U professor discusses labor rights in East Asia

Professor Teri Caraway has performed research in 12 countries in East Asia

East Asia

Ashley Goetz

East Asia

Political Science professor Teri Caraway discussed Labor rights in East Asia at a Global Policy workshop on Tuesday in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center. Sponsored by the Humphrey InstituteâÄôs Freeman Center for International Economic Policy, Caraway discussed her research in regards to 12 countries in East Asia, as well as the trends in individual labor laws, asserting that labor law reforms are not moving in a more flexible direction. Instead, Caraway said that laws have become more protective in Indonesia, Thailand and China. According to The World Bank, a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world, evidence from past crises is informative on the likely impact on the labor market. Unemployment is likely to substantially increase, especially in countries with more formalized labor markets, the website states. For example, during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the unemployment rate increased from 2.6 to 6.8 percent in Korea and from 2.2 to 5.2 percent in Thailand. âÄúThe right to strike is in practice,âÄù Caraway said, stating that workers frequently strike in Cambodia, China, the Philippines,, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia. Singapore, however, has not had a strike in more than 20 years, she said. First-year graduate student studying public policy Grete Willis attended TuesdayâÄôs event. From 2002-2004, Willis spent time in China as an English teacher. Willis said she was particularly interested in human rights in China, since she thinks labor rights are such an important component in human rights in general. âÄúI wanted to see how [China] measures up against the other countries; this was interesting to me,âÄù Willis said. Willis said by attending TuesdayâÄôs event, she learned that âÄúthe laws that are of the booksâÄù in these countries seems to protect labor rights to a higher extent than in the past, but said there is âÄúa big difference between the laws of the books and how it is actually enforced.âÄù