aawl mini-news

Chinese workers left fearing for their health

A two week strike by hundreds of workers at the Zama manufacturing plant demanding health guarantees and compensation was broken up by riot police earlier this month. Zama Precision Industry in Shenzen province in southern China is a subsidiary of the global giant Stihl that had decided to relocate its factory. This had left its 2,000 strong workforce fearing for their jobs and health as many of them were suffering long term symptoms from working with dangerous chemicals but having no access to safety equipment, masks or gloves. Unfortunately the situation for Zama workers is not unique as health and safety is not a priority for many companies in China.

Remember the dead of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

The days USA military dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945. Around 130,000 people perished immediately with another 90,000 dying by the end of the year due to radiation injuries. It was mainly working class communities that perished in these two holocausts. The anniversaries are remembered by anti-war activists all around the world to protest the military industrial complex that still profits from the ravages of war. In Melbourne, there will be a special commemoration on Sunday 6 August.

Justice for Elijah

Less than a year ago, on 29 August 2016, 14 year old Elijah Doughty was stalked, run down and killed in a clearly race-based hate crime. The incident itself lead to riots and massive protests in Kalgoorlie. Mark Donnaly, was found not guilty of manslaughter, on Friday 21 July, but was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.  He was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and be released on parole in February next year.  This is yet another tragic and stark example of the racism, both personal and structural that Aboriginal people face in Australia. Activists have called rallies across the country, including in Melbourne

Israel escalates aggression for Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount

Palestinians are protesting additional security measures instituted at Al-Aqsa mosque. Israel has erected metal detectors and prevented men aged under 56 from worshipping there in the latest aggression against the Palestinian people.  Clashes since the increased security measures have seen numerous deaths of Palestinians.  This increased aggression is about Israel further encroaching on Palestinian territories in Jerusalem. After considerable international pressure, Israel was forced to announce the removal of the metal detectors. Israel is an apartheid state.  Workers of the world must stand with Palestinians to demand that Palestine be Free.

39 sewer cleaners die in India in 100 days

Activists in India have raised outrage over the number of deaths in New Delhi’s sewer system.  The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013 prohibits manual scavenging, yet in the last 100 days, 39 workers have died while cleaning sewers, and this is not a rare occurrence. Activists also say that despite providing documents on 56 men who had died in the sewers, the authorities have not identified them, preventing their families from getting any compensation. For workers to win health and safety demands at work, they must be organised and take collective action.

Car industry workers in dispute everywhere

Australia Asia Worker Links hosted the first International Committee Meeting of the Global Picketline.  The meeting agreed to start supporting struggling workers in the car industry across the world.  And there are many industrial struggles in the car industry. Workers at Kia motors and Hyundai, in South Korea, this week voted to take strike action if their demands for a wage increase and a percentage of the companies’ overall profits, are not met.  Han Sang-Gyun is still in prison on charges related to organising workers.  Maruti Suzuki workers and solidarity groups continue to support the 14 workers that are in prison on life sentences in a stitch up over the death of a manager.  There are also workers in vehicle component manufacturing that are in the throes of disputes with their employers, which form a critical part in the car industry supply chain.

Let us know if you are involved in an industry dispute in the car industry: car.industry@aawl.org.au

Martial law in southern Philippines extended

In a very worrying development, the Philippines’ Congress on Saturday approved President’s Duterte request to extend martial law over the whole island of Mindanao till the end of 2017. Given the gross human rights violations already committed during President Duterte’s term so far, the extension of martial law will only lead to further militarisation and more human rights abuses. A number of labour groups and political organisations have come out strongly against this new development as part of a continuing attack on workers. A protest camp set up by workers in Manila will be the focus of anti-martial law demonstrations this coming Monday, 24 July.

International campaign calls for journalists’ release

Around 70 organisations globally have lent their name to the campaign calling on all charges against three journalists, Thein Zaw, Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung, to be dropped. In addition, there are calls to free the three people who were with them at the time of their assignment in Shan state. These arrests are only the latest against journalists and the International Journalist Federation has strongly condemned this repression. This latest crackdown is a reflection of the continuing power of the military in Myanmar and the government’s unwillingness to stop them.

Iranian sugar workers battle to defend gains

Thousands of sugar cane workers, and their families, employed at the big Haft Tapeh sugar cane plantation and mill complex in the southern city of Shush, Iran, are fighting the company and government in an effort to keep their entitlements. Workers are owed months of wages, pension benefits have been suspended, most workers do not have permanent contracts, while retired workers and family members are harassed by security forces. This is not the first time that the Haft Tapeh workers have had to deal with government repression, for the right to organise and to secure a better life. Their situation is part of on an ongoing offensive by the Iranian government against all workers.

Garment workers in Cambodia demand severance pay

About 208 workers from the Chung Fai Knitwear factory in Cambodia are still fighting for justice one year on from the sudden closure of their factory. On 1 July 2016, these workers, mostly women, were terminated without notice, without severance pay and without receiving their final salaries for the previous month.  They were producing products for UK brands, Marks and Spencer and Bonmarche, as well as Canadian brand Nygård.  They are now demanding that the companies behind these labels pay what they are owed.

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