdered since 2011. Most recently, Miguel Angel González Ramírez, a member of the Izabal banana workers’ union, was shot while he was holding his young son.



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Nigeria: Striking Borno LG workers get minimum wage

IR/Nigeria/Minimum Wage/Strike

Source: Daily Trust, 20 February 2012. Web/URL: http://dailytrust.com.ng/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=155033:striking-borno-lg-workers-get-minimum-wage&catid=16:labour-report&Itemid=14

The Borno State Government has directed the immediate implementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage to workers in the 27 Local Government Areas of the state. Alhaji Bakaka Garbai, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, told newsmen in Maiduguri on Saturday that Gov. Kashim Shettima had directed for the payment of the salary beginning from the end of Feb. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that local council workers in the state had been on strike since December 2011 for non implementation of the new wage. It took the intervention of the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Garbai, before the government agreed to pay the new minimum wage to the workers.

___________________________________________________________________________Nigeria: Doctors call off 13-month old strike in Anambra

IR/Nigeria/Professionals/Doctors/Strike

Source: Vanguard, 28 February 2012. Wev/URL: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/02/doctors-call-off-13-month-old-strike-in-anambra/

DOCTORS in the employ of Anambra State government yesterday called off their 13 months old strike. The action was suspended when it apparently became obvious [sic] that the state government was not ready to shift ground on the 60 percent salary increase it offered the doctors when the strike began last year.

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Singapore: Further Moderating Demand for Foreign Manpower

ER/Singapore/Labour Market/Foreign Workers

Source: Ministry of Manpower, 17 February 2012. Web/URL:

http://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/Pages/PressReleasesDetail.aspx?listid=409

As announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in his Budget 2012 speech, the Government will introduce further measures to moderate the increasing dependence on foreign manpower which has grown by 7.5% per annum over the last two years.

Specifically, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will reduce the Dependency Ratio Ceilings (DRCs) in the Manufacturing and Services sectors, as well as the S Pass sub-DRC in all sectors. The Construction sector, which employs more than one-third of all Work Permit holders, will also see further adjustments to moderate foreign manpower demand and raise productivity. These measures are directly targeted at companies that continue to rely heavily on foreign manpower.



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UK: Doctors in industrial action ballot over pensions

IR/UK/Professional Associations/Doctors/Industrial Action

Source: CIPD, 27 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/pm/articles/2012/02/doctors-in-industrial-action-ballot-over-pensions.htm?wa_src=email&wa_pub=cipd&wa_crt=news_1&wa_cmp=pmdaily_270212

The British Medical Association is to ballot doctors for industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years, in protest at the government’s reforms to public-sector pensions.


The union has ruled out strikes to ensure that patient care is not endangered, but will be asking its members whether they support action short of a strike.
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UK: Burger King withdraws from work experience scheme

But Boris Johnson calls critics of programme ‘loony left bellyachers’

ER/UK/ Work Experience/Burger King

Source: CIPD, 27 February 2012. Web/URL: http://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/pm/articles/2012/02/burger-king-withdraws-from-work-experience-scheme.htm?wa_src=email&wa_pub=cipd&wa_crt=news_2&wa_cmp=pmdaily_270212

Fast-food restaurant chain Burger King has become the latest employer to pull out of the government’s work experience programme, which has drawn criticism for exploiting jobless people.



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USA: German Delegation Ends T-Mobile Tour Stunned by U.S. Anti-Unionism

IR/USA/ German MNC/T-Mobile

Source: AFL-CIO, accessed 28 February 2012. Web/URL: http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/02/27/german-delegation

T-Mobile workers from this country and Deutsche Telekom workers from Germany have been engaged for many years in a global campaign to create a real voice at work for employees at T-Mobile call centers and retail outlets. Exchanges of personal stories and visits of worker delegations between the two countries have led to an even deeper sense of international solidarity.

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USA: Ky. College Student Brings Labor Education to Campus

IR/USA/University Labour Studies

Source: AFL-CIO, 26 February 2012. Web/URL: http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/02/26/ky-college-student-brings-labor-education-to-campus/

Devin Griggs wishes Murray State University had a labor studies program. “A lot of college kids don’t know much about unions,” said Griggs, a 20-year-old junior at Kentucky’s westernmost public university.

