aawl mini-news

Sri Lanka: Release illegally detained civilians

Amnesty International is calling on the Sri Lankan government to permanently release civilians who have been illegally detained in camps since the end of the civil war six months ago.

"The authorities must make good on their declared intentions to free some 120,000 people and must do so unconditionally," said Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International's expert on Sri Lanka.

A permanent release from camps must be accompanied by assurances that people are not subjected to further questioning or re-arrest in new locations," said Foster. "It is also critical that the government maintain its responsibility to care for displaced people wherever they choose to go."

Read more here.

The Conch Latin Fiesta

Let the Refugees in!
7pm, Saturday, December 12
MUA Hall 46 - 54 Ireland St West Melbourne

Join THE CONCH & friends to support the struggle to let refugees into Australia, to celebrate another year of solidarity and activism, another year of revolution in Latin America & another year of comradeship in Melbourne! go to www.theconch.org ...

Info ph Jo 0435 519 610 or Roberto 0425 182 994.
Bar & food available. Entry $10/5.
Proceeds to the Refugee Action Collective (RAC-Vic), Centre for Latin America Studies & Solidarity (CLASS) & Direct Action Activist Centre.

Joint May Day Message

Australia Asia Worker Links wishes to write a joint May Day message together with comrades around the world, suitable for reading at workers' rallies and meetings on 1 May 2010.

We would like the joint May Day message to be able to be published on websites and in publications together with the names of the endorsing organisations.

We are sending this message to genuine unions and genuine labour movement NGOs globally.

If you are interested in participating in a discussion to develop a joint statement, please reply to mayday@aawl.org.au

You can get more information about AAWL on our website, and you can see previous statements we have published here and here.

We intend to circulate an initial draft to interested organisations in February 2010.

Malaysia: Plantation workers below poverty line

Oil palm plantation and rubber estate workers gathered at the Parliament of Malaysia protested against the statement of Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok’s that the workers were above the poverty line. The statement would provide a reason for depriving access to government allocated benefits to plantation workers. Dompok said the net income of an oil palm harvester was about RM 1,700 and a rubber tapper earned around RM 870, which were far higher than the rural poverty line of RM 720 a month. However, the immediate study conducted by workers showed that the average wage of these labourers is lower than RM 700. The workers demanded that the minister visit the estates and to gather evidence of their wealth and the availability of the said facilities. Read more here.

China: Triumph Workers Strike Against Drastic Wage Cut

Women workers at a garment factory in Hainan, southern China, began a strike on 11 November to press their demands on wage raise towards legal minimum standard, overtime pay and vacations after management announced drastic cuts in bonuses. Around 3,000 workers gathered outside the plant, Hainan Youmei Underwear Co., Ltd owned by Triumph International. The factory decided to withdraw the decision of cutting the annual bonuses under the pressure of the strike. However issues on wage, overtime and vacation have remained unsettled. Read more here.

Party Commemorating International Human Rights Day

Philippines Australia Solidarity Association, Migrante Melbourne and Gabriela Australia invite you to a

Break-Up Party Commemorating International Human Rights Day

Let us end the year 2009 by having fun together, enjoying food & drinks and discussing current and pressing issues.

Saturday, 12th December 2009, 2.00 pm
St Martin de Porres Hall, 23 Bellin St, Laverton (Melway 53E7)

Download flyer here.

Protest and March in Sydney and Melbourne

When Kevin Rudd took power in 2007, many were hopeful that the dark days of Howard’s racism were behind us – the days of kids in detention, refugees dying at sea trying to make it Australia, and the Tampa.

Unfortunately Labor’s policies are not so different from the Liberals. More than 1,200 men, women and children are currently locked up in a maximum security detention centre on Christmas Island, while hundreds more are on boats in Indonesian harbours being used as pawns in a deadly game of diplomacy between Australia and Indonesia.

In Sydney, RAC is holding a rally this Sunday 29th November at 2pm at Sydney Town Hall. A subsequent public meeting titled "The refugee crisis in Sri Lanka and Rudd's Indonesia Solution" is planned for Wednesday 9 December.

In Melbourne Protest and March on Saturday 5th December at 2pm at the State Library.

Also see the Regional left groups statement on Tamil refugees here.

Korean Government Employees’ Union under attack

Following the Ministry of Labor’s refusal to acknowledge the Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU) as a legal labor union, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security’s (MOPAS) decision to amend regulations for government employees to forbid any political activity. This would prohibit government employees from engaging in any acts that are critical of or oppose government policy, and ensure that deduction of labor union dues from pay is only be possible through written consent from the individual. Read the full story here. To read some of the history of the KGEU's struggles search the Public Services International website.

457 Visa Workers' Rights

A position dedicated to helping the union support 457 visa workers has been created in the AMWU.

Michael Buckley from The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has joined the Melbourne office to provide information and support to organisers who are assisting workers on 457 visas. Find out more here.

AMWU National President Julius Roe said the better informed that organisers were, the better able they were to help workers with their issues.

“We want these workers to have the same rights as all workers in Australia and the work Michael is doing, will assist us greatly to achieve that.”

The AMWU have also produced a visa rights guide "The 457 Visa Handbook" which you can download from here or here.

Read the full story on the AMWU website.

Dockers in Sri Lanka win pay deal

Dockers in the Sri Lankan port of Colombo ended industrial action this week after a pay deal was negotiated.

The dockers, represented by a trade union alliance including ITF-affiliates and employed at the state-run Jaya Container Terminal, won the settlement on 16 November. The Sri Lanka ports authority agreed to give the workers a wage rise of 3,000 rupees (US$64) per month – this includes 1000 rupees (US$21) in basic pay and 2000 rupees (US$43) in allowances. Work-to-rule action, which began on 12 November, severely delayed activities in the port and caused two vessels to be diverted. Mahendra Sharma, ITF Asia Pacific regional secretary, commented: “We congratulate the Sri Lankan port workers on their victory and their unity.”

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