Ten Turkish workers killed due to poor workplace safety

Earlier this month, 10 constructions workers plunged to their death on a building site in Istanbul when the lift they were travelling in dropped 34 stories in free fall. This major accident comes only a few months after the Soma mine disaster were 301 miners were killed. Over a 1,000 workers came out to protest this latest workplace murders, but were met with tear gas and water cannons. Turkey is one of the worst ten countries in the world for its OHS record.

Cambodian garment workers step up the fight for a minimum wage

The fight by Cambodian garment workers for a living wage has been an ongoing issues for many years. Early this year, workers were heavily repressed by the government with four workers being killed and many others arrested and injured. Nevertheless, the workers have kept up the struggle. They have now initiated a new campaign, to be launched on the 17th of September, for a new minimum wage of US$ 177/month. Cambodian workers have called for a global day of action in solidarity. For more information, click here and here, and for what actions are being organised internationally.

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New USA military intervention in Iraq will only worsen the situation

Workers and their families in Iraq have endured incredible hardships and suffering in the last decades as repression, wars and invasions have destroyed one of the most industrialised countries in the region. The rise of the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq is a product of these years of injustices that have created widespread anger, desperation and violence. The recent announcement that the USA will lead a new ‘Coalition of the Willing’ to fight terrorism by bombing Iraq and Syria will only lead to greater destruction. These countries are intervening for their own political and economic advantage and not to save lives. Worker organisations and left groups in the region are taking the lead in opposing this renewed onslaught.

Thousands of garment workers locked out in new dispute in Bangladesh

In a dispute that has been simmering for most of this year, management at a Designer Jeans factory this week locked out its workforce of 1,900 workers. Earlier, management, in collusion with state forces and police, had sacked two workers and had charged 260 workers on a variety of vandalism and looting charges. As the workers have been trying to form a union, this is a clear case of union busting by the company. Workers are protesting against this union busting action. 

Military in Thailand extends its reign of terror

As previously reported, the self appointed, military government of Thailand is continuing to extend its reign of terror and silence all opposition. It has recently arrested the relatives of those who were killed by the Thailand military in the violent crackdown of 2010, as they have been fighting for justice all these years. On top of increasing number of cases of torture being recorded, the government has just announced that it will use all technological means at its disposal to protect the monarchy and crack down on dissent. In the meantime, the case against labour activist Andy Hall is coming to an initial finding.

No to the military! Free all political prisoners! Organising is not a crime!

Sydney University sides with Sri Lankan military on torture

This coming week, Sydney University will host an international conference in Bangkok, Thailand entitled ‘Enhancing Human Rights and Security in the Asia Pacific’. Under pressure from the Sri Lankan military establishment, the conference organisers decided to stop two Sri Lankan human rights organisations from attending the conference. In addition, the University then sent a letter to all other delegates reminding them to be sensitive to the feelings of the Sri Lankan military. The Sri Lankan military is accused of widespread human rights abuses, click here and here. Amnesty International has now pulled out of the conference and an open letter by a Sri Lankan NGO is calling for other organisations to withdraw from this conference.

Israel repression against Palestinians continues

The bombing of the Gaza strip by Israel might have finished, but the repression of Palestinian people in the occupied territories continues. Israel has increased its settlement budget by 600% this year, money that is mostly spent on expanding illegal settlements inside the occupied West Bank. Meanwhile, Palestinian parlamentarian Khalida Jarrar is continuing her protests against an attempt by Israel to deport and isolate her. A day long hunger strike was declared by Palestinian prisoners to mourn the death in custody of Raed al-Jabari. A protest and picket of a Melbourne based Israeli arm supplier is planned for early October.

China sanitation workers now fighting against new employer

Late last month, 200 sanitation workers at Guangzhou’s University Town took action to demand the right to collectively bargain with their employer and change their sham contracts. The workers also had to elect their own union representatives as there was no enterprise union. Earlier this month, the workers won their demands, but the new employer who took over the contract is now trying to divide the workers by only employing some of them. Not only are the workers remaining united, but they are receiving a lot of support from local university students and families

Up to 10,000 truck drivers block Ningbo port, China

The world’s sixth busiest port was blocked by striking truck drivers, demanding an increase in their wages and haulage rates. The strike was violently broken up by riot police. A very similar strike happened at the Shanghai port in 2011. Chinese workers often use social media to generate very large scale, spontaneous strikes, but without independent union organizations these mobilisations tend dissipate quickly.

Industrial action by other NXP workers needed to win Philippine dispute

It has been over three months since 24 union members at NXP semiconductors in the Philippines were sacked for trying to negotiate a new contract. The workers, their communities and their union have remained strong against this global company’s attempt to smash the union and decrease wages and conditions. Solidarity for these sacked workers has come from all around the world. What is needed now is industrial action to be taken by NXP workers in other countries such as The Netherlands.

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