This education module on capital mobility explains the capitalist crisis, and assesses the impact of capital mobility on workers and trade unions. The module also provides stories of workers in the global supply chains and their struggles.
Southeast Asian economies show notable performance in the recent years. In 2013, for instance, the growth rate of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) is 4.9 per cent compared to the entire world’s GDP growth rate of 3.0 per cent. However, despite this significant GDP growth rate, employment in Southeast Asia did not rise in the same rate as the GDP has risen. It has grown only by 1.5 per cent. Moreover, poverty remains prevalent and income gaps become wider. In other words, the economic growth in numbers does not translate to the improvement of the quality of lives of the people at the grassroots level.
The two-day meeting focused on understanding and mapping the landscape of labour resistance in Asia in the past decade or so, with a special focus on identifying, in each country, (1) emerging forms of labour resistance, (2) emerging actors and players in new labour movements, and (3) trends in emerging alliance building and collaborative initiatives.
Recognising that economies in Asia are developing very fast, there is a considerably widening gap in terms of income as indicated by the Gini coefficients per country. For example, in most of the countries including Laos and Vietnam the income gap has been widening while the economy grows. Aside from increasing informalisation of jobs, there are also other indicators indicating that the labor situation has not improved in the last decade. It is true that poverty in Asia is decreasing but relative poverty has been increasing which means that the income gap in society has become more serious. There are more self-employed and own account workers and more women than men in these categories. The situation of women is relatively worse than men in the informal economy because they have no voice and visibility particularly in decision making processes. Aside from increasing precarious work, the marginalised informal workers also suffer from privatisation of public goods. Increasing occupational risks comprise another difficulty faced by informal workers.
The Asian Roundtable on Social Protection (AROSP) meeting for Southeast Asian partners happened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 27-28 June 2014. It intends to consolidate the AROSP partners’ network in Southeast Asia towards the strengthening of the social protection advocacy in the region. It was attended by 30 participants (14 women and 16 men) representing workers’ organisations in different Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The content of this book is upon of the discussion in the Fourth Asian Roundtable on Social Security meeting which was co-organised by AMRC and the University of Philippines in Manila. The book includes country reports on social protection in Asia, overview on the road to social protection in Asia, outcome of the conference, among others. The book serves to provide comprehensive information on social protection for all from the labour perspective in Asia.