jiselle's blog

Uzbekistan's cotton industry is based on forced labour

Labour rights activists protested outside Daewoo's headquarters in Seoul, to demand that the company stop purchasing cotton from Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan has one of the largest state-enforced systems of forced labour, which requires more than a million children and adults to grow and harvest cotton each year. Daewoo buys 5% of all of Uzbekistan’s cotton.

Cambodian garment workers are being worked to death

Cambodian unions are speaking out against the high incidence of faintings and even deaths in garment factories, due to overwork and lack of concern for workers' health. Workers' poor health is linked to Cambodia's poverty wages, which leave workers malnourished and drive them to work excessive overtime. Despite extreme poverty and government repression of social movements, the Australian government is continuing with its plans to send asylum seekers to Cambodia, see here and here.

Tens of Chinese workers murdered in workshop explosion

At the start of this month, an explosion at the automotive parts factory Zhongrong Plating in the industrial city of Kunshan, Jiangsu province, killed at least 75 workers and injured another 200 workers. The explosion was caused by the airborne dust in the factory which was ignited by sparks from the machines in use. This explosion indicates that dust levels in the air were at extreme levels. Apart from sudden explosions, dust is the main contributor to the lung disease pneumoconiosis, a disease that already affects over 6 million Chinese workers. Tragedies like this once again highlight the desperate need for genuine, independent unions in China.

Israel’s military assault on Palestinians in Gaza continues

This week, a three day ceasefire took place that allowed Palestinians to find and bury their dead while also managing to restock on basic essentials. While much of Gaza has been damaged, and almost 2,000 Palestinians killed, the underlying issues behind this conflict are still unresolved. Thus, Palestinians are still resisting against the continued military assault of the Israeli army. Demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians continue around the world, such as London, Cape Town, and Tel Aviv among many other cities and countries. Click on the links for more information and updates.

Stop the bombardment
Lift the siege and blockade of Gaza
Free all Palestinian prisoners


Lack of maintenance leads to deadly oil pipeline explosion in Taiwan

Last week, in a dramatic sequence of events, oil pipelines under suburban streets of the Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung exploded, see video. The blasts killed 28 people and injured another 300. The pipeline was owned by a local petrochemical firm, LCY Chemical. Initial investigations have already confirmed that the company never carried out safety inspection works and did not initiate any safety measures when they noticed that the gas pressures inside the pipeline were dropping, indicating a major leak. The company’s total disregard for the health and safety of its workers and their families is another indication of company’s relentless drive of profits over workers lives.

Thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers in tough battle to regain wages

As reported last week, the dispute over unpaid wages for workers employed by the Tuba group of companies has entered its second week. Workers are continuing their hunger strike and actions amid continual harassment and repression by police and goons and the arrests of some of the labour organisers involved in the dispute. The workers seem to have won some of their demands over unpaid wages, but many other claims remain not settled. A solidarity rally was held last Friday in Melbourne, Australia.

Thai military using torture to consolidate its rule in Thailand

While the military is trying to legitimise its coup via the ratification of a new constitution, the reality for most people is that the military is still intensifying its repression. In an attempt to consolidate a climate of fear, the junta is now closing community radio stations. In the meantime there have been more people targeted like Thanthawut Taweewarodomkul, labour activists Andy Hall, and Red Shirt activist Kritsuda Khunasen. This coup is only the latest chapter in the struggle for democratic and labour rights in Thailand.

NXP workers in the Philippines standing strong against global giant

As reported previously, the fight by workers at NXP Semiconductors against the sacking of the entire union leadership has now entered its 3rd month. The workers are continuing to take daily actions and support internationally continues to grow against this company. NXP Semiconductors is part of the global supply chain of another electronics colossus – Apple. Co-ordinated industrial action by workers at other NXP workplaces would be the most effective way to pressure the company to reinstate the sacked 24 unionists.

Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Stop the nuclear cycle

The union movement has a long history of being a part of the peace movement because war primarily kills and affects workers and their families. On the 6th and 9th of August 1945, the USA military dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Around 130,000 people perished immediately with another 90,000 dying by the end of the year due to radiation injuries. In Melbourne, the International Campaign against Nuclear Weapons will be holding a peace concert as well as a conference on Australia’s involvement in the nuclear cycle.

Israel continues its deadly assault on Palestinians in Gaza

The military assault by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza is in its fourth week. The numbers of Palestinians killed in this war is fast approaching 2,000 while there are almost 10,000 Palestinians who have been injured. Most of these have been civilians. The Israeli army has created a military buffer zone around Gaza which has produced an even greater humanitarian disaster. While many Western governments back Israel’s war, the reality is that the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves. Protests against the war continue all around the world - see here for next Melbourne rally. Many trade unions, like South Africa’s COSATU, have come out strongly against Israeli aggression.

Stop the war - Lift the siege on Gaza - Free all Palestinian prisoners

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