Two airline workers murdered in Pakistan

In response to plans to privatise Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and cut workers’ conditions and militancy, workers at the airline have been on strike for over a month. In response, the government initially provided military pilots to the PIA to keep aeroplanes flying and then, as the workers held firm, it passed the Essential Services Act curtailing civil liberties. Earlier this week, the Pakistani government went further by brutally repressing a demonstration by workers with two workers being shot dead and many others injured. Protests against this savagery continue in Pakistan.

The exception of the rescued Chinese miners

At the end of January, four Chinese gypsum miners were rescued from a mine collapse after 36 days buried underground. The rescue effort that saved them was massive and highly publicised, but it could not do anything for a number of other miners. As previously reported, Chinese mines are among the most dangerous in the world. It is hoped that greater focus on disasters such as this one in the city of Linyi, Shandong Province, will lead to greater health and safety measures for miners.

Korean workers facing jail and fines

At the end of last year, workers and other activists staged a series of demonstrations to protest against the government’s increasingly authoritarian measures and legislation to weaken the workers’ movement. While these actions mobilised hundreds of thousands of workers, the reaction from the government has been very heavy. Many unionists have been arrested, including the leader of the KCTU, Han Sang Kyun, while the government now plans to fine demonstrators as well.
Free Hang Sang Kyun.
Organising is not a crime.

Syrian crisis continues to expand for workers

The war in Syria in 2016 has continued with increased intensity, creating a new wave of refugees fleeing the devastation of war. The increased intervention by Iran and Russia has now pushed another reactionary power, Saudi Arabia, to announce that they are ready to intervene directly by sending in their own troops. The impact of the wars in Syria and Iraq has already spread to the south east of Turkey. These imperialist and reactionary interventions are increasingly threatening the popular uprising in Syria with devastating consequences for all working class communities

Iranian workers continue to fight

Last year saw a succession of protests by labour groups, spearheaded by teachers (see here and here) who successfully mobilised across the country. Unfortunately, many labour organisers received long jail sentences and some, like Shahrokh Zamani, died in prison due to the harsh jail conditions. This year, hundreds of workers at the Khatoon Abad Copper Mines went on strike over low pay and insecure employment. In response, the government arrested 28 workers from the smelter division. A solidarity campaign is being initiated.

Workers facing greater repression by Thailand military

As reported previously, there has been no let up by the military junta in Thailand against labour and human rights activists. A prominent human rights activist, Sirawit Serithiwat, was lucky to survive an abduction by government security forces. In a separate case, an ethnic minority activist, Maitree Charoensuepkun, from the Lahu community was recently charged for insulting the military. Workers and labour activists are also increasingly feeling the pressure, with labour activists being tried for defamation or being followed and harassed by the military.
Free Somyot.  Free all political prisoners in Thailand.
Abolish Article 112.
End military dictatorship

Refugees in Australia facing further punishment

The High Court of Australia this week once again confirmed the legality of imprisoning asylum seekers and refugees indefinitely. This latest ruling is the most recent of a long line of attacks over the last 15 years. Over 200 people currently in Australia for medical reasons, are in danger of being sent to the concentration camp of Nauru. Major demonstrations around Australia were held to protest this latest injustice, while churches have declared that they will protect these refugees. More protests are planned including one by teachers around Australia.

IMF wants to pay migrant workers even less

Migrant workers are one of the most exploited sectors of the working class around the world. Their conditions have been well documented before (see here, here and here), with governments and employers taking advantage of their vulnerable social and legal status. Last month, the International Monetary Fund produced a report recommending that migrant workers be paid less than the minimum wage in Europe. This represents another attack on workers by capitalists who want to make workers pay for the economic crisis that is affecting the capitalist system.

Korean workers stage general strike

On Wednesday 16 December, tens of thousands of Korean workers staged a general strike to protest against the ongoing repression of the labour movement. Workers from a number of different sectors took action for varying lengths of time in 16 provinces. In addition, the South Korean government stopped international unionists from visiting the imprisoned KCTU leader, Hang Sang Kyun. Hang Sang has now being charged with sedition. More protest demonstrations are occurring.

Iranian teacher activist released from prison

Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi was released last Tuesday after judicial authorities at Evin prison agreed to temporarily release him on condition he terminate his hunger strike. Mahmoud had been in prison since mid-October and had been on a hunger strike for 21 days. The situation for workers in Iran is very bad with many workers facing insecure work, poverty wages and the repressive apparatus of the state if they organise to improve their conditions. Labour activists, like Shahrokh Zamani earlier this year, also face the real danger of dying in prison.

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