Bangladeshi workers set fire to factories

Bangladeshi garment workers calling for a minimum wage increase clashed with police outside Dhaka. Source: AAP

Bangladeshi garment workers calling for a minimum wage increase clashed with police outside Dhaka. Source: AAP

The Australian, September 23, 2013

ANGRY Bangladeshi garment workers have blocked roads, set factories alight and clashed with police for a third day as protests demanding a minimum monthly wage of $US100 spread outside the capital Dhaka.

Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district near Dhaka, which is home to hundreds of factories, said on Monday “up to 200,000 workers” had joined the latest demonstrations.

His deputy Mustafizur Rahman said about 300 factories, which make clothing for top Western retailers such as Walmart, were shut on Monday to contain the violence as protesting workers attacked plants that stayed open. Continue reading

European General Strikes announced: “We don’t owe! We won’t pay!”

Main Greek union calls general strike on November 6-7

ATHENS – Agence France Presse

EPA photo

EPA photo

Greece’s main union to called a 48-hour general strike for November 6-7 in protest at a new wave of austerity measures unveiled by the government in order to unlock EU-IMF bailout loans, AFP reported.

“The central aim and demand of the unions is the rejection (by parliament) of unacceptable, destructive and coercive measures imposed by the troika,” the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) said in a statement, referring to the EU, IMFand European Central Bank.

October/31/2012

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#14N: European General Strike

29 October 2012

Soulevons-nous! Erheben wir uns! Solleviamoci! Continue reading

South Africa strikes spill into transport sector

The unrest has forced three leading platinum producers to halt mining operations on the richest deposits in the world

By Sibongile Khumalo, Agence France-Presse
JOHANNESBURG, 25/09/2012
South Africa is struggling to quell a wave of strikes that have crippled the key mining sector and now threaten to spark fuel and food shortages, as transport workers became the latest to go on strike Tuesday.

Unions representing an estimated 28,000 truckers said poor pay and conditions had prompted them to launch the latest in a rash of sometimes deadly strikes that threaten to spook investors and curb growth in the emerging nation.

Drivers are seeking a 12-percent wage increase for 2013 and 2014, more than the rate of inflation, which stands at 5.0 percent.

Last week President Jacob Zuma said stoppages in the mining sector in the past nine months had cost the economy close to 4.5 billion rand ($534 million, 415 million euros).

Firms in the transport and mining sectors on Tuesday tried to end the standoffs at the negotiating table, although progress appeared to be slow.

Road Freight Association spokesperson Magretia Brown said no deal had yet been reached with transport workers, but talks were ongoing.

Meanwhile Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers, who have been on a wildcat strike which is now on its second week, held their first day of talks.

The strike has shut down operations at the world’s top platinum producer.

“We expect Anglo American to come with something on the table and if they are unable to do that, the strike will continue and it will be the start of the (formal) strike,” said Gaddhafi Mdoda, a workers representative. Continue reading

Greece: The students side of the story

Press release of the Occupied Universities of Athens

Saturday September 3 2011
topics:

 

Press Release — Student Unions and Occupied Universities of Athens

On the day of the official academic-year opening, the student movement, the university personnel and the academic community as a whole declare proudly: this education reform will be blocked. Our decisive struggle has just started! It already counts 96 occupied departments of Universities and Polytechnics (cc. the occupied departments are now more than 200) and one big demonstration against the reform and the governmental policy (7000 demonstrators on September 1rst , in Athens).

We declare our disobedience to the political decisions of the alliance of PASOK-ND-LAOS (cc. social democrats-conservatis-extreme right) and the directives of the Troika (EU, IMF, ECB). We warn them that we are not stepping back unless the reform is withdrawn and the ones that voted for it leave. We are not terrorized by the behated minority of the 250 members of the parliament who, following the orders of Troika and the IMF, have brought the youth and the working people at the edge of the cliff. Continue reading

The Deadly Labor Behind Our Phones, Laptops and Consumer Gadgets

At this Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China, 300,000 workers produce iPads, iPhones and other best-selling consumer items

by Sophia Cheng
Thursday, September 1 2011

The world’s largest electronics manufacturer, Foxconn Technology Group, has a plan for ending the grisly run of worker suicides that have drawn it unwanted attention over the past two years: replace human workers with one million robots. It seems the best way to interrupt rising global outrage over worker abuse in iPhone factories is to just get rid of the workers.

With a labor force of 1.2 million people, Foxconn is China’s largest private employer and biggest exporter. It manufactures familiar products for the U.S. market. Through contracts with Apple, Motorola, Nokia, Hewlett Packard, Dell and Sony, it makes the computers, phones, laptops and printers that we use every day—including the iPhones and iPads that many people will use to read this very article. Continue reading

Weaving Workers Progress In Bangladesh

The Hidden Paw: An independent voice for social and environmental justice

Where do all those "already worn" jeans come from?

 

August 2, 2010

Although little commented on, an inspirational and highly effective struggle is currently being waged by Bangladeshi textile workers, who have successfully extracted an increase in the country’s paltry minimum wage, and are now agitating to have it raised still further.

Last week, the government raised the minimum wage from $25 per month, to $45, although campaigners are demanding $73 in view of rising living costs. Protests and strikes have been met by constant repression. In the latest incident, striking workers in the export processing hub Ashulia were met with tear gas and rubber bullets, as the AP reports. With the government now moving away from sympathy with the workers (and saying that they “should concentrate on work” the struggle will no doubt intensify, if it continues.

The AP report quoted above also notes that “Bangladesh’s garment exports, mainly to the United States and Europe, earn more than $12 billion a year, nearly 80 percent of the country’s export income. The country has 4,000 factories employing more than 2 million workers, most of them women.” Continue reading