In recent decades, we have seen dramatic changes in the landscape of labor rights protection due to the entrenchment of neoliberalism, which has effectively suppressed labor’s collective bargaining power, militant traditions, and solidarity and subsumed them as “allies” of businesses and the state in advancing the bidding of neoliberalism. These trends have exacerbated with the COVID-19 pandemic. From across the Asia Pacific region, workers have borne the brunt of the impact of the pandemic, where they are forced to deal with unfair contract terms, low wages, and unjust working conditions. In this May edition of the Focus Dispatch, we highlight some of the challenges faced by workers across Asia and shed light on the institutions and mechanisms being advanced by social movements to rein in corporate power and strengthen the protection of workers’ rights.

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