General strike announced in Turkey in wake of peace protest bombing

A number of labour unions and federations in Turkey have called for 3 days of mourning followed by two days of strike action following the bombing of a peace march in Ankara, the nation’s capital.  The International Trade Union Confederation has put out a statement condemning the terrorist attack, which occurred on October 11 and has killed more than 90 people, with others injured.  The peace rally was calling for an end to the renewed conflict between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government.  Thousands rallied on Sunday 12 October to remember those that died in the bombings.

Resistance groups in Syria oppose renewed imperialist intervention

As previously reported, Russia and Iran have increased their suport to the government of Syria because of geopolitical interests and not to fight supposed terrorists. The reality is that this military activity will only increase the suffering of working class people in Syria who have to contend with constant bombings (see video). A number of resistance groups within Syria have recently put out a statement condemning imperialist interventions which work against the popular uprisings. In the north of Syria there is increasing co-operation between Kurdish and Syrian resistance forces. In Melbourne Australia a demonstration will be held on Saturday October 18 calling for the end of all imperialist bombings in Syria.

Cambodian garment workers take industrial action for living wages

The struggle for a living wage by Cambodian garment workers hit the world’s headlines in January 2014 when police killed five workers who were protesting for better wages and conditions. Despite this repression, workers have continued their mobilisations demanding a living wage. This week, garment workers again took to the streets protesting the government’s offer of US $140/month as totally inadequate. The garment sector is a globally integrated industry where companies use different countries to drive down wages. Only a co-ordinated international campaign can defeat their strategy.

Chinese workers increasingly taking industrial action to defend their rights

As previously reported, the slowing Chinese economy is leading to an increasing number of factory closures which have a negative impact on workers. Pressure on profits and constant cutting of costs produce toxic working environments for many Chinese workers. A recent report has detailed how strikes and protest actions by workers have continued to increase in the third quarter of this year, especially in the manufacturing sector. Reports also indicate that workers are becoming more desperate while police repression increases.

Malaysia Airlines attack on workers’ conditions part of a systemic assault

Following the losses of two planes in less than 12 months, Malaysia Airlines has undergone major internal reforms. A key component of these reforms is an attack on workers’ wages and conditions. This attack is part of an ongoing assault by airline companies globally as they try to make workers pay for the global economic crisis. In neighbouring Philippines, a new round of struggle has opened up with Philippines Airlines once again trying to casualise its workforce. In Europe, Air France is targeting pilots’ wages and conditions. Only through co-ordinated actions across airline companies will workers be able to stop this race to the bottom.

Australian unions also protest against repression of Iranian workers

As reported previously, the recent death of Shahrokh Zamani in an Iranian prison has shone a light on the repressive nature of the Iranian government and has galvanised support for labour activists in Iran. The peak body of trade unions in Victoria, the Victorian Trades Hall Council recently passed a motion condemning the suppression and imprisonment of Iranian trade unionists and its support for Iranian workers’ demands for living wages and the right to organise. A demonstration in support of Iranian workers has been organised for Monday October 19 at 10am, Victoria State Parliament. 

More Palestinians continue to be killed resisting Israeli occupation

Further clashes this week between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers and settlers has seen a growing number of Palestinian casualties. The stabbings of Israeli people by Palestinians is a symptom of the desperation that the great majority of Palestinians are experiencing due to the restrictive actions of the Israeli occupation. Palestinian resistance will continue to grow as long as Israeli occupation and exploitation of Palestinian lands continues.

West Bengal PepsiCo workers still fighting after 3 years

Workers at bottling plants in West Bengal have been fighting the company’s union busting attempts for over two years. The dispute started in early 2013 when over 160 workers were fired for forming their own union. The struggle continued into 2014 as some of the dismissed workers gained the support of international unions. There is a new campaign by global labour unions to pressure PepsiCo to respect workers’ rights, reinstate the dismissed workers and recognise their union. Against global companies such as PepsiCo, co-ordinated industrial actions across the company will provide the most effective way for workers to fight against the Race to the Bottom.

Global Day of Action against Trade Union Repression

Workers are prevented from organising by capitalists and governments globally. By keeping us unorganised, they can pay us less, make us work harder, and make more profits for themselves. We face fines, dismissals, beatings, rapes and even murder. Many labour activists end up in jail because of their organising activities. By keeping us weak, they can increase casualisation and contracting out. That is why we fight against precarious work. That is why we fight against trade union repression. Join in the global day against trade union repression on Monday 16 of November.

Korean Ssangyong workers in solidarity trip to Mumbai, India

The heroic and bitter struggle of the Ssangyong workers has been well documented over the last few years (see here, here, here and here), but the struggle for justice is still continuing. This month a delegation of dismissed Ssangyong Korean workers went to Mumbai, India in an effort to pressure the Indian owner of Ssangyong to abide by previous agreements. The Koreans are using this trip to meet a number of local unions and labour organisations to forge greater links. In such a globalised industry as the auto sector, only global organising by workers will be able to raise the standards for all workers worldwide. In another part of India, in the industrial hub of Gurgaon near New Dehli, hundreds of auto workers employed by Bridgestone are in a hard struggle against union busting.

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