This son of a United Steelworkers (USW) member—Cliff Griggs is leading a campus campaign to educate students about unions.

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USA: USW and Cooper Tire Dispute

IR/USA/Collective Bargaining/ United Steelworkers (USW) and Cooper Tire

Source AFL-CIO, accessed 24 February 2012.

A tentative agreement has been reached between the United Steelworkers (USW) and Cooper Tire, where workers have been locked out since November. Several Cooper Tire workers are part of this week’s 1,000-mile Journey for Justice to highlight the corporate greed that marks the growing number of lockouts. A ratification vote is set for Monday.

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Publications

The TUC Workplace Manual

Order your copy from https://www.tuc.org.uk/publications/viewPub.cfm?frmPubID=641

‘It will be of use not only to stewards but also to anyone who represents, advises or supports members in the workplace, including learning, equality, green and health and safety representatives’.

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26th AIRAANZ Conference 2012: Re-Organising Work, Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand, published papers, ed. Robin Price, Brisbane, Queensland University of Technology.

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The updated Singapore’s Tripartite Advisory on Best Sourcing Practices & Employers Guidebook can be downloaded for free from the MOM website at http://www.mom.gov.sg/BestSourcing/

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Pocock, B., Skinner, N and Williams, P. (2012) Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today, NewSouth Books, may be ordered at http://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/isbn/9781742232959.htm

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Bray, M, Waring, Cooper, R. (2011) Employment Relations 2e, McGraw Hill, ISBN: 9780070287266, contact MHA_higher-education@mcgraw-hill.com

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Baird, M., Hancock, K. and Isaac, J. eds. (2012) Work and Employment Relations: An Era of Change, The Federation Press, ISBN: 9781862878501 may be ordered at www.federation press.com.au

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Bamber, G. J., Lansbury, R. D. and Wailes, N. (2012) International and Comparative Employment Relations: Globalisation and Change, Allen and Unwin, ISBN: 9781742370651 may be ordered from academic@allenandunwin.com



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International Institute of Labour Studies (2011) World of Work Report 2011, Geneva, ILO.

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inst/download/wow2011.pdf

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Working Lives Research Institute (2012) Working Lives News, February 2012, http://www.workinglives.org/contact-us/mailing-list/e-newsletters/working-lives-news-february-2012.cfm

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European Commission (2012) White Paper on Pensions (16/02/2012). White Paper on Pensions .

This document is the follow up of the Green Paper 'Towards adequate, sustainable and safe European pension systems' published in July 2010. Its purpose was to initiate a European debate on the key challenges concerning pensions, the main question being: how can the EU best support the efforts of Member States to ensure adequate, sustainable and safe pensions for their citizens both now and in the future. On the basis of the responses to the open consultation launched by the Green Paper, the White Paper identifies the most important measures to be taken forward in this respect at the European level.



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Calls for Papers

Human Resource Management Journal (US)

Special Issue "Balancing Employment Relations in the 21st Century". http://api.ning.com/files/e7lRYBcDXMDbQxuTv20e9RD3pF9CAop9bIHSYGOVw9s4obHzhr1qZPLozaDT2T2wLFa7rTlbEhG5gcStrIgBaMLSgM134Sk2/EmploymentRelationsFINAL.pdf


Submissions close on 15 April, 2012. Please direct any queries to Keith Townsend (k.townsend at griffith.edu.au) or Adrian Wilkinson (adrian.wilkinson at griffith.edu.au).

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Study Group (Public Sector): Leading Public Service Organisations in Challenging Times, July 2-5, 2012 in Philadelphia at ILERA

 Governments are looking towards their senior civil servants and top managers to implement challenging programmes of organisational and workforce restructuring and routinely include leadership as a core competency for top level positions. The study group is interested in papers that address a number of issues in relation to leadership in a period of restructuring, not only relating to central government but also in other public services such as health, education and municipal services.  Abstracts and papers are invited on this topic. We are also interested in receiving shorter papers from policy makers and practitioners that contributes to our understanding of current developments. The abstract should be around 500-750 words and submitted to Stephen.bach@kcl.ac.uk or lorenzo.bordogna@unimi.it  no later than 16th March 2012. Acceptance decisions will be communicated by the 30 March 2012. Accepted papers should be submitted by 15 June 2012.Full call for papers: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/iira/study/publicsector.htm


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Study Group #9 (Pay Systems), July 2, 2012 in Philadelphia at ILERA

If you are interested in making a presentation at Study Group #9, please send an email with the title and brief description to daniel.j.b.mitchell@anderson.ucla.edu.

