Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Not All Eastern Promise

The International Labour Organisation issued a press release today and much of it confirms that the working class in Asia are not reaping any of the benefits of a growing economy . It appears that the trickle down theory of wealth creation isn't exactly working .

1 billion "working poor" are living under the US$2 per person per day poverty line

330 million living in extreme poverty of less than US$1 a day

China labour productivity in manufacturing rose by 170 per cent between 1990 and 1999, while real wages rose by slightly less than 80 per cent

Pakistan experienced a decline in real manufacturing wages since 1990 - a drop of 8.5 per cent

India experienced a decline in real manufacturing wages since 1990 - a drop of 22 per cent in the latter. India's wage decline occurred despite an increase in manufacturing labour productivity of over 84 per cent over the same period - Deterioration in workers' livelihoods despite the increasing efficiency of their labour

The top six economies in the world in terms of annual hours worked are all Asian - Bangladesh, Hong Kong (China), Malaysia, Republic of Korea , Sri Lanka, Thailand - and a large share of people work 50 hours or more a week.- Long Hours

In Singapore females earn on average only 61 per cent of their male counterparts

2.6 million to 2.9 million workers in Asia have left their homes each year to work abroad

122.3 million working children - about 64 per cent of the global total

1 million workers are killed annually in Asia by work-related accidents and diseases

Union membership ranges from between 3 to 8 per cent of the labour force in countries such as Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea, and 16 to 19 per cent in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.

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