aawl mini-news

Filipino workers mobilise against martial law

The presidency of Rodrigo Duterte has been characterised by the murderous campaign against working class communities on the pretext of a ‘War on Drugs’, as well as the recent declaration of Martial Law in the southern island of Mindanao. A protest camp, Kam Pobrero, has been set up in the capital of Manila by a group of mining workers from Mindanao who are protesting that their conditions have worsened since the proclamation of Martial Law. They have been joined by many other groups of workers who are demanding secure employment and a higher minimum wage. A nationwide protest is scheduled for 21 July.

Join the international fight in the car industry

AAWL is planning to launch a Global Picketline campaign to support the jailed Maruti Suzuki workers in India and KCTU President Han Sang-gyun who is in prison in Korea. The proposal includes the establishment of an International Committee to launch and coordinate Global Picketline campaigns in different industries. AAWL developed the Global Picketline concept through discussions and joint activities with solidarity partners over many years. AAWL considers this proposal very timely, given the attacks on workers happening globally. The International Committee is expected to assist unions and activists to better coordinate their efforts in building international industrial action and solidarity.

Resistance is met with repression in Turkey

This week saw massive mobilisations in Turkey, highlighting how the social situation is continuing to alternate between repression and resistance. The protest march led by opposition Parliamentary leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu culminated in a huge rally in Istanbul attended by an estimated one million people demanding justice and an end to government repression. At the same time, the government continued to crack down on opposition by arresting a number of Amnesty International workers on accusation of undermining national security. In addition, the crackdown against workers continued with more university staff being dismissed, while on the 1st anniversary of the coup, thousands of public employees were sacked.

Pricol workers win back wages

A group of Pricol workers in southern India have won a court case against their employer who was attempting to take away more than one week’s pay.  The victory comes after a 16-day hunger strike that has now ended. The issue was around the Pricol workers’ one-day strike earlier in the year in solidarity with agricultural workers. The Pricol workers are also continuing to campaign for the release of two of their colleagues who are still serving life sentences for taking industrial action.

No letup in the repression in Palestine

This week, two young Palestinians, Aws Muhammad Yousif Salameh, 17, and Saad Nasser Hassan Abd al-Fattah, 20, were shot dead during a military operation by Israel in the occupied lands, while Khalida Jarrar, a prominent human rights activist was sentenced to 6 months administrative detention. Acts of repression like these have dashed hopes by activists that the heroic hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners might have led to some letup to Israeli repression. To make matters worse, the Palestinian Authority is increasingly clamping down on independent Palestinian journalists and recently detained Jihad Bakarat for ‘taking photos’.

Samsung’s own records show extent of toxic workplaces

Labour activists and Samsung Electronics victims were buoyed last week by the decisions of two long running court cases that validated that workers’ health was seriously compromised by the toxic work environment they had been exposed to. The family of Lee Eun-joo is now able to claim compensation for her death while another claimant Kim, will now receive damage payments for contracting chronic myelogenous leukemia. These cases have also highlighted that Samsung Electronics’ own records confirm the unhealthy nature of its workplaces. A new documentary of workers’ stories has recently been released.

Human rights campaigner jailed in Bahrain

Nabeel Rajab, co-founder and President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), and a prominent defender of human rights in Arab countries, was sentenced last week to  two years in jail. His crime was of ‘propagating false information’ when in television interviews he detailed the increasing state of repression in Bahrain. Like many other countries in the region, the people of Bahrain rose up in 2011 as part of the regional Arab Spring. As in other countries, they were also brutally repressed by the ruling elites who have continued to crack down on any independent organising by working class organisations

Nationwide protests continue fight for refugees

Wednesday 19 July marks the 4th anniversary of the re-opening by the Australian government of the offshore concentration camps of Manu and Nauru. The treatment and conditions for refugees in these camps, and the treatment for refugees within Australia continues to remain dire. Activists will hold protests all around Australia to demand the immediate closure of the Nauru and Manus concentration camps. A public meeting will be held in Melbourne, Victoria to discuss the best way forward for the movement.  

Factory blast kills 13 workers in Bangladesh

In an event that is tragically too common in Bangladesh, at least 15 garment workers were murdered, with many others injured, when a boiler exploded last weekend. The explosion was so powerful that it led to the partial collapse of the four storey building as well as injuring people in the street outside. This disaster is only the latest to hit Bangladeshi workers in the last few years. Pressure from worker and human rights organisations has at least pushed the Bangladeshi government to quickly bring charges against a dozen people for this latest massacre of workers.

Indian health centre workers protest

This week, the centre of New Delhi saw continuing demonstrations by thousands of Anganwadi women workers demanding better pay and an end to insecure employment (see video). Anganwadi is the Indian term for small community health centres, mainly in rural areas, that provide basic care in the areas of sexual health, nutrition and child development. This is not the first time that Anganwadi women have taken industrial action in India, with major demonstrations occurring in Bangalore earlier this year.

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