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Australian unions rally to defend multiculturalism

After the election in the USA, and witnessing the rise of the far right in Australia, the union movement - and particularly union rank and file members - need to take a lead in the fight against racism. Trades Hall has partnered with a number of unions and community groups to hold a rally and festival celebrating and defending multiculturalism. Join a free family friendly street party celebrating the great diversity of our society. There will be music, food, cultural exhibitions and rides for the kids.

Global Street Party - Saturday 10 December - International Human Rights Day
12pm - Rally against Racism at State Library, Melbourne with a march to Trades Hall
1pm - Festival at Trades Hall, Lygon Street Carlton

Invite your fellow workers and bring the whole family for a fun afternoon in support for our multicultural society.

South Korean workers plan new general strike

This month has seen an unprecedented political crisis engulf the government of South Korea. Last week, one million people took part in a demonstration in central Seoul calling on President Park Geun-hye to step down due to the influence-peddling scandal involving her confidant Choi Soon-sil. The administration of Park Geun-hye has been relentless in its attacks against workers in the last couple of years, see here and here. Workers have fought back with massive mobilisations of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country. Korean workers are continuing to mobilise against the government. Korean unions have now called for a new general strike for the 30th of November to try and force the resignation of the President.

Somyot awarded major Korean labour prize

This week the imprisoned journalist and labour activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was awarded the prestigious Jeon Tae il Labour Prize. Somyot is the first non Korean winner of this award. As Somyot is still in jail in Thailand, the award was accepted on his behalf by his daughter, Prakaidao ‘Sukanya’ Prueksakasemsuk, see photos of award ceremony, and statement by the Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union. Following the award, Sukanya asked for Somyot’s supporters to write to him in jail as a continued show of solidarity.

Pakistan - Death toll from ship explosion at Gadani continues to rise

The death toll from the horrific massacre of workers at the Gadani shipbreaking yards has risen to 29 workers, with possibly more than ten workers still listed as missing. This disaster has focused national attention to the conditions for workers in these workplaces. There have been numerous meetings and rallies by thousands of workers who are demanding justice for the dead and improvements to their pay and conditions.

Turkish government increasingly targeting political parties

The repression unleashed by the Turkish government increasingly targeting opposition political parties. This week, anti terror police units arrested the co-mayors of the Kurdish cities of Siirt, Dersim (Tunceli), and Cizre for alleged terrorism crimes. Earlier this month, the opposition People's Democatic Party (HDP), was targeted with the arrests of 14 of its 59 parlamentarians. These included the party's co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag. These latest attacks are on top of the tens of thousands of workers who have been dismissed, the 140 journalists jailed and the numerous media outlets that have been shut down since the failed coup in mid July.

Exploitation of migrant workers in Australia continues

The issue of the systemic and rampant exploitation of migrant workers in Australia was once again exposed this week. A number of farms were exposed using a web of sub-contracting companies to pay workers only a few dollars a day for their work. This exploitation is a result of the ongoing attack on unions and the increase use by employers of short term visitors to Australia. Only by granting permanency residence status, increasing penalties on employers and stronger unions, will these practices be able to be tackled.

Another Chinese labour activist jailed

Meng Han has become the latest independent labour activist in China to be jailed for organising workers and taking industrial action. Meng was sentenced to 18 months in jail for ‘gathering crowds to disrupt public order’. Meng is the fourth Guangdong labour rights activist to be convicted in two months but he has received the harshest sentence as he refused to confess. In an unrelated, but important development, the Chinese government has jailed 49 company and government employees that were found guilty of contributing to the horrific blasts last year in Tianjin that killed 173 people.

Anti government protesters defy intimidation in Malaysia

On the eve of the 5th major protest against government corruption on Saturday the 19th of November, the Malaysian government arrested a number of key activists of the Bersih 5 movement including opposition parliamentarian Tian Chua and Arulchelvan (Arul) from the Malaysian Socialist Party leadership. Bersih 5 main demands are against government corruption and for democratic reforms. Tens of thousands of protestors took part in these protests defying the intimidatory activities of the government ‘red’ militias. Co-ordinated protests also occurred in cities all around the world.

Palestinians celebrate National Day

Tuesday the 15th of November was Palestine National Day. This day was chosen 28 years ago to remember that the fight of the Palestinians is a fight against dispossession and occupation and for the creation of their own state. This day was marked around the world with demonstrations and statements of support. Notwithstanding this day, the daily repression against Palestinians by the Israeli state continued with more arrests of activists. The protests and hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners have also continued unabated.

Support CUB SABMiller workers

The Victorian Trades Hall Council has called a Rally in support of the 55 sacked maintenance workers at Carlton and United Breweries (CUB). Unions knew that SABMiller & AB InBev, the parent company of CUB, was intending to attack workers wages and conditions globally. In June a conference of the IUF in Istanbul made plans to resist their attacks. They prepared a detailed company map and union map to build solidarity actions. And the disputes came. The dispute with SABMiller at Sonepat near Delhi has now been settled. But the fight at CUB continues.

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