Posted on March 5, 2014 by paulgarver
Hong Kong, 28 February 2014
On the day of Apple’s annual general meeting, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) is urging Apple again to take immediate and constructive action to fulfil its corporate responsibility by improving the working conditions in its suppliers.
Despite respectable quarterly revenues of US$57.6 billion and a net quarterly profit of US$13.1 billion in the first quarter of its fiscal year of 2014, the company is unwilling to share its success with frontline workers – those who turn its ideas into real products. Apple’s newly published Corporate Supplier Responsibility (CSR) Progress Report projects an ideal workplace at Apple suppliers, yet we doubt workers are enjoying any benefit at all: Continue reading
Filed under: Fair Trade, Global organizing, Low wage workers, Organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Apple, China workers, SACOM | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 22, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
China Labour Bulletin
[Editorial Note: For many years the China Labour Bulletin (CLB) has been a reliable source for information on and analysis of the workers' movement in China. Alhough the CLB remains highly critical of the official trade union structures, its editors have documented and encouraged efforts by certain regional union officials to initiate badly needed reforms essential for meeting the workers' rising demands for a genuine voice in the workplace. However, as this excellent new report shows, the real impetus for positive change is coming from the rising consciousness of Chinese workers themselves.--Paul Garver]
China’s workers have emerged over the last few years as a strong, unified and increasingly active collective force. Workers have time and again demonstrated the will and the ability to stand up to abusive and arrogant managements and to demand better pay and working conditions.
However, workers are still hampered by the lack of an effective trade union that can maintain solidarity, bargain directly with managements and protect labour leaders from reprisals. As a result, workers are turning to labour rights groups that can advise and support their collective actions while, at the same time, demanding more of the official trade union and putting pressure on it to change.
In China labour Bulletin’s new research report on the workers’ movement, published today, we examine this evolving relationship between the workers, the trade union and civil society and look at how the government is struggling to respond to rapid social and economic change. Continue reading
Filed under: Global organizing, Low wage workers, Solidarity, Uncategorized, Worker Centers | Tagged: ACFTU, China, China Labor Bulletin, Chinese workers | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 29, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
The adoption of a new constitution in Tunisia is a “historic moment for the country and the region as a whole, and I would like to congratulate the UGTT for the key role it has played in reaching this crucial milestone on the road to democracy and respect for fundamental rights”, said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
The ITUC joined with the people of Tunisia in applauding this achievement, which guarantees fundamental principles such as the separation of powers, an independent judiciary, freedom of association, the right to organise and the right to strike. The ITUC also welcomed the equally historic decision to introduce the principle of gender parity in elected bodies. Continue reading
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Tunisia, UCTT Tunisia | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 25, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Eric Lee
Police in action against KESK demonstrators Thursday
On a chilly Thursday morning in late January I found myself standing at the entrance to an ultra-modern building that looked exactly like a shopping center or hotel. An immense atrium, mirror-like glass everywhere, it was certainly designed by architects with ambitions. The building was the main courthouse in downtown Istanbul — the largest courthouse, we were told, in all of Europe.
I was there in order to attend the opening of the trial of 56 members of KESK, the Turkish trade union for public sector workers. The KESK members are accused of membership in an illegal organization, and making propaganda for that organization. A handful of them were accused of being leaders of the organization.
The organization they are accused of joining is the Devrimci Halk Kurtuluş Partisi-Cephesi (DHKP-C) — the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party–Front — which for more than three decades has conducted an armed struggle against the Turkish state. The DHKP-C is considered a terrorist organization not only by the Turkish government but also by the European Union and the United States.
On 1 February 2013, the organization carried out a suicide bombing at the US Embassy in Ankara, killing one person in addition to the attacker and injuring three.
A few days later, Turkish police launched raids across the country targetting the offices of KESK — a fiercely independent union which has challenged the Erdogan government’s policies in a number of areas, most notably in education.
There are no proven links between any of the KESK defendants and the DHKP-C. According to the union, their members are being framed and their only real crime is the militant defense of KESK members against the ongoing attack by the government.
