Filipino workers facing unrelenting terror

Since the start of President Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs’ in 2016, it is now estimated that over 20,000 people have been murdered by police, paramilitary units or hit squads. Almost all the victims have been from working class communities in the Philippines. A reign of terror now grips millions of workers and their families as armed gunmen daily roam their neighbourhoods looking for new targets. The perpetrators enjoy total impunity. President Duterte recently upped the stakes even further by now offering a bounty of US $380 for any ‘communist rebel’ killed as well as encouraging soldiers to mutilate their prisoners.

End the War on Drugs! 

Stop the killings! 

End the impunity!


Five workers killed in Indian shipyard

Last week, five workers were killed and another 11 hospitalised when an explosion ripped through the inside of a ship in the area that they were working, in the southern city of Cochin. The incident is still under investigation but it is believed that a build-up of acetylene gas and an exposed welding flame caused the explosion. Health and safety conditions in many Indian workplaces are substandard with lax enforcement of the rules. In this instance, it seems that the owners of the shipyard had obtained a OHS ‘self-certification’ which allows companies to self-regulate, and therefore cut costs.


Iranian workers win their wages back

After almost 8 months of bitter dispute, the workers at the Haft Tapeh sugar complex in Shush, Iran, have managed to secure the payment in full of their wage arrears, dating back to July 2017. The tipping point in this struggle was the threat by the workers earlier this month to take over the complex from management. While getting their wages paid, there are a number of other outstanding issues. These include that daily contract workers also be paid the wages owed to them and that management recognise their union, which the workers formed in 2008.
Free for all political prisoners in Iran! Freedom for workers to organise!


Workers continue to face devastation in Syria

The war in Syria shows no signs of abating as new players and new battle fronts open up in a competition among regional players to increase their influence. At the border with Turkey, the battle for the Afrin region continues to rage, in the neighbouring province of Idlib constant bombardments have led to new rebel alliances, while in eastern Ghouta district hundreds of people are being massacred under constant bombardment. The continuation of war into an 8th year is a disaster for working class communities in Syria, though defiance and resistance by civilians still occurs.


Workers of the world march for IWD

International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 has a long history and is a reflection of women’s efforts towards attaining gender equality. IWD originated in the USA in 1908, when women garment workers held demonstrations protesting against their appalling and dangerous working conditions. Women's struggles is union business. The sphere of unpaid and paid work is also part of this movement, and labour activists around the world are still fighting for gender equality at the workplace. AAWL, in solidarity with workers internationally, will celebrate IWD on the 8th of March in Melbourne, Australia, see here for rally details. 3CR Radio will host 24 hours of women voices and issues.

AAWL and APHEDA will also be co-hosting a public meeting – Women Organising Globally.  Featuring a panel of local and international organisers, the discussion will focus on women currently organising in unions and communities across our region for workplace rights and gender equality.  For facebook event, click here.

Time: 6pm-8pm
Venue: MUA Auditorium, 46-54 Ireland Street, West Melbourne


Journalists get life sentence in Turkey

Last week, three journalists in Turkey were sentenced to life in prison over allegations of their involvement in the 2016 coup attempt. Their alleged crime was to have broadcast and printed ‘subliminal messages’ inciting people to overthrow the government. Three other people also received life sentences, while another journalist Deniz Yucel was released after a year in detention following the intervention of the German government. These convictions quite clearly show the level of repression that exists in Turkey at the moment and is a clear danger for labour and human rights activists in that country.


Workers around the world support Cambodian activist

Moeun Tola is a long-time activist on the side of the Cambodian working class. Tola, with two other activists, was recently charged with stealing funds in a clearly politically motivated attack to stifle opposition to the current Government. In a clear statement of support around the world, more than 30 labour and human right organisations have joined to call on the Cambodian government to stop the persecution against activists like Moeun Tola.


Vale Zelda D’Aprano

This week, the union movement in Australia lost one of its historical leaders in Zelda D’Aprano. Zelda was iconised in 1969 in a photograph showing her chained to the Commonwealth Building in protest against women receiving less pay than men. Zelda left school early so that she could work and support her family. She soon learnt of the exploitation that workers, and especially women workers, faced. Zelda was a staunch labour activist all her life and continued to support labour campaigns even after she had retired.
In memory and solidarity.


Vale Simon Millar

On January 27 of this year, the labour movement in the state of Victoria, Australia, unexpectedly lost a long time fighter for the working class. Simon Millar was only 51, but had three decades of experience of activism in the community and the labour movement fighting against inequality, exploitation, injustice and repression. Just before he died, Simon wrote an article on the long running Longford Esso/Exxon dispute that highlighted his deep understanding of the class struggle, and the need for workers to be united both at the national and international levels. Condolences to his family, friends and comrades.

In unity and solidarity


3CR Radio subscriber drive

For over 41years 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne, Australia has featured union, worker, indigenous, women’s, ethnic, environmental, music and other community programs that are not heard elsewhere. As a community radio station, 3CR Radio funding comes from its listeners. One of the ways you can keep the radio station on air is by becoming a member. Asia Pacific Currents is AAWL’s weekly radio program on 3CR Community Radio. Support labour struggles, become a member and subscribe to 3CR Radio.


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