Support PCS strike at London's National Gallery

 PSI August 13, 2015  Staff at London's National Gallery, organised by PSI affiliate the Public and commercial services union (PCS), have been on strike since February 2015 following the Gallery's decision to privatise almost all staff, including those who look after the paintings and help the gallery's six million annual visitors.

Support the campaign to get Veolia out of Daegu-Gyeonbuk!

  The Blue Planet Project April 13, 2015 - 1:59pm The 2015 World Water Forum is being held this week in Daegu-Gyeongbuk, South Korea. At a press conference in Daegu on April 12, the Korean Government Employees Union (KGEU) was joined by allies from around the world as they denounced the forum for cementing corporate water interests in the region. The French transnational water corporation Veolia Environment – a company with a dismal human rights and environmental record – is among the corporations playing a prominent role at the forum. According to KGEU, Veolia has taken advantage of the event to forge ties with the Korean and local governments.

US oil workers strike over pay, benefits and safety

 About 3,800 workers in four states have refused to return to work after contract renegotiations fell apart February 2, 2015 2:55PM ET Al Jazeera America     Wilson Dizard    About 3,800 oil refinery workers at nine plants in California, Texas, Kentucky and Washington state carried out their second day of strikes Monday, calling for safer working conditions and better pay and benefits. The strike comes at a routine juncture in labor relations: a contract renegotiation. But talks collapsed in acrimony Saturday night with both sides leaving the table and have not resumed yet, according to United Steel Workers International (USW), the union leading the strike. The union represents oil refinery employees in 65 plants across the United States, producing 64 percent of U.S. oil. Crude prices have fallen by 50 percent in the last six months, but analysts say the strike is unlikely to reverse that trend or to significantly diminish refining capacity. The more important effects could be related to workers’ safety and the new contract they negotiate with the energy companies that employ them.

Twelve Japanese Civil Groups Declare solidarity with the Occupy Movement in Hong Kong (Summary)

The statement is also endorsed by 69 individual signatories. It stresses that, similar to Hong Kong, Japan's current regime also ignores public opinion and implements non-democratic policies, including reactionary labor law reform, the expansion of military bases in Okinawa and the restarting of nuclear power plants. The young people and students of Hong Kong, through their occupation, have greatly encouraged the Japanese people. The statement also distinguishes between occupations. One is Japanese Imperialism’s occupation of Hong Kong during the Second World War, which was evil. The other is the Hong Kong people’s occupation of major roads to demand democracy, which is glorious. Towards the end the statement appeals for solidarity between Asian working people across the countries. Read the statement (Chinese only).  

Build your Dreams Electronics India (BYD) responds to strike with harassment and detention

 GoodElectronics Jun 23, 2014 Since yesterday, 800 workers of the electronic company Build your Dreams (BYD) in Chennai, India are on sit-in strike. The workers are unsatisfied with the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) offered by the Chinese owned Nokia supplier, which holds that workers who have been with the company for more than 8 years are offered a VRS of 50.000 rupee and a 2 months’ salary. The VRS announcement followed after a down-sizing statement from Nokia, which is having a cascading effect to its suppliers, such as BYD and Foxconn. BYD, supplying rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, has around 1500 permanent workers, including 500 women. Dissatisfied with the settlement package, 800 workers went on a sit-in strike and have not let the five Chinese managers and two HR representatives outside until their demands are answered. The workers say that, while they have tried to treat these managers and HR representatives with respect, the workers have been met with abuses. Images of the Chinese managers kicking over the food and water of the workers have appeared in the media. The police have stepped in under the guise of protection, but have been intimidating the workers. Two representatives of the NDLF union have been arrested. The workers are now being forcefully detained.

