Australian workers refuse to pay fines for striking

Thirty three workers in Western Australia may lose their cars, homes or other property, after a court ordered bailiffs to seize the workers’ property for refusing to pay fines for striking. The workers were fined up to $10,000 each for an eight-day strike on a Woodside liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Pilbara in October 2008. Workers went on strike to protect their redundancy payment entitlements and to get a guarantee of their re-employment on the next phase of the project.  This is the first time in Australian history that individual workers face seizure of property by a court for taking strike action. It shows how the laws serve the capitalist class, criminalising strike action and removing the most powerful way for workers' to defend themselves.

Workers Memorial Day: Workers in Bangladesh still fighting for justice

With the 1st year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse just a couple of weeks away, the issue of justice for workers is very stark. While the death of over a thousands workers made international headlines, the companies involved in this massacre have been negligent in paying compensation to the survivors and families of the dead. A similar situation is evident for the survivors of the Tasreen factory fire of over 18 months ago where workers are still waiting for compensation. Meanwhile, the murder of Mr. Aminul Islam, a garment worker organiser, is still unsolved.

There will be a vigil to remember the workers that died at Rana Plaza, in Melbourne Australia. It will be held on Thursday 24 April at 12:30pm at Victoria Trades Hall. Download the leaflet here.

 

On April 28 unions and workers around the world pause to not only remember those who lose their lives due to work incidents and disease – but to fight for the living. This means fighting for better regulation, increased government compliance activity, and achieving safer workplaces for all.This year, April 28 falls on a Monday and the VTHC will be holding an event at the Trades Hall at 10.30am. We invite Health and Safety Reps, delegates and workers to come along.

Download AAWL's Workers' Memorial Day leaflet here.

Myanmar migrant workers win strike at Thai garment factory

In late March, more than 500 migrant workers from Myanmar went on strike at their garment factory in Mae Sot, North Thailand. They were paid less than minimum wage, fined for taking sick leave and receive no assistance or compensation for occupational injuries or disease. After a week on strike they won most of their demands. There are an estimated 2 million migrants from Myanmar working in Thailand, with low wages, poor occupational safety and almost no social security. An article this week also criticized the four-year limit on how long Myanmar workers can stay in Thailand.

New documentary tells of Samsung’s occupational cancer victims

“Another Promise” tells the story of Hwang Yu-mi, who died of leukemia after working in a Samsung semiconductor factory in Korea. Approximately 200 workers have alleged that they contracted occupational diseases from working in Samsung. More than 50 have died – almost all of them young women. Supporters for the Health and Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPS) has been fighting for more than seven years to end the spate of occupational diseases in Samsung electronics factories. Samsung not only denies responsibility for the spate of deaths among its workers, but fiercely resists workers’ efforts to organise unions.

New report exposes “the ugly truth about Rio Tinto”

Global Union IndustriAll has released a report highlighting 41 deaths at Rio-Tinto operations around the world in 2013 – including 33 in a tunnel collapse in Indonesia in May 2013. IndustriAll also highlighted two uranium spills at Rio Tinto mines last year, and Rio Tinto’s role in dispossessing people of their land. IndustriAll co-ordinates unions in global campaigns against Rio Tinto. Workers in other global companies must also organise internationally to fight global capital.

Celebrate & fight on May Day

May Day has been celebrated internationally since 1886 as the day for workers to unite.
With the continuing intensification of the capitalist crisis globally, the significance of May Day and the commonality of our issues has never been more apparent.

March in solidarity with workers in struggle everywhere
Send us your May Day solidarity message to solidarity@aawl.org.au
 

 

Melbourne May Day Solidarity Rally
Wednesday 1 May at 5:00pm, State Library Swanston Street Melbourne
March to 8 hour monument

Download leaflet here
Facebook event

Other May Day events in Melbourne include a lunchtime event and a march on Sunday the 4th of March
 

More than 60,000 workers strike at Chinese shoe factories

Some sixty thousand workers went on strike at seven factories of the multinational Taiwanese shoe manufacturer Yue Yuen, in the Southern Chinese city of Dongguan on 14 April. Workers demanded their full social security entitlements and housing fund contributions. Workers from Yue Yuen first took strike action on 5 April, blocking a bridge to press their demands. Hundreds of riot police suppressed the demonstration. About 10 workers were arrested, as well as staff of an NGO providing legal advice. Four workers were beaten and hospitalised.

Workers win union elections at Maruti Suzuki in India

After years of struggle, union activists have won 11 of the 12 seats in the union election at Maruti Suzuki factory in the Gurgaon industrial zone, near New Delhi. This win is enormously significant, given the constant attacks against this union since it began organising workers in 2002. 147 members of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union are still in jail, where they allege they’ve been tortured by the authorities.  The campaign continues for their release.

More workers are killed in the shipyards of Bangladesh - Lives before profits

While the terrible conditions for garments workers in Bangladesh are now routinely discussed in the world’s media, they are not the only workers suffering a terrible price in the ‘Race to the Bottom’. The industry of shipbreaking is concentrated in the three South Asian countries of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. These workplaces are notoriously anti union, conditions are appalling and deaths of workers frequent. Early this month, another four workers were killed in a workplace accident in Chittagong, Bangladesh. History has shown that only by workers themselves forming independent unions can this slaughter of human beings be brought to an end.

Trade unionist in jail in Iran close to death - Free Shahrokh Zamani

The situation for workers, and in particular, worker activists continues to remain grim in Iran, with many in jail. Shahrokh Zamani, a member of the Syndicate of Paint Workers of Tehran and the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers Organisations was sentenced to 11years of jail in 2011 for the crime of labour organising. Shahrokh has now been on hunger strike for a month in a prison in Karaj city. There is an international campaign to demand his unconditional release.

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