jiselle's blog

Australia's immigration policies kill lives

As reported previously, the Australian government has unleashed a new wave of repressive laws and actions against asylum seekers. Earlier this week, in the offshore 'penal colony' of Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, conditions for asylum seekers became so intolerable that they staged a protest action. This provoked a brutal response from authorities that left one person dead and many others injured. Solidarity protests against the Australian government’s policies are being organised nationally, click here and here for more information. In the same week, an Indian student died in a detention centre on the Australian mainland to the indifference of the Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison.

Korean workers to strike against government repression

Building on last December's strike over rail privatisation, and the repression that followed with many trade unionists arrested, a general strike has been called for 25 February. Many labour groups internationally have pledged their support for their South Korean comrades.

Bangladesh workers continue their fight for compensation

As reported last week, while facing continuing repression from companies and the Bangladeshi government, garment workers are continuing to organise. This week a large demonstration was held in Dhaka to demand immediate action from the 29 buyers of 5-RMG factories which where housed at the Rana Plaza, regarding compensation for the dead and injured workers. Ten months after the disaster that killed over 1,100 workers, no compensation has been paid to the injured or families of the deceased. To listen to an interview with Australian trade unionist, Colin Long, about the solidarity visit to Dhaka, click here.

More uses of the Lese Majeste in Thailand

Amid the ongoing political crisis in Thailand and the inability of the ruling class to overcome its divisions, the repressive Article 112 (the Lese Majeste law) is still being used as a tool to intimidate and stifle democracy. This week the Thai Supreme Court found Bandid Aneeya guilty for his writings as well as a speech, while the Bangkok Criminal Court has directed that a bookseller's trial be held in secret. Meanwhile, in the major northern regional city of Chiangmai, a local Red Shirt group took direct action against a gathering of anti government protestors.

Ansell workers in Sri Lanka still fighting hard

As reported late last year, almost 300 workers at the Ansell factory in the Biyagama free trade zone have been fighting the company's union busting tactics. While the workers are united and strong, the reality is that Ansell is a global company with massive resources. Workers need to take industrial action against Ansell operations in other countries so as to effectively show solidarity with the Sri Lankan workers. In a global economy, we as workers need to organise our actions internationally.

International support for Cambodian garment workers

As previously reported, international unions took up the call for a Global Day of Action in support of comrades in Cambodia who were violently repressed by forces of the state during demonstrations in January 2014.  23 comrades were detained since the start of January and there have been calls for their release. Demonstrations took place in Brussels, Canberra, Dhaka, Geneva, Honduras, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Manila, Seoul, Sri Lanka, Tokyo and Washington D.C. In the past few days, two workers have been released. Of the remaining 21 detainees, bail has been denied and 16 began a hunger strike on Sunday.  Strikes and protests will continue, with some scheduled for March 2014.

Sixteen garment factories sack union leaders in Bangladesh

Despite the international outcry at the collapse of Rana Plaza in April 2013 that killed more than 1000 workers, and the factory fire at Tazreen garment factory in November 2012 that killed over 100, workers that try to unionise in Bangladesh’s garment industry face serious repression.  We previously reported on the crack down on demonstrations by garment workers held in Dhaka (see here).  Most recently, the Bangladeshi government is investigating sixteen garment factories that have sacked union leaders because of their union activity.  Workers must keep fighting in the face of this repression, because if you don’t fight, you lose!

Workers strike at Egypt’s largest state-owned textiles company

Over 20,000 workers are currently striking at Egypt’s largest state-owned textile company in Mahalla. Strikers at the Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahalla are demanding the payment of promised bonuses from 2013; the implementation of the minimum wage; and the dismissal of Fouad Abdel-Alim, head of the Holding Company which oversees all public sector textile firms. The Egyptian cabinet tried to placate the workers by offering the bonuses, but the workers have vowed to continue their protests until all their demands are met.  The workers of Malhalla were instrumental in bringing down the Mubarak regime in 2011.

Victory for Ssangyong workers

In 2009, workers at the Ssangyong vehicle manufacturing plant in Korea went on a 77 day strike in protest against mass sackings. The strike ended in August 2009 and union leader, Han Sang Kyun was arrested and jailed. More information about the strike can be found here and here and about Han Sang Kyun’s release in 2012 here.  Some four years later, the Korean court of appeals has now ruled that the sackings were illegitimate. While Ssangyong may still appeal this decision to a higher court, this is still a victory for the Ssangyong workers who fought bravely and heroically.

Mass workers rally to defend our right to protest

The government of Victoria, a state in Australia, is trying to enact a law that will have the effect of preventing pickets and protests.  The law will:
1. Remove protections for peaceful assembly
2. Allow for up to two years’ imprisonment for persons returning to a banned protest or picket
3. Provide the Police and Protective Services Officers discretion to 'move on' protests
This comes at a time when the Federal Government is attacking unions through the recently announced Royal Commission into union corruption, and Australia’s strong union movement is being blamed for industry closures (see Toyota, SPC Ardmona and Qantas).  We must defend our right to organise.  We must defend our right to fight back.  Come to the rally
Tuesday 18 February at 10am
Assemble at Trades Hall, Cnr Victoria and Lygon Streets, Carlton
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