jiselle's blog

AAWL Public Meeting - Organise for a global living wage

In our current globalised economy, workers are always told to be globally competitive, achieve world’s best practice, and not to price ourselves out of the market. What all these phrases mean for us is that we need to work longer, for less and harder. One of the ways employers achieve this is by weakening our ability to organise collectively via outsourcing, sub-contracting and casualising our work status. We need to organise and defeat these tactics. You are invited to a public meeting to discuss the best ways to fight against this offensive and achieve a global living wage. To download leaflet, click here.

6pm, Wednesday 4 June
Trades Hall, Lygon st
Carlton, Victoria, Australia

Statement Against the Thai Military Coup

It is the 12th time since 1932 that the Thai ruling elite has used the military to suppress popular discontent against the inequality and corruption of Thai society

This latest coup follows the one in 2006, the mass shooting of demonstrators in 2010 and is a part the ongoing divisions in Thailand since the election of the first Thaksin Shinawatra government.

This coup is an attack on workers and their right to organise.

Workers in Thailand have been paying the price of industrialisation for too long. Many global companies have relocated their factories to Thailand to take advantage of low wages and inadequate laws on health & safety and workplace standards.

AAWL supports the right to organise and demands economic justice for workers and their communities in Thailand.

AAWL asks workers everywhere to give immediate practical support to labour and human rights activists in Thailand. We ask all genuine unions in the world to protest against this latest military coup and for democratic rights.

We also demand:
•    that the military not attack demonstrators and urge Thai soldiers not to follow orders
•    the resignation of the coup leaders and the restoration of democratic government
•    the release of all detained and jailed protesters and political prisoners
•    the abolishment of Thailand’s Lèse Majesté laws (Article 112)

Don’t shoot - End the dictatorship - Release all prisoners - All power to the working people

Workers Change the World

Action needed by workers to defeat the latest military coup in Thailand

This week saw the imposition of martial law and then the establishment of a fully-fledged military coup headed by army general Prayuth Chan-ocha. This coup follows on from months of political instability and a deadlock between different factions of the Thai ruling elite. The objective of this military coup is to hit the labour and democratic forces inside and outside the Red Shirt movement. The military wants to quash the growing militancy of sections of the Red Shirts and restore profitability and economic stability to Thailand’s business class. Latest news is that Somyot's wife and son have been detained by the military. Thailand’s working class has expanded massively in the last decade, such as the automotive and manufacturing/industrial sectors. It is up to our working class sisters and brothers to come out in strikes and occupations in order to defeat the coup.

No to the military
Free all political prisoners
Organising is not a crime


Exact death toll of North Korean building collapse a mystery

Tens, if not hundreds of people, are believed to have been killed when a major apartment block collapsed in the capital Pyongyang due to substandard construction. Uncertainty also surrounds whether the building had been recently completed or was still under construction. The significance of this collapse was highlighted only some days afterwards with an official ceremony to commemorate the dead. In North Korea no independent unions are allowed, and reports point to substandard conditions and poor wages, whether in the north on the border with China or in the joint South Korean industrial zone of Kaesong.

Turkish mine workers bury their dead while still waiting for justice

With the burial of the final dead miners, attention is now shifting to bring those responsible for this massacre to justice. While a number of people have been detained, and three arrested, many workers, given the government’s record, are very sceptical that a government-run inquiry will produce the truth. Workers and unions see that while individual operators and managers may have contributed to this catastrophe, it is actually the system of wholesale privatisations, savage cost cutting, and a brutal race for higher profits that are the real drivers of this and other disasters. It is only us that can put a stop to this system, and in the meantime protests and repression continues.

International solidarity day for sacked Filipino union activists

Earlier this month, 24 Filipino workers were sacked by NXP Semiconductors. These workers were all rank and file delegates who made up the executive of the NXP in-house union. They were involved in negotiations over wage increases and permanency status for workers. NXP is a global electronics company that operates in more than 25 countries and employs over 5,000 workers just in the Philippines. These sackings are a clear case of a global company engaging in the brutal ‘race to the bottom’ where workers’ wages and conditions are continually cut in a never ending quest for more profits. Monday the 26th of May is a global day of action against NXP.
Click here for Melbourne rally details.

More deaths at shipbreaking yards in Bangladesh and India

The carnage of workers at shipbreaking yards in South Asia is continuing with at least 15 workers being killed and many others injured. In the latest incidents, two workers died at Alang ship-breaking yard in Bhavnagar, India when steel plates fell on them, while another four workers were killed when a gas cylinder exploded in a shipbreaking yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh. These deaths are the consequences of an industry where companies have pushed the costs of dismantling the ships onto the impoverished workers of South Asia. The profits of these shipping companies are dripping with the blood of countless injured and dead workers.

Samsung’s anti union policies claims another victim

As reported previously, Samsung has a terrible OHS record, and has historically been one of the most anti union companies in South Korea. Last week, Ho-seok YEOM, the chair of the local Samsung Electronics Service union committed suicide due to the unrelenting pressure that the company put him under. Yeom’s chapter of the Korean Metal Workers Union was the first mass membership union in Samsung that had survived from its launch of last year. Mr Yeon left a suicide note urging his fellow union members to continue the fight till victory. At the hospital where his body was lying in wake, workers were attacked by police and 25 union members arrested. They are now taking industrial action.

Chinese labour activist back in court accused of organising workers

Wu Guijun has been in jail for a year waiting to be tried for ‘gathering a crowd and disturbing the order of public transportation’. This was in relation to a demonstration held by workers at Diweixin, a furniture maker in May 2013. The workers were protesting against the company’s refusal to meet with them over the planned closure of the plant. Wu’s supporters were again present at the hearing as they had been before. Wu faces up to 5 years in jail if convicted. His trial is a part of an ongoing pattern of harassment against workplace labour activists in China.

Over 300 coal miners murdered in Soma, Turkey in drive for profits

On Tuesday the 13th of May an explosion at the Soma coal mine unleashed an inferno that killed an estimated 302 workers. This fire happened at a mine that was privatised in 2005, it had ‘passed’ recent health and safety inspections, and the company, Soma Holding, recently announced that since privatisation, the cost of producing a ton of coal had been reduced from US$140 down to US$24. In addition, most miners are either casual, unregistered workers or barely earn the minimum wage. The Soma mine is a crime scene. These hundreds of workers were murdered on the altar of slashing costs and higher profits. The anger of workers in Turkey was immediately apparent with major demonstrations all over Turkey. Workers’ anger was magnified by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s callous attitude to the deaths and one of his aides attack on a miner held down by police. When Erdogan visited Soma, he was forced to shelter in a shop from enraged workers and family members.

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