aawl mini-news

Five workers in Pakistan killed at work

Earlier this week, five workers employed at the Maxen Plastic Factory in the Korangi Industrial Area were sent to clean a chemical tank. They were not provided with any specialised breathing equipment and they were killed by the fumes. Unfortunately these are not the first deaths of this kind in the area as there are many other similar plastic factories, some of which are illegal. Bosses’ drive for profits results in the sacrifice of workers’ health and safety, costing lives. The problem is worse because of poorly organised workforces and non-existing health and safety regulations (see here and here). Safety inspections have now been privatised. Only strong and independent unions can save workers lives.

Many protestors shot in Baghdad demonstration

Last Friday, thousands of working class Iraqis once again broke through the fortified barriers around the Green Zone in Baghdad and managed to enter parliamentary offices. Unlike the previous month, many demonstrators were shot and an unknown number were killed and injured. This latest mass demonstration is a continuation of the widespread anger against the government for the increasing inequality, corruption and sectarianism that affects the lives of working class communities in Iraq. 

Bangladesh garment union leader released unharmed

Lucky Akhtar, a union leader with the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, was abducted in the middle of the night earlier this week by paramilitary thugs. Grave fears for her safety were held as repression of unions and labour activists in Bangladesh is very common (see here, here and here). Fortunately, her fellow workers mounted a strong campaign pressuring the government to release her. Lucky was released unharmed but now faces new charges. The garment industry in Bangladesh is characterised by inhumane working conditions where global clothing companies make huge profits.

McDonald’s fast-food workers in Australia ripped off

A recent investigation into the labour practices of fast food global giant McDonald’s has revealed how the company has managed to underpay thousands of its employees in Australia. The key to their success has been the co-operation of the yellow union covering these workers, the SDA, in cutting overtime rates. The SDA has already been implicated in selling out workers in other huge supermarket corporations like Coles or not protecting workers at 7-11 stores

Working class activists continue to be jailed

This week saw the welcome release of a Palestinian journalist, Mohammed al-Qeeq, who had been on a 94 day hunger strike in protest against his jailing by Israeli forces. Unfortunately Mohammed’s case is not an isolated one with thousands of other Palestinian activists in jail. The pattern around West Asia and North Africa is of an increasing number of arrests of labour and human rights activists as local governments try to repress the ongoing social struggles against inequality, corruption and repression.

Rally: Say no to Racism May 28 rally

A local community group in Melbourne Australia has organised an anti-racism rally in the suburb of Coburg.  This rally has been met with hostility and threats from far right wing forces who are planning a counter-rally.  As we’ve previously reported, these far right wing and fascist forces have built momentum in Australia over the year 2015, fostered by the government’s anti-immigration and anti-muslim rhetoric, and propelled forward by the global economic crisis.  We must defeat these fascist thugs, and we must defend our right to take the streets. More info, go to the Facebook event page

Rally Saturday 28 May
11am at the Coburg Library
Victoria Street Mall

Report details the increasing repression in Thailand

While repression against anti dictatorship activists has been documented before (see here, here, here and here), a recent report by Human Rights Watch, HRW, has catalogued the full extent of repression by Thailand’s military junta. HRW found that since the coup in May 2014, over 1,600 people are being tried in military courts while another 1,300 have been detained for varying periods of time by the military for re-education purposes. Opposition to the military is steadily increasing and last week, around 1,200 health workers issued a statement calling for the end of military rule and immediate general elections.
Free all political prisoners in Thailand!
Abolish Article 112!
End military dictatorship!

Palestinians commemorate another al-Nakba Day

The 15th of May was the 68th anniversary Al Nakba, the day in 1948 that officially marks the dispossession of Palestinians from their lands by Zionist colonisers. Over 500 Palestinian villages were affected and 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Events were held all around the world to seek justice and redress for this exodus, and demonstrate that Palestinians are still fighting. Within Israel, events were also held in the Negev desert where dispossession of Palestinian lands continue.

Imprisoned Iranian workers protests continue

This week, one of the imprisoned leaders of the Iranian Teachers Trade Association (ITTA) was transferred to a hospital due to the effects of his continuing hunger strike. Two other imprisoned workers, Esmail Abdi and Jafar Azimzadeh, are continuing their indefinite hunger strike. They began their hunger strike at the end of April after releasing a May Day statement in support of workers’ right to organise globally. There is a continuing solidarity campaign to protest against the Iranian government continued suppression of workers and their organisations.

Philippines Kentex disaster one year anniversary

This week, a year ago, the Kentex factory that produced thongs burned down in Valenzuela City in the Philippines. At least 72 workers were killed, but more are suspected to have perished. After 12 months, most of the survivors are still waiting for justice, the owner of the factory is still to face trial, while the Filipino government has not acted to increase the security for workers. Rallies were held to mark this event. To read the statement by the KMU union federation that represented these workers, see here.

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