jiselle's blog

Three Pakistan mine workers killed at work

In the latest of a series of accidents at the coal mines in the Duki region of Balochistan in central Pakistan, three miners were poisoned to death earlier this month. Unfortunately these have not been the only deaths in the coal mines in this region and are an indicator of the dangerous working conditions that exist. For workers in Pakistan, death at the workplace is tragically too common (see here and here), while workers trying to improve wages and conditions routinely face repression (see here and here).

Palestinian teachers fight for their rights

Life under Israeli occupation is extremely hard for Palestinian workers and their families. While ending the Occupation is of utmost importance, workers also struggle to improve their lives through better wages and conditions. This week saw a major demonstration by Palestinian teachers in Ramallah against the Palestinian Authority in their fight for better wages and conditions. Tens of thousands of teachers participated in spite of the encirclement of Ramallah by Palestinian security forces to check ID cards of Palestinians on all public transport in order to stop teachers reaching the demonstration.

Iranian teachers’ union leader imprisoned

Last year saw massive mobilisations by Iranian teachers in support of job security, better conditions and pay. These actions by teachers occurred all across Iran. The reaction by the Iranian government has been swift and repressive as usual. The government harassed and arrested a number of the teachers’ organisers (see here and here). This week, Esmail Abdi, the General Secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, was sentenced to six years in jail for his role in these industrial actions.
Free Esmail Abdi! Organising is not a crime!

Workers in South Korean continue to mobilise

As previously reported, class struggle in South Korea intensified late last year with massive protests by workers and increasing repression by the government. In the middle of this month, the Korean Teachers Union was deregistered as part of the government ongoing offensive against unions. An unusual ‘ghost’ protest was held in Seoul to protest the government’s attack on the right to demonstrate, while a 20,000 strong demonstration was also held protesting against government policies. Meanwhile, two Kia motor workers continue their aerial protest for secure jobs in central Seoul.

Far right forces attack Indian universities

The current BJP government in India has initiated a set of ongoing changes to weaken workers’ rights in India. This has led to massive protest by workers all over India. The government is also waging a nationalist and xenophobic offensive against its enemies and minorities. Its youth wing, the ABVP and the fascist RSS group are at the forefront of this offensive. In the last couple of weeks, a number of students and academics have been arrested for ‘anti Indian sentiments’ amid a push by these far right forces to repress opponents (see here and here). Solidarity for Indian students and academics has been global (see here and here).

A personal account of refugee repression in Australia

As previously reported, the prospect of returning hundreds of sick refugees to the prisons camps in Nauru, sparked widespread protests in Australia. While the Australian government temporarily backed down, their commitment to a policy of repression remains. This week, an Iranian journalist held in the Manus Island, PNG, prison camp detailed the cruelty of the current system and the toll it is taking on refugees. Protests continue against the government’s policies.

Indian car workers demonstrate in Gurgaon

The regions of Gurgaon and Manesar, near the Indian capital of New Dehli, are huge industrial areas that employ millions of people. The workers at the car plant of Maruti Suzuki staged a number of heroic actions before they were brutally repressed by the government (see 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015). Nevertheless, workers are still rebelling against the brutal conditions of these new workplaces. Earlier this month, thousands of auto workers rallied to protest against repression, low wages and for the right to organise. Meanwhile, the campaign to release the imprisoned Pricol 8 continues.

Iranians workers released but others jailed

As reported last week, some of the workers that had been arrested at the Khatoon Abad Copper Mines earlier this month had been released. This week, all the other workers have also been released. While free, it is probable that they will be charged in the near future, therefore solidarity is still needed. In an unrelated matter, this week, Davoud Razavi, a member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed Syndicate), was sentenced to five years in prison. His ‘crime’ was for taking part in workers’ demonstrations.

Syrian uprising crushed from all sides

The uprising in Syria, as part of the regional Arab Spring, consisted of nationwide demonstrations against increasing levels of inequality, corruption and repression, by working class movements. The brutal response of the Syrian government, and the subsequent involvement of a range of reactionary and imperialist actors, has led to the destruction of most of the country. The biggest losers have been workers, their families and communities. Nevertheless, there are still working class communities fighting for justice and peace. 

Flags of convenience equal exploitation

Over the last few months, Australian unions have fought against the giant energy and manufacturing company Alcoa as it tried to undercut wages and conditions by importing workers paid at a much lesser rate. The Maritime Union of Australia is fully aware of this ‘Race to the Bottom’ and the use of ‘Flags of Convenience’ ships to break unions and force down working conditions. Just recently an example was documented of workers being put in danger inside the hull of a ship, while in another case, a ship has been allowed in, whose captain is accused of ‘disappearing’ two of its crew members. Against companies like Alcoa, and in a globally integrated industry like shipping, only by workers organising internationally and developing a ‘Global Picketline’, can they fight back effectively.

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