aawl mini-news

Qatar crisis spells more dangers for workers

The new unfolding crisis in West Asia that centres on Qatar can be traced back to the political shockwaves that the Arab Spring has produced since 2011. In particular, it is the current and developing situations in the wars in Iraq and Syria that are leading various ruling elites such as Saudi Arabia, to reassess their alliances and which sides to back in these various conflicts. This has had a snowballing effect with other governments also re-evaluating their positions and alliances, including  Russia and the USA. Obviously with these heightened tensions and threat of more military conflicts, the immediate losers are going to be workers, their families and communities, whether local or part of the huge migrant workforce of the region.

Pakistani Khaadi workers win campaign

This week, after a long campaign by workers and labour activist, the leading apparel company of Khaadi signed a new agreement with its workforce. The estimated 6,000 workers will now have standardised written contracts, decreased overtime, guarantees against gender discrimination, secure social security payments, access to bonuses, and access to clean drinking water as well as other health and safety improvements. This was an important victory as labour activists believe that this could be used as an example for other large employers in the garment sector of Pakistan.

Maruti Suzuki workers' struggle captured on film

The ongoing heroic struggle by Maruti Suzuki workers in the Manesar region of northern India is the subject of a new documentary – ‘The Factory’. The documentary focuses on the 3 year criminal prosecution of hundreds of workers, exposing the structural injustice of the law in India that protects the profits of the Global Auto Industry. The film will be screened in Melbourne as an AAWL fundraiser.

6:30 PM, Tuesday, June 13
318 St Georges Road,
Fitzroy North

Australian workers to rally against attacks

On Tuesday 20 June, the powerful CFMEU has called for a major rally in Melbourne, Australia to protest against the ongoing attacks against workers. In particular, the focus will be on the special anti-union powers of the ABCC, the cutting of wages for workers in the retail and hospitality industries, the underpaying of workers across industries and the continued widespread exploitation of migrant workers. The systemic underpayment of workers by the giant Coles supermarket chain or the savage exploitation of migrant workers by the GPS cleaning company are just some of the many examples that workers need to organise against.

3CR Radiothon: Support Workers' Radio

For 41years 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne, Australia has featured union, worker, indigenous, women’s, ethnic, environmental, music and other community programs that are not heard elsewhere. As a community radio station, 3CR Radio funding comes from its listeners. Every year, a Radiothon is held to raise funds for the radio station. Asia Pacific Currents is AAWL’s weekly radio program on 3CR Community Radio. Support labour struggles, support 3CR Radio.

Radio For Change
3CR Radiothon
5th - 18th June 2017

Iranian labour activist taken to hospital

Esmail Abdi was transferred from prison to a Tehran hospital late last week due to his deteriorating conditions. Esmail has been on a hunger strike since the 30 April in protest against his treatment in jail and his arrest. Esmail is a leading member of the Teachers’ Trade Association of Tehran who, during 2015, staged a series of industrial actions across Iran to demand better conditions and wages. Unfortunately, the Iranian Government has met such protests with repression with many activists currently in jail. There is an urgent international campaign calling for the release of Esmail Abdi.

Turkish glass workers defy Government ban

This week, around 6,000 workers employed by the Şişecam company, the biggest glass manufacturer in Europe, staged a series of industrial actions in support of their demands (see here and here). These protests are in direct response to the Turkish Government’s attempt to stop their organising efforts by banning strike action for reasons of ‘national security’. This is not the first time that these workers have had to take on both the employers and the state, as their win in 2014 demonstrates. Given the repressive political climate in Turkey and the President’s expanded powers, these protests might have far reaching political consequences. 

Pakistan textile workers fighting back

The Khaadi company in Pakistan is one of the country’s largest textile and garment brands and owns many factories. There is an escalating campaign by both workers and labour activists against the company’s treatment of its workers and the repression of union activists. Most of its workforce is employed by sub-contracting companies, working under brutal conditions of 12 hours and more a day, having limited break times, unsafe and unsanitary conditions, and being locked inside the factory. Workers are organising to defend and advance their rights while supporters are calling for a boycott of Khaadi products.

Workers facing utter devastation in Yemen

The brutal war that has been waged by both the internal ruling elites and external imperialist powers is continuing to have a devastating effect on working class communities in Yemen. This war was a response to the working class uprisings that began in Yemen in 2011.  Millions of people in Yemen are now at risk of starvation while a cholera epidemic has killed hundreds due to the breakdown in the water and sewerage systems in that country. Even amid this devastation, the social struggles that led to the original uprisings are still ongoing. In the last few weeks, a newly reformed Southern Alliance is contesting the ongoing war and the involvement of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Australian unions taking on global giant

Hundreds of workers in the onshore and offshore oil and gas sector in south eastern Australia are facing a major assault on their conditions via the use of sub-contracting companies. Exxon-Mobil-Esso and its contractor UGL have set up a sub-contracting company that will now employ the workers. This company is trying to impose an enterprise agreement that cuts workers’ wages by 30% as well as taking control of the shift rostering away from workers. 

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