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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
ILO sees work woe as Asia booms
Bangladesh textile workers
Workers in Bangladesh work some of the longest hours in the world
Asian workers are not reaping the full benefits of the region's economic growth, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned.

They are facing longer hours, lower pay and fewer jobs, the UN body says.

An ILO report on social trends warned jobless numbers had to be cut, as more than 600 million Asians remain below the poverty level of $1 (53p) a day.

And Lin Lean Lim, ILO deputy regional director, said despite economic growth, Asia had not "done so well" on jobs.

The report comes as the economies of India and China continue to forge ahead, with the ILO calling them "global economic powerhouses, shifting the growth pole from the West to the East".

However, a lack of job creation has meant rising unemployment in the region, which is home to an estimated 1.9 billion workers.

'Work deficit'

And the report, Labour and Social Trends in Asia and the Pacific 2006: Progress Towards Decent Work, forecasts Asia will have another 250 million new job-hunters during the coming decade.

In 2005, economies in the Asia and Pacific expanded by 6.2%, but employment increased by only 1.4%, the ILO said. China's economy grew by 59% from 2000 to 2004, but produced only 5% more jobs.

"The gap between growth and job creation is producing a deficit in decent work and putting the brakes on efforts to reduce poverty," ILO Director General Juan Somavia said in a statement.

The report also warned that pursuit of competitiveness and growth would not necessarily lead to shorter work hours and better wages.

The world's top six economies in terms of working hours are all in Asia - Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

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