jiselle's blog

Koreans protest against increased weapons deployment

This week, as tensions in the Korean peninsula remained high, the South Korea government proceeded with the deployment of further Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems. Activists all around South Korea have been protesting for months against these deployments. To counter this last deployment, activists blockaded the main highway with vehicles and machinery. The government responded by deploying 8,000 police to confront the demonstrators and clear the way for the military vehicles (see here and here).

Anganwadi health workers close to victory

This week, tens of thousands of striking rural health workers won a promise from the Indian Government that their salaries will increase by over 90%. While this is a great victory, and led to spontaneous celebrations in the streets, the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union has stated that it will not end the strike, due to previous broken promises from the Government. The AWHU is seeking proof that the promise of a wage increase is legally valid and gazetted, as well as confirmation that wages owed will be paid in full. Workers in a related sector, the Social Health Activists, are also starting to organise to demand better wages and conditions.

Iranian workers appeal for class solidarity

The Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Workers Syndicate has called on all workers and labour organisations to condemn the continued violation of workers' rights in Iran and the persecution and arrests of its members at the 27th IUF World Congress. These workers have a proud history of fighting for their rights and have recently come under direct attack from their employer and the government. They are calling on all workers to stand together to push back against the attacks by employers, capitalist corporations and their governments. Organising internationally and taking co-ordinated action across countries is the most effective way to defend our movement globally. Additionally, the health of labour activist, Reza Shahabi, is continuing to deteriorate in prison

Courts in Thailand enshrine repression and impunity

In a far reaching judgement, the Supreme Court of Thailand this week dismissed murder charges against former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban. These charges arose from the violent crackdown by the military against protestors in 2010 where almost 100 people were killed and around 2,000 injured. In the same week that the current military dictator Prayuth Chan-ocha stated he is not liable for any consequences of his actions, a previous Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was forced to flee as she was about to be jailed for alleged economic incompetence. In a related report, iLaw, a human rights organisation, has documented the increasing use of the draconian Sedition Law by the military junta against opponents.

Free all political prisoners in Thailand! 
Abolish Article 112! 
End the military dictatorship!

Rana Plaza owner gets jail sentence

Sohel Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza, the building that collapsed in 2013 killing over 1,100 garment workers, was this week sentenced to three years’ jail for corruption for hiding his wealth from authorities. Sohel is still facing many other charges including multiple counts of murder. This sentence is a first step in the right direction for all the victims and families that continue to suffer the consequences of that fateful day in April 2013. The garment sector in Bangladesh is characterised by low wages, harsh working conditions and repression of labour organising.

Workers take on global aviation services company

Since late July, more than 700 Swissport aviation workers at the international airport hub of Toronto, Canada have been on strike. Swissport is the biggest independent global ground services provider with the largest number of hub and LCC base operations globally. The strike is about wages and conditions and is part of a long running campaign by workers to achieve a minimum wage that will be a living wage for workers and their families. Given the size and reach of Swissport, this fight by Canadian workers for better conditions has ramifications for aviation workers globally. Many workers around the world have taken action in solidarity with Toronto workers (see here and here). Co-ordinated industrial action against Swissport around the world would be the most effective strategy to maximise workers’ strength. 

Death of stockman highlights Stolen Wages scandal

This week, Gregory Dunn, an 88 year old Aboriginal man in northern Australia, died just days before he was due to tell his story to a Court about how the wages he earned working as a stockman had been stolen from him. His case is part of a landmark class action by 3,500 Indigenous Australians who are fighting the State government of Queensland for the wages they are owed over decades of work. The issue of Stolen Wages is a long running fight by Indigenous workers and solidarity labour activists, and is another example of the systematic dispossession and exploitation that Aboriginal people have endured since Australia was colonised in 1788.

Major protest against government over mass killings

Last week, in the biggest public show of opposition to the murderous "War on Drugs" of Philippines’ President Duterte of the Philippines, more than 1,000 people demonstrated against the continued killings. While the spark for this demonstration was the latest murder of a child by police, this time 17 year old Kian de los Santos, it allowed many other victims’ families to come out, to demand justice, and to call for an end to these mass killings. Over the last year, Filipino working class communities have had to endure death squads with an estimated 10,000 people murdered so far.

Journalists demand a stop to political interference

In an unprecedented move, journalists from South Korea’s public broadcasters KBS and MBC have overwhelmingly voted to go on general strike from 4 September, over management interference. The workers at both media outlets are demanding the resignation of management and directors whom they accuse of undermining the fairness and credibility of public broadcasting through their actions. This strike can be seen as a continuation of the recent mass public protests against corruption that has already claimed the country’s President, Park Geun-hye, and the Chairman of the country’s biggest corporation, Samsung’s Lee Jae-yong.

Organising is not a crime! 

Free Han Sang Gyun!

Military called in to quell workers actions

This week many workers were injured at the giant Grasberg copper and gold mine in West Papua, owned by Freeport McMoran when police and security guards dispersed workers’ picket lines. This represents a further escalation of the current dispute that began in early May over possible job losses. In this time, the company has dismissed over 4,000 workers in an attempt to break workers’ commitment and solidarity. In industrial disputes involving global giants like Freeport McMoran, industrial action by workers in other Freeport McMoran mines around the world would be the most powerful actions to take.

Syndicate content