aawl mini-news

Electronics workers targeted and attacked

Hundreds of workers employed by the electronics factory Lakepower Converter Inc. in the Cavite Economic Zone, have been on strike since the middle of the previous week. The workers went on strike to protest against unfair labour practices as well as union busting. The company in a brutal show of union repression had terminated 6 union officials while many other labour activists were suspended from work. The workers set up a picket line but a number of them were injured when thugs repeatedly attacked them and their picket line.  Photos of the protest can be seen here and here.

Iranian labour activist dying in prison

Reports are coming out this week that jailed labour activist Reza Shahabi has suffered a stroke that has left him partially paralysed. Nevertheless, prison authorities are denying his family’s requests for Reza to be transferred to a hospital outside of the prison. Reza is one of the heroes of the Iranian labour movement having been a founding member  of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. He has spent many years in jail for his labour activism. Earlier this year he undertook a long hunger strike in protest against his treatment, and released a solidarity letter to workers all around the world. Protest letters calling for his immediate release can be found here.

Free for all political prisoners in Iran! 

Freedom for workers to organise!

Turkish workers receive solidarity from South Korea

The global giant, Posco, is one of the world’s largest steel-making companies with factories located all around the world. In Turkey, it has fired scores of union members from its steel plant in Kocaeli, Turkey. The current total of dismissed labour activists stands at 80. As with other large ‘Chaebols’ that originated in South Korea, Posco has a ‘no union policy’. Posco has been involved in bitter disputes before such as in 2006 in South Korea, and more recently in north eastern India. South Korean Posco workers have expressed solidarity with their Turkish counterparts and have urged them to keep fighting.

Garment workers continue to organise globally

The garment industry is one of the most brutal internationally with a constant Race to the Bottom dynamic employed by companies as they scour the world for the cheapest labour that they can exploit. Nevertheless, constant pressure is having some positive effects with the global brand H&M promising to start paying a living wage to its workers from 2018. Such a step would be a tremendous win, but will only come through workers’ mobilisations. Another major problem for workers in the global Race to the Bottom is companies closing their factories and leaving their workers owing months of wages, as well as severance and termination payments.

Protests increasing against military junta in Thailand

This week there was a demonstration at the Democracy Monument in central Bangkok by scores of activists against the undemocratic nature of the current military crafted constitution. Activists had to be very careful to not breach any of the junta’s repressive policies against freedom of expression. A separate protest was held last Friday, in defiance of the junta’s repressive public assembly law, calling on Parliament to move a no-confidence motion against the junta. Meanwhile the crackdown on any dissent and criticism continues. Recently octogenarian writer, Sulak Sivaraksa was charged under the Lese Majeste Act, while Arnon Nampa, a human rights lawyer, has been charged under the Computer Crime Act.

Free all political prisoners in Thailand!

Abolish Article 112! 

End the military dictatorship!

Mini news takes a summer break

This is the last mini news email for 2017. We are taking a summer break. The Asia Pacific Currents (APC) radio program is also taking a break over summer. During this time, we will continue to cover labour issues on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We will be back with our regular mini news weekly updates on February 4, 2018. We would like to wish all our working class sisters and brothers a safe end of the year. In struggle and solidarity, AAWL.

Death squads returning to the Philippines

In the space of two days, 10 labour and human rights activists were killed in separate shootings on the islands of Luzon and Mindanao. All the victims were shot by the military or paramilitaries. These murders coincided with the announcement by President Duterte that the police will go back to the frontlines of the ‘War on Drugs’. This campaign has unleashed death squads throughout the Philippines, resulting in a bloodbath where over 10,000 people have been murdered. In the Philippines, the current situation has become so bad that it has surpassed even the worse days of the Marcos Dictatorship. 

Palestinians protest after Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

This week, in a widely anticipated move, US President, Donald Trump declared that the USA would recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. This recognition is contrary to a whole number of international treaties. Massive protests erupted all over the West Bank and the Gaza strip, leading to deaths and hundreds of injuries (see here and here). While Trump’s declaration may be a sign of renewed support for Israel, the long term ramifications of this move are going to be unknown (see here, here and here) and is certainly the death of the ‘two state’ solution

Bangladeshi shipyards continue to be a graveyard

According to latest reports, in the last month alone, at least 5 workers were killed and many others injured in a string of separate incidents. Falls, explosions and falling metal parts were the main causes of these deaths and injuries. The fact that these incidents are repeated over and over indicates the total absence of meaningful occupational health and safety measures. While the social and political situation in Bangladesh is highly repressive with workers continually prevented from organising, initiatives like the Shipbreaking Workers Trade Union Forum continue to push for better workers’ safety and living conditions.

Iranian workers go unpaid for months

This week, the workers at the giant Haft Tapeh sugar cane plantation and mill complex in Shush, Khuzestan Province in Western Iran, took a series of industrial actions in protest against not being paid for over four months. The workers at Haft Tapeh have a long and proud history of militant resistance. These workers and families are in desperate conditions and need your support. An international solidarity campaign has been initiated. The Canadian Union of Public Employees has also put out an international call for the Iranian government to stop the repression against labour activists.

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