aawl mini-news

Killings in the Philippines hit new record

The vicious and brutal ‘war on drugs’ that President Duterte unleashed (see here and here), since the start of his Presidency, continues to ravage Filipino working class communities. In the first five months of his rule, the number of people killed in this campaign has now reached 5,000, whether from police or right wing death squads. Duterte has in the past threatened to prosecute those who stand in the way of this campaign, but recently he has upped the pressure by threatening to kill human rights activists who oppose his war on drugs.

No to the War on Drugs! No to extrajudicial impunity!  Stop the killings!

Korean workers stage another general strike

The embattled and scandal ridden government of President Park Geun-hye attempted to stop the planned general strike by Korean workers by declaring any strike action by workers as illegal. On the 30 November, over 200,000 workers demonstrated in central Seoul in a strong and defiant protest against the continuing attempts by the Park administration to attack and weaken the workers’ movement. While President Park has stated that she will consider resigning, another huge protest occurred in Seoul on Saturday 3 December.

Workers, political elections and religion in Indonesia

In the last few weeks there have been huge demonstrations by far right Islamic groups calling for the resignation of Jakarta’s governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, for blasphemy. While the demonstrations on the 4 November and on the 2 December, saw hundreds of thousands of working class people take part, many of the workers involved were not part of these religious groups. For many workers, their anger against Ahok is related to his policies of large slum clearance program which has affected many poor working class communities in Jakarta. In addition, trade unions are protesting against the inadequate new minimum wage for the Jakarta region, though this has proved divisive for the workers’ movement.

Australian unions rally to defend multiculturalism

After the election in the USA, and witnessing the rise of the far right in Australia, the union movement - and particularly union rank and file members - need to take a lead in the fight against racism. Trades Hall has partnered with a number of unions and community groups to hold a rally and festival celebrating and defending multiculturalism. Join a free family friendly street party celebrating the great diversity of our society. There will be music, food, cultural exhibitions and rides for the kids.

Global Street Party - Saturday 10 December - International Human Rights Day
12pm - Rally against Racism at State Library, Melbourne with a march to Trades Hall
1pm - Festival at Trades Hall, Lygon Street Carlton

Invite your fellow workers and bring the whole family for a fun afternoon in support for our multicultural society.

Pakistani workers facing a wave of repression

The last few weeks have not been kind to workers in Pakistan. Following the fire at the shipbreaking yard a month ago, injured workers and families of those who died have not yet received any compensation. The 1,500 workers employed at the PepsiCo plant in Lahore are still fighting for secure jobs and the right to collectively bargain. In another manufacturing company, Schneider Electric, 17 workers were instantly dismissed for demanding a wage rise. Just this week, over 60 workers of the luxury Quetta Serena Hotel, were arrested for holding a gathering outside the hotel premises in support of their right to bargain.

Workers continue to suffer in Syria and Iraq

The suffering and casualty toll to working class communities has only increased in the last few months with the latest military offensives in Aleppo, Syria and Mosul, Iraq. Both of the wars in Syria and Iraq have seen the involvement of multiple reactionary and imperialist forces. The last few months have seen many developments among these various forces such as Turkey, Iraq, Turkey and Iraq, Iraqi Kurds, Iranian Kurds, Syrian rebels, Egypt, Russia and the USA as each tries to position itself to gain advantage over some of their rivals. Under the pressures of these manoeuvrings, many of the original popular movements in places like Aleppo are being strangled, while international calls to stop the bombing only have a limited effect.

Dictator’s body buried amid widespread protests

The period under the dictatorial rule of President Marcos between 1972 until 1981 is characterised by the routine beatings, arrests and murders of labour and human rights activists. President Marcos was expelled via a popular uprising in 1981 and died in the USA a few years later. The current Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte reignited past wounds by allowing Marcos’ remains to be buried in the ‘Cemetery of the Heroes’ in Metro Manila. This decision provoked mass opposition and protest by many human rights and labour groups who see Marcos as a dictator and a murderer. The protests have also surprisingly generated widespread opposition from a younger generation who see this burial as an attempt to re-write Filipino history.

AAWL Film Fundraiser – The First Grader

AAWL is concluding this year’s series of film fundraisers by turning its focus to Africa with the screening of ‘The First Grader’. The film takes a personal story to focus on the failed Mau Mau national liberation movement and the struggle by former activists to be recognised in an independent Kenya. Check out the facebook event page here.

Wednesday 7 December at 6pm
LongPlay, 318 St Georges Road, North Fitzroy
Tickets are $20 waged/ $10 concession

Scores of workers killed in another unsafe workplace

At least 40 workers were killed on Thursday 24 November, when a construction platform at a power station in the Yichun, Jiangxi province, collapsed. Many other workers were injured. The cause for such a catastrophic collapse is not yet known, but this is just the latest of a series of disasters to hit Chinese workers (see here and here). A relentless drive for profits combined with the repression of independent unions create a deadly combination for workers in China.

Fire kills more garment workers in India

Earlier this month, a fire at an illegally run garment factory in a residential area of Sahibabad, New Delhi, killed 13 workers. The fire occurred early in the morning and killed the workers as they were asleep in the factory building itself. In India’s rapid industrialisation over the last two decades, it is the workers who are paying the price with many fatal accidents occurring all over India. Amid the carnage, some sections of the workers’ movement like the garment workers around Bangalore, have been able to make improvements through direct action and workplace organising.

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