Following the arrests, at the request of global and European unions, LabourStart launched an online campaign that generated nearly 13,000 protest messages.
Some 167 KESK activists were detained, most were released, and 56 of them are awaiting trial. Of those, 29 have been held in prison for nearly a year. Naturally their families, union leaders, journalists and others wanted to attend the opening of the trial. But the court decided to hold it in one of the smallest chambers they had, cramming in dozens of people, forcing many to stand in a hot, airless room.
The three judges confirmed the identities of those standing trial and then allowed the defendants one by one to state their cases. The first was a school teacher who spoke at length about the history of the Turkish trade union movement, crushed first by the military dictatorship in the 1980s and now again by the Erdogan government. The lead judge interrupted her, asking how long she would go on as he was keen to take a break.
“As long as I need,” she replied. “I have a lot to say.
Her speech ended with rousing applause from the audience, which included a trade union delegation from a number of European countries. During the break, the trade unionists joined hundreds of KESK members on the plaza opposite the courthouse in a protest.
Though the demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Down with fascism”, Turkey is clearly not a fascist state. (Fascist states don’t allow demonstrations of this type.)
But Turkey is a state that recognizes few of the internationally-accepted rights for workers, and won’t allow civil servants, for example, to have a collective bargaining agreement.
The trial in Istanbul is part of a broader series of trials that include some 500 KESK members.
There is no question that the Erdogan government is trying to break the union by jailing its leaders. As one of the European union leaders put it, it’s an attempt to “decapitate” the troublesome KESK.
These trials, like those which preceded them, have been ignored by the mainstream media. In Turkey, this is to be expected, as the media is in the grip of Erdogan’s AK Party. But few journalists in Europe and elsewhere have shown any interest in these events. Apparently, unless blood flows in the streets — as it did last spring in Taksim Square and Gezi Park — Turkey is of no interest to the world.
Eric Lee is the founding editor of LabourStart, the international labor news and campaigning site
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: KESC, Turkey | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 26, 2013 by dcampbell1
A review by Duane Campbell
The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration by David Bacon is a well written, well informed book that explains political and economic currents shaping the US immigration experience.
The U.S. public is engaged in a sustained and divisive debate over immigration. Unfortunately, at the same time , most U.S. do not recognize that U.S. economic policy, particularly NAFTA created many of the conditions that produce the very immigration of some 8 million people that many on the Right and the Tea Party so oppose.
The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 accelerated a neo-liberal form of economic growth in Mexico that drove poor farmers, particularly in the indigenous south to lose their farms and their livelihood. In response young men, and increasingly the young women, made the dangerous trek to the U.S. in search of work and an income to feed their families and keep their families from losing their farms. Continue reading
Filed under: Book Reviews, Fair Trade, Global organizing, Immigrant Workers, Solidarity | Tagged: Cananea, David Bacon, Mexican migration, Mexico, NAFTA, North American Free Trade Agreement, Smithfield Foods, United States | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 7, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Carl Proper
Blockading the Highway. No pasarán.
July 17, 2013 – At 4:00 a.m., indigenous dwellers in the Darién rainforest, Republic of Panama, barricaded the Inter-American Highway near the community of Arimae, about 100 miles east of Panama City. Truckers and other travelers were unhappy. Indigenous leaders demanded a meeting with a government Minister and enforcement of the policy against non-indigenous squatters occupying their land. The next day, the Minister appeared. Native control of the land was acknowledged, and the immediate crisis was resolved, but permanent legal recognition and indigenous communal ownership of the land is still pending.
According to Planting Empowerment, a business supporting sustainable forestry in the Darién, “from 1969 to 1981, the community lost 64,000 hectares of its reserve to loggers, migrant subsistence farmers from other provinces, and the Inter-American Highway expansion. Today, Arimae communally manages just over 8,000 hectares of land.i”
What century are we in? What have we learned? And has it made a difference?
