jiselle's blog

International Women Day – March 8

International Working Women’s Day is a day of struggle for the rights of women. Women have the right to work in whatever industry they choose, free from stigma, discrimination, and state harassment – this includes sex work. The history of IWD is recognised as starting in 1909 in New York, USA, when tens of thousands of women garment workers, mainly immigrants from a variety of countries, took to the streets demanding better pay and conditions as well as equality and respect. Marches in support of women’s rights began in March the following year and in 1917 in Russia, it was women workers who on March 8 organised massive rallies with the slogans of ‘opposition to the war, high prices, and the situation of the woman worker’ that began the final collapse of Zsar dynasty and sparked the Russian revolution.

Marches and events for IWD will be held globally.

In Melbourne, Australia there are a series of events, see WRAW Fest 2019, as well as the demonstration on Friday March 8 at 5.30pm at the State Library.


Indonesian mine collapse kills scores of workers

A landslide and mine collapse at an unlicensed goldmine in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province overwhelmed and trapped miners working in it on Tuesday 26 February. Even after some days of rescue effort it is unclear how many workers were actually inside the mine. So far, rescuers, often working with bare hands and hand tools due to the remote location, have said that 7 people have died while another 19 have been rescued, some of whom are badly injured. It is estimated that another 50 workers may still be trapped underground. The number of small and often unauthorised mining is rising throughout Indonesia as workers struggle to secure employment in other areas. Workers at these illegal mines are then at the mercy of landslides, tunnel collapses, flooding and exposure to dangerous chemicals.


Labour activists arrested in southern China

This week, Chinese authorities arrested three well-known labour activists in the southern city of Shenzhen and charged them with gathering a crowd to disturb public order. Labour activists Wu Guijun, Zhang Zhiru and He Yuancheng are currently being held in detention while another two, Jian Hui and Song Jiahui, were also detained this week but not formally charged. At this stage it is not clear to what event or events these charges are referring. Nevertheless these arrests can be seen as a pre-emptive strike by the Chinese government to warn workers because it fears that labour activism will start to grow again as a result of the slowing economy.


War in Myanmar will not stop profits

The Myanmar government hosted an investment fair in the upmarket coastal resort town of Ngapali in February 2019, while the conflict and massacre of Rohingyas continued in most of western Rakhine State. The Prime Minister of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, declared that the state was open for business and that the international community should stop focusing on the ‘negative aspects related to problems in north Rakhine rather than on the panoramic picture that shows the immense potential of this state for peace and prosperity.’ The reality is that leaders of the Myanmar military are facing potential charges of ‘crimes against humanity’ while hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people remain stranded and stateless at the border with Bangladesh.


Bangladeshi workers win right to bargain

Workers in Bangladesh employed at the Dutch-based confectioner Perfetti Van Melle, have finally won the right to have their union bargain for a collective agreement. Perfetti makes candy such as Mentos and Chupa Chups. The workers struggle began in November last year when a large majority of workers formed their own union and applied for legal registration. The company in retaliation pressured the workers to withdraw the application, barred union organisers access to workers as well as visiting workers at their home asking them to sign forms stating they had been forced to join the union. The workers remained united, and in conjunction with a global campaign initiated by the IUF were able to bring the company to the negotiating table.


AAWL website undergoing upgrades

Dear comrades,

The AAWL website is currently undergoing a major upgrade and information is not currently being updated.

These works also affect our weekly mini news that is emailed to subscribers. Therefore our mini news is suspended till the upgrades are finished.

We trust that you understand and we ask for your patience.

In the meantime, you can keep up with our work and activities via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

In solidarity,

The Team at AAWL


South Korea – Han Sang Gyun on hunger strike

Former KCTU president HAN Sang-gyun is on  a hunger strike, begun in Hwasung Prison on March 28th to support the calls of the KMWU Ssangyong Motor Branch fighting for justice.

Former president HAN wrote that he will continue Brother KIM's hunger strike from prison and requests Ssangyong Motor Branch Chair to stop the hunger strike, now on the 30th day.

  • Reinstate the 120 dismissed Ssangyong Motor workers!
  • Drop the damages claims suits against the union and workers!
  • Uncover the truth behind the State-sponsored violence against the Ssangyong
  • Motor workers during the 2009 strike and ensure redress for workers whose human rights were violated and punishment of those responsible for the state-sponsored violence!


5 million Muslim Indians to be displaced

India continues its persecution of Muslims with the most recent attack in the form of a Rohingya crisis in the making.  The state of Assam is updating its citizenship records in an effort to weed out “illegal” citizens, mostly Muslims of Bengali origin, that have lived in India for over 6 decades.  Residents have until the 31 May to update their papers with the National Register of Citizens, and the Supreme Court has ruled that it will not extend this deadline.  The move could see some 5 million Indians disenfranchised.  President Nahendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is deeply Hindu chauvinistic.  Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat during the infamous 2002 riots that saw more than 1000 Muslims murdered and countless others raped and abused in the streets. Divisions on the basis of ethnicity, religion or citizenship status only serve war mongering capitalists.  Workers must resist communalism and build unity in struggle for our common demands.


Israeli Defence Force murders Palestinians in border protest

Israeli troops killed at least 15 Palestinians and injured more than 1,400 during demonstrations along Gaza’s border with Israel and in cities throughout the Palestinian enclave. The demonstrations were scheduled to take place for six weeks along the border of Gaza, and have been called the “Great Return March”.  This area has been subject to an 11 year illegal blockade by Israel and Egypt. The demonstrations are set to continue until May 15, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, al Nakba (Catastrophe) Day.


Touch One Touch All: Refugees, Migrants & Workers Crossing Borders

Australia Asia Worker Links is hosting a Public Meeting to discuss the various ways that racism divides the labour movement. Capitalists have many weapons in their arsenal to use against workers’ organising – they import workers that are desperate to migrate, and pay them lesser wages because of this desperation; they hire transient holidaying workers that have limited investment in proper wages and conditions in the country they’re visiting; they invest and participate in wars that create refugees that are unable to be resettled anywhere. So how do we fight back? And how do we combat racism in a period where so many wars are raging across the world?  This AAWL seeks to build a strategy for international workers’ solidarity for workers everywhere, with a focus on refugees, migrants and workers crossing borders.

Wednesday 4 April at 6pm at the AMIEU, Level 2, 62 Lygon Street, Carlton


The meeting will be in Melbourne, with a skype link to include comrades from Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Philippines.  If you’re interested in participating via skype, contact jiselle@aawl.org.au


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