Korean undocumented migrant workers win right to join unions

Migrant workers all over the world form part of the most exploited layer of the working class. Many of these workers are termed ‘illegal’ as national laws often discriminate against them. In South Korea this week, after a nine year fight, undocumented workers have won the right to join and be represented by a trade union. This is a great achievement especially as the Migrant Trade Union (MTU) who represents them, has itself lost a number of officials in the last few years to deportations. The MTU is part of the Confederation of Korean Trade Unions (KCTU)

Cambodian workers continue to fight for their rights

As reported last week, the Cambodian government wants to pass new legislation that will restrict the rights of workers to unionise. This week, hundreds of workers and their supporters had a protest outside the National Assembly to demand the repeal of the proposed Trade Union Law. In a separate development, a coalition of garment based unions have announced that they will continue to campaign for an increase of the minimum wage to USA $177/month. Given the importance of the garment industry in Cambodia, these negotiations will have important ramifications for other workers as well.

Malaysian timber workers fighting to establish their own union

The right to form an independent union as opposed to a yellow, company union, is an issue that many workers around the world face. In Malaysia, timber workers have been fighting a long hard fight against their employer, Sabah Forest Industries (SFI), part of the global giant Avantha Group. SFI has stifled workers’ attempts to form their own union for over 20 years and latest reports indicate that it is preparing legal action against the workers. A global campaign has been set up to send protest letters to the company. Co-ordinated industrial action by workers at other sites of the Avantha conglomerate would also be effective in supporting the workers in Sabah.

More revelations on how companies exploit migrant workers in Australia

As the extent of the exploitation of migrant workers in Australia becomes better known, further information is being revealed about the tactics that company’s use. Workers employed at the Baiada poultry plant in Beresfield, NSW have been encouraged to submit fake refugee status applications once their current visas expires. This would allow them to stay in Australia for up to another 18 months. This situation would then place the workers in an incredibly weak position and completely open to be underpaid and overworked. Using complex sub contracting arrangements is a tactic that is used by a number of other companies, such as Hazeldene in Bendigo, Victoria. 

Working class communities continue resistance amid the Syrian carnage

As previously reported, the conflict in Syria is a multisided war where working class forces face numerous enemies. In the last few weeks we have seen the left-leaning Kurdish forces in Rojava extend their gains amid continued threats by the Turkish State to intervene militarily. These threats are in part motivated by the increasing involvement of Turkish solidarity movements on the side of the Syrian Kurdish forces. In other parts of Syria, such as Idlib and Goutha, civilian forces are trying to assert themselves against armed militias, war profiteers and sectarian killings. The need for political solidarity by the international working class is as important as ever.

Workers organising globally - The Global Picketline concept

Companies, in their quest for ever greater profits, expand their operations internationally by integrating their production, distribution and commercial divisions at a global level. To be effective in confronting this new reality, workers also need to organise and take actions that are integrated and co-ordinated at an international level.

In conjunction with regional labour activists and organisations, AAWL has developed a global organising concept called ‘The Global Picketline’. This concept is outlined in a short publication that details what type of international solidarity is strongest and the steps needed to organise global campaigns.

There is no copyright to this material, and if you unable to view it on the above web links, this PDF version can be used.

Individuals and organisations are encouraged to use it, share it, and translate it in their own language.

If you have comments, feedback or questions please email Pier at piergiorgio@aawl.org.au

Japanese Post management increases pressure on its workforce

In recent times, Japanese post office workers have taken industrial action against the increasingly harsh management policies that are trying to increase work intensity. This pressure by management includes publicly humiliating workers in front of their colleagues and continually increasing sales targets. Many workers have killed themselves due to this pressure. More industrial action by postal workers was taken this week.

Anti racist and anti fascist rallies planned for mid July in Australia

This year has seen a marked increase in the attempts by far right groups in Australia to capitalise on the current economic crisis. These groups are using the current government’s increasing nationalist agenda and ‘War on Terror’ rhetoric to direct people’s fears onto vulnerable groups in society. History shows that these far right and fascist organisations are a threat to workers everywhere and need to be stopped as soon as possible. Counter mobilisations to these far right groups by labour and human right groups are being planned for all around Australia for the weekend of the 18 and 19 of July. There are two organising committees, click here and here, working towards the counter mobilisation for Melbourne on the 18 of July.

Palestinian face more repression as Gaza blockade is to be tested

In the face of continuing mass protests by Palestinian prisoners, and their non co-operation even when on hunger strike, Israel authorities are resorting to ever more brutal tactics. The Israeli government now is proposing that Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike be force fed, a move that many Israeli doctors are labelling as torture. In the meantime, an international navel flotilla will later this month try to bring humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza. The Gaza flotilla of 2010 was met with deadly force by the Israeli military.

You can still support political and activist radio - 3CR Radiothon

3CR is an activist radio station. For 39 years, 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne, Australia has brought you union, worker, indigenous, women’s, ethnic, environmental, music and other community programs that are not heard elsewhere. Every week AAWL presents its Asia Pacific Currents program on 3CR Radio. 3CR’s programs are podcast to listeners around the world.

3CR relies on donations from its listeners. Please donate to 3CR’s Radiothon fundraising from 1 to 15 June 2015.

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