As a study of descendants of Panama’s pre-Colombian population puts it: “Indigenous peoples throughout the world have been losing their lands to outsiders and newcomers for many generations. It is a trend that continues to this day.”ii
But why should we care? What basis could there be for solidarity between trade unionists in modern society and traditional peoples confronting powerful agricultural interests in the jungles of Central America? Continue reading
Filed under: Global organizing | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 7, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Wu Guijun, a migrant worker employed for 9 years making furniture at the Diweixin Product Factory in Shenzhen (southern China), has been detained since May 23 and faces criminal prosecution for defending the rights of his co-workers. Since his arrest Wu has been denied contact with his family. SEND A MESSAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES DEMANDING HIS RELEASE!
Workers at the Hong Kong-owned factory sought negotiations earlier this year in response to concerns about production cutbacks and apparent preparations for relocation to another site in the Chinese interior. Seven workers were elected to represent them, including Wu, but the employer refused to disclose any information and rejected negotiations. In response, the workers downed tools on May 7 and petitioned the local government to intervene. On May 23, 300 workers were besieged by the police while marching to the City Government; more than 20 workers were arrested and detained, including Wu Guijun. All were eventually released except for Wu. According to his lawyer, Wu now faces criminal prosecution for “assembling a crowd to disturb social order”.
Filed under: Global organizing | Tagged: China, IUF, Wu Guijun | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 7, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
From dawn in the Pacific islands to sunset on the west coast of the Americas, workers from more than 100 countries are taking part in a global day of action to demand stronger government action for economic recovery, job creation, decent working conditions and full respect for workers’ rights.
World Day for Decent Work 2013, co-ordinated by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), highlights youth unemployment, which is as high as 60% in some countries, and a whole generation of young people faces exclusion from the labour market. This is a social and economic time-bomb.
This year again, unions from across the world will be calling in unison for social justice and decent jobs for all. With governments still unwilling or unable to tame the dominance of global finance and multinationals over peoples’ lives, the only way to get the economy back on track and serving the interests of the many rather than the few is by building workers’ power.
The latest ITUC global opinion poll http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/ituc_global_poll_2013_web.pdf shows overwhelming public support for laws that protect the right to union membership and collective bargaining; however, tens of millions of workers are denied these rights due to deficient laws, poor enforcement and anti-union practices by employers including some of the world’s biggest multinational companies. Continue reading
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: ITUC, World Day for Decent Work | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 26, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
With a new website—TMobileWorkersUnited.org—workers at T-Mobile US are connecting with each other to build strength in their drive for workplace justice and respect.
Working with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), T-Mobile Workers United (TU) is an alliance of hundreds of call center representatives, retail associates and technicians who are standing up to discuss the issues and challenges they face at the new T-Mobile US, a merger of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS.
For the past several years, T-Mobile workers say they have faced an extensive anti-union campaign by the company that last year closed seven call centers in the United States and shipped more than 3,300 jobs overseas. Continue reading
Filed under: Global organizing, Organizing | Tagged: call centers, CWA, T-mobile, TMobile Workers United | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 25, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Justin DeWaele
August 12, 2013—At least 21 million people globally toil in forced labor, a problem that stems from a “global governance crisis” in which corporations’ supply chains have gotten so complex and diffuse that current oversight mechanisms are no longer effective, according to a panel of Human Trafficking experts on Capitol Hill. The lack of corporate or governmental oversight of supply chains, especially subcontractors, is a major problem allowing trafficking for forced labor to grow on a global scale.
|Photo: Imagens Evangélicas
Former U.S. ambassador and current Georgetown University Professor Mark P. Lagon moderated the July 26 panel, “Business Transparency to Address Human Trafficking.” The panel was convened in anticipation of a House bill on human trafficking, which would require U.S. companies to make information on their supply chains available to the public and to continually investigate sourcing. Advocates of the approach say it gives more power to consumers by enabling them to choose whether to purchase ethically-sourced products and also puts more pressure on companies to ensure that labor laws are enforced throughout their supply chains.
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: forced labor, global suppply chians, Human trafficking | Leave a comment »