aawl mini-news

Myanmar bakers win dispute

This week, workers employed at the Mayson Bakery factory in Yangoon's Hlaing Tharyar Township, won an important victory after a month long strike. In early March, the company summarily dismissed 184 workers, including its union activists. Through strong solidarity from local workers and support from the International Union of Food workers (IUF), 180 workers were offered their jobs back. Negotiations are still continuing over the remaining four, all of whom are union activists.

Government critics continue to disappear in Malaysia

A new climate of fear is developing in Malaysia with a spate of recent abductions and disappearances of social activists, like Raymond Koh and Peter Chong. While in the past, government critics had to face repressive laws like the Internal Security Act and the Sedition Act, political abductions are a new feature of Malaysian politics. While the perpetrators are still unknown, it is most likely that these disappearances are linked to the increasing desperation of the government to hang on to power amid unprecedented popular opposition. A public meeting in Melbourne, Australia will discuss the ramifications of these abductions.

Indonesian protesting workers attacked by police

Last Sunday, workers participating in a weekly protest were baton charged and violently dispersed by police. These workers have been holding this regular protest as part of a long running dispute. In 2012, over 1,000 women workers were summarily dismissed by the Victory Chingluh Indonesia and Panarub Industry companies. These workers were producing for the sports companies Adidas and Mizuno. They were never paid the wages they were owed or any severance pay. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a company has closed down without paying their workers.

Kazakhstan oil workers again under attack

The deputy chairperson of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan (CITUK) Nurbek Kushakbayev, was recently sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Nurbek's crime is calling a strike at the Oil Construction Company. Due to the importance of the oil sector to the economy of the central Asian country of Kazakhstan, this is not the first time that oil workers have faced government repression.

Indian workers right to strike under attack

Earlier this month around 1,000 workers at Apollo, a major tyre producing company operating in the industrial belt of the southern city of Chennai, went on strike for the right to form a union and to improve their wages and conditions. The local government quickly intervened to declare the auto sector as part of essential sector and the strike illegal. This latest strike is another indication of the growing willingness to fight by the new Indian industrial class, notwithstanding the vicious repression unleashed by the state against the Maruti Suzuki and the Pricol workers.

Thailand’s military further restricts civil liberties

The announcement this week by the Thai military junta warning the population not to follow three social commentators on social media is a sign of the increasing determination by the generals to hold on to power. All three commentators are critics of the military dictatorship. In a worrying development, killings by security activists of perceived enemies continue to occur in a climate of impunity.  In the meantime, imprisoned labour activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk has been able to finish his studies and obtain his political science degree.

Free all political prisoners in Thailand! 

Abolish Article 112! 

End the military dictatorship!

Turkish workers feeling the pressure before referendum

Sunday 16 April is when the people of Turkey will vote on a national referendum on the constitution to grant the President more power. This referendum is being held in a tense climate with a state of emergency still in place. This has placed enormous pressure on the campaigners for a ‘no’ vote with the Government monopolising the media. In the last few days, officials from the ruling AKP party have threatened workers with dismissal or the withdrawal of social services if they don’t support the referendum.

USA bombing will not resolve Syrian war

This week, the new USA administration of President Trump bombed a major Syrian airbase in retaliation to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against opposition areas. Given the past scale of atrocities over the last six years, President Trump moral justification for the bombing is only an excuse for the USA to re-assert its role in the region and send a message globally. This bombing is part of a recent ongoing re-alignment of forces in the region as various imperialists try to gain strategic advantages over their rivals and destroy any progressive movements. The situation for working class communities in Syria remains as desperate as ever. International action by regional workers’ organisations is essential to stop these wars and massacres.

Food workers take on global giant

McCormick Corporation is a food flavouring company that has facilities in 26 countries and employs over 10,000 workers. In the last few weeks, its workforce at the Bentleigh plant in Melbourne, Australia has been taking industrial action in support of a new workplace agreement. The company wants to cut workers’ wages and increase their workday by eliminating break periods. Support for these workers is not only confined to the local area, with McCormick workers from Indonesia and Myanmar showing their support. To fight effectively against such global companies, co-ordinated industrial action over many countries would be the most powerful weapon.

Maruti Suzuki fight a global campaign

Following last months’ jailing of 13 Maruti Suzuki workers for life sentences, workers in India and internationally have continued their campaign to free them and to assert the right to organise and form independent unions. April 4 & 5 were designated as days of action in support for the imprisoned workers. Actions were taken by thousands of workers in the industrial zones of Gurgaon and Manesar in India. This struggle has now been taken up by workers all around India. Internationally, labour activists have taken action, while the International Automobile Workers Co-ordination group will campaign at a global level. For a podcast of an interview with a Maruti Suzuki labour activist, see here.  

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