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Asian workers on streets for May Day

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 01:47

May 1 - Tens of thousands observe Labour Day with protests and marches across Asian nations. Jessica Gray reports.

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Tens of thousands of workers throughout Asia mark Labour Day with marches and protests. Here in Manila, various labour groups took to the streets, calling for wage increases across the board and better treatment of women in the work place. Union leaders say this is the first time so many groups have come together to demand the government implement laws that protect workers' rights. Taiwanese labourers also marched to demand fairer conditions in the workplace, with nurses some of the loudest voices. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 30-YEAR-OLD NURSE LI HUA-CHENG SAYING: "We have been oppressed by the hospitals for a long time, and it has been hard especially when one person has to handle three people's jobs until we eventually develop health problems. This is very inhumane. Moreover, if we have health problems then we can't provide good care to the patients, and if something happens to the patients, we could make mistakes because of fatigue." Meanwhile in Bangladesh, home to sprawling factories producing cheap goods for the West, it was the garment workers at the forefront of May Day protests. (SOUNDBITE) (Bengali) A LEADER OF GARMENT WORKERS, FIROZA BEGUM SAYING: "We demand that workers should get a good salary to live with a standard of honour. Because these garment workers bring in foreign currency and they keep the wheel of Bangladesh's economy active, we demand that we must get a sufficient salary, comparing to the hike of price of essential goods, and for the government to start a rationing system for us." Their counterparts in Cambodia were also out in force in Phnom Penh to ask the government for more legislative support. Labour Day is observed by millions of workers around the world. Jessica Gray, Reuters

Asian workers on streets for May Day

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 01:47

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