aawl mini-news

Philippines call centre workers fighting back

Sitel is a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm which owns and runs call centres in the Philippines and globally. Their business model has been based on exploiting un-organised workers earning low wages by shifting call centres from unionised, high wage countries. The company is now threatening to sack 1,000 workers from its premises in the export processing zone of Baguio City. Members of the newly-formed Sitel Philippines Association of Rank and File Workers (SPARK) have taken to the streets to protest against these impending job losses, the continued casualisation of its workforce, and the intimidation of labour activists. The members of SPARK have received strong support from unions in New Zealand, while there is an international petition in support of their demands.

More auto workers facing violence in India

With the Gurgaon industrial belt near New Delhi expanding into near-by areas, hundreds of thousands of more workers are being employed in these industrial zones. While many of these workers don’t have a history of unionisation, they have nevertheless quickly understood the value of collective strength. The struggles at Maruti Suzuki and at Aisin have shown the extent that companies will go to, to brutally suppress any independent union organising. The Ahresty workers are the latest group of workers to face this repression with both company-paid thugs and police attacking them for daring to organise a union and demanding better conditions.

Aboriginal communities still fighting for their rights

This year marked the tenth anniversary of the NT Intervention – a political, social and military takeover of Aboriginal communities by the Australian government with the racist and fallacious justification of saving its children. The reality has been that this intervention has done nothing to solve the historical marginalisation of these communities and has just created a new era of ‘powerlessness’ for Aboriginal communities in Australia. While incredible damage has been done, Aboriginal people and supporters in the union movement have continued to oppose this continuing repression. The fight for Aboriginal rights and against the Intervention continues.
Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land

More arrests by Thailand military junta

The ongoing suppression of any political dissent in Thailand continued with this week’s arrest of ten human rights activists who held a public meeting to discuss constitutional changes in 2016. In another case, 60 year old Charoenchai Saetang, was arrested earlier this month by the military for being a long time campaigner against the Lese Majeste law – Article 112. On the industrial front the military junta tried to play the nationalist card by passing a draconian law against illegal workers. This move backfired with many employers expressing their unhappiness because they rely on the undocumented status of many workers to pay them less in insecure employment situations.

Free all political prisoners in Thailand!  Abolish Article 112!  End the military dictatorship!

Korean workers continue battle against Samsung

The protest camp set up outside the headquarters of Samsung Electronics in Seoul, to call for justice for workers who have died or fallen ill, is fast approaching its second anniversary. The company has a history of vicious anti-union behaviour which results in toxic working conditions for its workforce. A new film called Stories from the Cleanroom uses the stories and experiences of Samsung workers to detail the hazardous conditions that they were forced to work in at Samsung Electronics.

Long awaited trial of TEPCO executives begins

The first court proceedings for the Fukushima nuclear disaster that occurred in March 2011 are only now commencing, starting with the criminal trial against former Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) executives. This delay is the result of the collusion and the political ties that exist between TEPCO and the Japanese government. Even these delayed hearings have come about because activists conducted relentless public campaigns to force the government to act and hold TEPCO accountable for the damage it has caused. On top of the initial damage, the nuclear reactor’s vast quantities of radioactive water have been released into the sea, with workers continually being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.

Korean workers take to the streets again

On Friday 30 June, over 50,000 workers staged a demonstration in central Seoul in pursuit of a set of demands. They included a call for the minimum wage to be increased to 10 thousand Won per hour (almost $US9/h), the abolition of precarious work practices, and the right for workers to unionise without intimidation. This demonstration is part of an ongoing push by workers in South Korea to reverse the constant Race to the Bottom in terms of wages and conditions by increasing job security and to attain a living wage for all. On the same weekend, 5,000 truck drivers held a demonstration in support of the right to unionise.

Indian protesters condemn far right killings

Last week, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the street in many cities to protest against the increasing mob related murders of Muslims and other minority groups in India. Many of these killings have been labelled ‘cow terrorism’ as far right gangs have used Hinduism’s reverence for cows as an excuse to attack and kill people. These far right groups have become more active since the election of a BJP government led by Narendra Modi, who only condemned these murders in the last couple of days. Recent investigations by human rights groups lay the blame for this rise of sectarian violence on the BJP Government’s promotion of Hindu nationalism. 

Epidemic in Yemen devastates workers

With more than 13,000 people having been killed already, and with over 5,000 new cases of cholera a day being reported, working class communities in Yemen are facing a growing catastrophe. This unprecedented cholera epidemic is the result of a brutal war that has devastated the country and destroyed the popular democratic forces that first challenged the status quo as part of the Arab Spring. This war is also part of the continuing and ongoing counter-revolutions that have destroyed other popular uprisings in the region, like in Syria. Various regional powers are now themselves engaged in a deadly competition for the spoils of war. As always, workers are the first losers of this rivalry between capitalist powers. 

NAIDOC – Celebrating Indigenous Australia

The first week of July in Australia is National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance week (NAIDOC). It began in the 1920′s when Aboriginal groups started to campaign against the discriminatory treatment that Indigenous Australians faced. NAIDOC week is an opportunity to continue the fight for justice for Aboriginal Australians. This year the theme is Our Languages Matter. This focus is to emphasise the essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water, their history, spirituality and rites, through story and song. Activities are held all around Australia, while there is a major rally on Friday 7 July in Melbourne.

Join the festival and march
Friday 7 July at 10am  Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, 186 Nicholson St, Fitzroy.
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