Four Hong Kong Groups Protests against the Thailand Coup

  We Condemn the Military Coup in Thailand! Restore Democracy and Human Rights in Thailand! Two days after the announcement that martial law had been put in force was made on May 20th, a military junta, named the National Order Maintenance Council (NOMC), led a coup and subsequently installed itself as the government of Thailand.  Over the course of the six months of anti-government protests, twenty-eight people had been killed and more than eight-hundred injured. Hence, we are gravely concerned about the on-going human rights violations and the regression of democracy in Thailand. Furthermore, we strongly demand the Thailand military junta immediately release all detainees and stop the human rights violations.  General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, declared the coup in order to “restore peace”, and he was endorsed as the leader of the country by the King on May 25th. The military junta, however, dissolved the senate, implemented intensive media control, and arrested a great number of citizens who had participated in protests raising their voice against the military coup and the new regime.

SACTWU salutes brave Chinese footware workers

23 April 2014 The SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) salutes the brave 40 000 Chinese footwear workers who have been on strike since 14 April 2014. These workers are employees at footwear factories in the Chinese city of Dongguan. These factories belong to Hong Kong-based Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, and workers there make shoes for premier international brands such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, Converse, Timberland, and Asics. The workers’ main concern is that while the company is required by law to contribute every month to a social insurance account for workers, workers have discovered that their company has either under-contributed to their accounts, or not contributed at all. For instance, it seems the company has robbed workers of much of their benefit payments by calculating the payments on the basis of workers’ base wages instead of their actual wages. Yet actual wages are routinely double the base wage due to extensive overtime. This means social benefit payments are severely undervalued. In addition, it appears the company has paid only about 1 000 workers (out of 45 000 workers) their statutory housing payments.

General Motors (GM) is attacking European Workers. Is There No Resistance? The Example of Opel Bochum

by Wolfgang Schaumberg   Since 2001, GM -- active throughout Europe under the brand-name “Opel” -- has reduced its number of employees in Europe to 40,000.  That’s 8,000 less than in the year 2008.  GM now has 55,000 employees in China.  After two factories were already closed in Portugal and Belgium, GM announced last year that it would end production in one of its four German factories, in Bochum, at the end of 2014 and sell the production area, which is as large as about 200 soccer fields.  For decades, Opel Bochum was GM’s largest production facility, and in 1992 still had 19,200 employees.  Step by step, the labor force was reduced to 3,500, but always in the face of tough resistance struggles like in no other facility.  Even internationally, the labor force at Opel attracted attention through its independent so-called “wildcat strike” in the year 2000 (3 days) and in particular in 2004 (6 days).  (See, a film with English subtitles about the Ooel Bochum strike of 2004).

The German Dispatch Labour Law and the Response of Labour Unions

On the eve of the passing of the bill on dispatch labour, Labour Vision Taiwan interviewed Mr Martin Krämer, a researcher for the executive committee of the German Metal Trade Union in Frankfurt, in order to find out how the German dispatch labour law, enacted in 1972, affected social change in terms of working conditions. His view is that for three decades German unions adopting a position of "regulate rather than prohibit dispatch labour" has only resulted in today’s deteriorating working conditions. Mr. Krämer also believes that if Taiwan has yet to legalize labour dispatch then this should give space for labour unions to resist it. If this is the case, then the present union movement needs not make any compromise with the bourgeois government over related legislation.

On-line Petition to Condemn the Cambodian Authority’s Repression of Workers

Mr Hun Sen: Stop the Brutal Suppression of Workers and Trade Unions in Cambodia Petition by Asian TNCs Monitoring Network Support Cambodian working people who have been struggling for their rights. The Cambodian government has been violently suppressing the legitimate strike organised and participated by the majority of garment, textile and footwear workers demanding higher minimum wage. Numerous media reports confirmed that the use of excessive force of the police and armed forces brutally killed at least four workers and severely injured 23 workers and supporters between 2nd and 3rd January 2014. We have been informed that many arrests were made by authorities as well and 10 workers are under police and army custody up to date. It is very unfortunate that it was the government not the workers who initiated the violent clash between security forces and strikers. Click here to endorse the appeal.  
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