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Transnational industrial relations and the search for alternatives
A workshop at Greenwich University May 31-June 1, 2012. Call for abstracts
by 1 March 2012 to Lefteris Kretsos (l.kretsos@greenwich.ac.uk).

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Australia: 27th AIRAANZ Conference, 6-8 February 2013, Freemantle, Western Australia. Information from www.conferencewa.com.au/airaanz2013; email trish.todd@uwa.edu.au;

email al.rainnie@gbs.curtin.edu.au . Submission deadline for refereed papers 21 September 2012.

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The Korean Journal of Industrial Relations (CALL FOR PAPERS) 

The Korean Journal of Industrial Relations (KJIR) is published by the Korean Industrial Relations Association. There is no due date for the submission. We receive articles around a year. Web/URL: http://www.lera.uiuc.edu/news/Calls/2007/Korean%20Journal%20of%20Industrial%20Relations.htm


Special Issue of Labour and Industry
Governance and CSR: Implications for Labour.

Papers are due to s.h.young@latrobe.edu.au by end of August 2012.


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Conferences, Seminars, Symposia

UK: London BUIRA Seminar: The Changing Roles of Arbitration, Conciliation and Mediation

(introduced by Ian Fitzgerald (Northumbria University) with Professor Linda Dickens (Warwick Business School) and Steve Brawley (Chief Executive) and Sheik Khan (Senior National Officer) the Electrical Contracting Joint Industry Board (JIB)

 Date: Friday 30 March 2012 Time:10.30am - 12.30pm

Venue:   University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS (opposite Madame Tussauds and nearly opposite Baker Street tube), Room M304

If you would like to attend, or for more details, please contact: Jan Druker j.druker@westminster.ac.uk or Linda Clarke: 020 7911 66528 or clarkel@westminster.ac.uk

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UK: Transnational Industrial Relations and the Search for Alternatives, Greenwich University, 31 May 2012 to 1 June 2012. For abstract submission or more information, contact Lefteris Kretsos (l.kretsos@greenwich.ac.uk).

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Flexible Work Patterns Study Group Meeting ILERA Congress Philadelphia USA
The Flexible Work Patterns Study Group will meet at the ILERA (formerly the IRRA) 16th World Congress in Philadelphia USA on Monday, July 2, before the official opening of the congress on July 3 2012.

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Ireland: IFSAM 2012 Conference, Limerick, Ireland, 26-29 June 2012. Website: http://www.ifsam.org/

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UK: BUIRA 2012 Conference University of Bradford, 28 - 30 June 2012. Members submit your abstact here.

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USA: 16th World Congress of ILERA, 16th World Congress of ILERA, 2-5 July 2012, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Website: http://www.ilera2012.com/

Register at: http://www.ilera2012.com/Registration/default.asp

Reserve accommodation at:

http://www.ilera2012.com/Accommodations/default.asp

Review program at:

http://www.ilera2012.com/Congress-Program/default.asp

Arrange travel at:

http://www.ilera2012.com/General-Information/default.asp



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Australia: Fifth International Community, Work and Family Conference, The fifth international Community, Work and Family Conference will take place at the University of Sydney, 15-17 July 2013. Information at www.CWF2013.aifs.gov.au

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Australia: 27th AIRAANZ Conference, 6-8 February 2013, Freemantle, Western Australia. Information from www.conferencewa.com.au/airaanz2013

email trish.todd@uwa.edu.au

email al.rainnie@gbs.curtin.edu.au

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Other Sites

The International Institute for Labour Studies (IILS) was established by the International Labour Organization in 1960 as a centre for advanced studies in the social and labour fields. It produces the annual "World of Work Report". The International Labour Review, a global multidisciplinary journal of labour and social policies is also published under the aegis of the IILS.

http://www.ilo.org/



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