aawl mini-news

Another worker dies at giant mine in West Papua

One worker was killed and another one injured in a bulldozing accident at the Freeport-McMoRan Inc giant Grasberg open pit copper mine in West Papua. Notwithstanding the huge and prolonged strike that workers carried out in 2011 (see here, here and here) such deaths are not isolated incidents. Last month, another worker was run over and killed by a mining truck at the company's power plant area in Kuala Kencana – a town located near Grasberg mine. In 2013, there was a major accident where 28 workers were killed when a tunnel collapsed.

Honda workers' hunger strike enters second month

The long running dispute of the dismissed Honda workers in Rajasthan, India continues amid strong opposition by the company and local governments. Due to the hospitalisation of some of the initial hunger strikers, new workers have taken their place in continuing the fast. Workers have also renewed their agitation among the industrial belts of northern India, leading the company to issue defamation writs against some of the workers. This struggle is continuing to garner international support.

Factory closes in bid to destroy union

Faremo International is a garment manufacturer that employs close to 1,000 workers in the Philippines Cavite Export Processing Zone. This week it announced it was going to relocate to Vietnam and Cambodia. In the weeks prior, it had shifted most of its machinery out of the factory and had given a list of union members to other garment factories in the area so as to blacklist the best organisers. The workers in this factory had fought long and hard under harsh conditions to organise and win a collective agreement. This move by Faremo International once again shows how companies will use their global reach to undermine local groups of workers. Only by organising and taking co-ordinated action across countries can workers begin to challenge the power of these global companies.

Far right forces taking advantage of King’s death

With the death of King Bhumibol on 13 October, the military junta has declared a month long period of mourning.  This involves encouraging people to wear black, a ban on most entertainment activities, and no criticism to be tolerated. Far right forces in Thailand are now trying to exploit this period by targeting people who they feel are not being respectful enough. A climate of fear is being created with far right mobs attacking alleged enemies of the king, with a minister calling for critics to be ‘socially sanctioned’. There have also been claims that far right Thai activists will travel to Europe to eliminate those exiles who have been accused of Lese Majeste in the past.

Free all political prisoners in Thailand!

Abolish Article 112!

End the military dictatorship!

Situation for imprisoned refugees continues to deteriorate

This week saw the release of another damning report on the treatment of detained refugees in the concentration camp on Nauru. The Australian Government, as usual, denied all evidence, and promised to continue the harsh approach regardless of the costs to the people themselves. Resistance and opposition to these policies continues, whether by refugee activists or the refugees themselves. Health workers have now won the right to speak out. In the first week end of November, pro refugee rallies will occur in all major cities of Australia, see here for Melbourne event.

Palestinians continue to be killed under Occupation

The occupation of Palestine by Israeli forces is so pervasive that acts of violence by military forces against Palestinians are a daily occurrence. This week, two young Palestinians, 15 year old Khaled Bahar Ahmed Bahar and 19 year old Raheeq Yousef, were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. In other incidents, hundreds of Palestinians were militarily forced from their homes and workplaces to make way for Israeli tourists. Meanwhile, hunger strikes against Israel’s repressive administration detention system continue unabated.

Union health & safety conference Melbourne, Australia

A major conference for health and safety representatives, will be held in Melbourne this coming Tuesday, the 25th of October. Workers all over the world share a common demand for safety in the workplace. Millions of workers die, get injured or suffer major illnesses every year due to unsafe workplaces. The conference aims to empower workers to be able to better fight for health & safety in their workplaces.

New Zealand latest country to ban Asbestos

At the start of this month, new legislation came into effect in New Zealand effectively banning the importation of asbestos into the country. This is a major victory for the trade union movement in New Zealand who have campaigned hard to ban this hazardous substance. Unfortunately, globally, around 2 million tons of asbestos are produced annually, causing more than 100,000 deaths per year. As the experience of Australia shows, even once asbestos is banned, the toxic legacy of its use will continue to kill people for decades into the future.

Over 20 migrant workers killed in China

This week, 22 migrant workers were killed in the eastern city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province when the four buildings they were sleeping in suddenly collapsed in the middle of the night. The buildings had already been condemned for demolition, but the owners were renting them out as sleeping quarters to migrant workers employed in the nearby factories. A tragedy like this once again highlights that the cost of China’s industrial expansion has been borne by its workers who are forced to endure long hours, low pay, and face hazardous conditions both at their workplaces and in their living quarters.

South Korean class struggle intensifies

The transport workers strike that began earlier this week is holding firm against increasing repression from the government. In addition to this dispute, the railways and subway workers have been on strike since late last month. The length of these strikes, and the support they are receiving from other workers, is an indication of the anger that Korean workers have against a system that keeps piling the pressure in terms of higher workloads and declining living standards. Workers all around the world have demonstrated their solidarity to their Korean comrades, while the imprisoned KCTU leader, Han Sang Gyun, has received an international labour award. The outcome of these strikes will have a significant effect on Korean workers for years to come.

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