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Asia Pacific paper unions determined to fight precarious work

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23 November, 2022IndustriALL Asia Pacific affiliates from eight countries have identified precarious work as the top challenge for workers in the pulp and paper industry, and vow to fight it.

Indonesian unions FSP2KI, CEMWU and FSPMI said it is important to lobby the government to enact a new regulation prohibiting outsourcing activities.

Malaysia’s PPPMEU emphasized that more training and social dialogue on precarious work should be held at the worksite level.

Unionists from New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines said unions must add a new article in collective agreements to limit the number of subcontracting workers. The government must ensure job security for workers.


Participants identified other common issues like wage and benefits, upskilling of women workers, aging and retirement age, union busting, health and safety.

It is in collective agreement that unions must find ways to attract young workers as many of them refuse to join unions. Employers must include unions in occupational health and safety committees to make them effective.

“It is a worrying trend that robots have been deployed to replace paper workers in Thailand. We must strengthen the collective agreements to avoid layoffs, and existing workers should be upskilled or relocated to other factories,”

said Thawatchai Buabkhom, president of Thailand's SIG Workers' Union, affiliated to the Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand.

“Asia Pacific is a crucial part of the global pulp and paper network. We need to strengthen the network by integrating provisions in CBA protecting workers’ employment especially with the introduction of paperless communications.
“Let’s continue to organize more workers, we must stand together and make a difference for paper workers in your countries, region and globally,”

said Tom Grinter, IndustriALL director of pulp and paper, rubber Industries.

Twenty unionists from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam joined the hybrid Asia Pacific Pulp and Paper Trade Union Network meeting on 11-12 November 2022 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.