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The IR Guru NEWS Bulletin

January 7, 2021

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Union negotiations at Samsung going at “snail’s pace”

Samsung workers in Korea have expressed increasing dissatisfaction with the slow pace of collective agreement negotiations which have been ongoing since May last year.

The Federation of Korean Metalworkers’ Trade Unions, an affiliate of the global union IndustriALL, has urged the company to stop “using delaying tactics” and implement improvements such as higher pay, a new employee evaluation system and safer and healthier working conditions.

Unions in Samsung Electronics, Samsung Display and Samsung SDI Ulsan were first established in November 2019.

However, negotiations have been held in Samsung Display since May last year and at Samsung SDI Ulsan and Samsung Electronics in September and November, respectively, with no deals reached.

Kan Matsuzaki, IndustriALL Electronics Director, said Samsung Electronics has a “responsibility to act together with the unions to achieve decent work for all.”


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TUC reveals size of pay gap between Amazon CEO and warehouse workers

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos earns in a second what it takes one of his warehouse workers more than eight weeks to earn, analysis has shown.

Based on 2019 figures, the TUC has calculated that a warehouse worker earns in five weeks what Bezos makes in a single second. For 2020, that figure has risen to eight weeks reflecting the company’s “enormous takings during the coronavirus pandemic”.

Despite soaring profits, Amazon workers describe poor working practices such as unrealistic productivity targets, surveillance, bogus self-employment and a refusal to recognise or engage with unions unless forced, the TUC has said. 

It is calling on the UK government to bring forward its employment bill to boost workers’ rights, implement a ban on zero hours contracts and allow unions into every workplace.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Amazon workers have played a key role during this pandemic. The very least they deserve is dignity at work.”


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US union fights firing of grocery delivery drivers

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) in the US has condemned plans by food company Albertsons to fire grocery delivery drivers in California.

The UFCW has urged the company to reverse its decision to replace employee drivers working for its Vons and Pavilions stores with a third-party delivery service using independent contractors, particularly as the state faces “out of control” Covid outbreaks.

Vons and Pavilions delivery drivers have been a trusted and crucial lifeline, providing access to food for some of the most vulnerable Californians, said UFCW International President Marc Perrone.

“To destroy the good-paying jobs of these dedicated frontline workers, in the middle of this public health crisis, is simply wrong.”

UFCW is calling on Albertsons to immediately halt its plans, he added.


Nursing home care workers win campaign to end forced lockdown

Carers in Poland forced into a lockdown at a nursing home and work long shifts without being able to return home were finally allowed to leave after 10 days, following a union campaign.

Last month, after an outbreak at Konstancin-Jeziorna nursing home, management forced 19 care workers to stay at the facility and work almost 24 hours a day without adequate PPE and decent living conditions, according to UNI Global Union’s affiliate OPZZ Konfederacja Pracy.

An organising campaign was launched by the all-female workforce despite their difficult experience, resulting in extra pay and the right to go home.

“Konfederacja Pracy is leading the way, fighting back against unsafe and absurd measures that keep workers and patients at risk. We are proud to support such a visionary  union,” said Adrian Dutschi Head of UNI Global Union´s care division.  


UK civil service union criticises ditching of diversity training

The UK government’s scrapping of unconscious bias training for civil servants last month has been described as “absolutely illogical” by the FDA union.

It has also been critical of the fact there are no proposals on what will replace it.

FDA Assistant General Secretary Lucille Thirlby warned there is significant evidence of bias leading to worse outcomes for those including BAME civil servants and civil servants with disabilities.

She added: “If the government really wants inclusive and diverse workplaces and communities, they must come forward with the proposals to prove it.”

“The driver for change must not be an ideology that regards diversity as a gimmick that costs taxpayers’ money,” she added.


Retail workers should be given priority access to Covid vaccine, urges union

Frontline retail staff should be prioritised for vaccination and Covid testing, according to UK union Usdaw.

It has written to health and business ministers calling for urgent protection of shop workers and delivery drivers. It is also asking the UK government to offer full pay and support for any workers ill, self-isolating or shielding.

The risk levels of retail staff who work with the public every day needs to be taken into account by the government when prioritising vaccines and testing, says Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis.

“We are also looking for support from the government, retail employers and the shopping public to help make food stores and deliveries as safe as possible for customers and staff alike.”



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