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 February 15, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
February 14, 2014—Three years after the people of Bahrain stood up for a more participatory government, the crackdown on dissent and rampant discrimination in the workplace continues.
|Workers in Bahrain protest large-scale firings and repression in the wake of the 2011 protests. Photo: Kate Conradt
Hundreds of workers—including teachers, doctors, nurses and journalists who were doing their jobs when marches were met with violence—have been fired, demoted or sidelined at their workplaces. Many were imprisoned and tortured, including the president of the Teachers’ Association who remains in jail.
During a recent trip to the island country, the Solidarity Center met with workers still without employment despite government commitments to rectify wrongful dismissals. These include workers who were fired in the immediate aftermath of the February 2011 democracy protests and those who are losing their jobs now. One woman was fired after she was imprisoned and tortured for not surrendering a music cassette at a checkpoint. A hotel security guard, trained in emergency medicine, was fired for treating injured protesters. Leading medical specialists, including one of the country’s few rheumatologists, have been denied hospital credentials. Journalists say they have been blacklisted, not only in Bahrain but across Gulf countries, forcing them to seek a way to learn a living far outside their training. Continue reading
Filed under: Solidarity | Tagged: Bahrain, Solidarity Center | 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 January 16, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
International Trade Union Confederation
In January, the ITUC will join the international trade union delegations attending in Turkey the court hearings of two cases targeting members of the Confederation of Public Sector Workers’ Unions (KESK), an ITUC and ETUC affiliate. This to once again strongly denounce the Turkish government’s anti-union attacks and the abuse of the Turkish legal and judicial system by the authorities aimed at hindering the trade union movement.
In the last several years, hundreds of members and leaders of the KESK-affiliated trade unions have been arrested, detained, prosecuted and tried on several grounds for exercising their rights to freedom of association and of expression as well as to peacefully demonstrate.
“These relentless attacks on trade unionists in Turkey must come to an end,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary. “All the union members detained should be released immediately and be able to exercise they legitimate role without being afraid of being arrested or accused of connections with illegal organisations.” Continue reading
Filed under: Solidarity | Tagged: Turkey | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 10, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
An urgent message from Eric Lee of LabourStart:
On January 3, 2014, the Cambodian government sent military police to attack a demonstration of striking garment workers. The police opened fire with AK-47 rifles killing five workers and injuring dozens more.
The government has since banned all demonstrations and used military force to clear the streets. At least 39 workers have been detained and are held in unknown locations. Faced with this brutal repression, the unions have called off the strike and workers are returning to work, although they are continuing to press their demands for an increased minimum wage.
They are no longer on strike — but their struggle continues and they are asking for our help.
Please take a moment to support the campaign demanding that the Cambodian government stop the violence, restore freedom of association and assembly, release the detained workers and drop any charges against them, and resume negotiations for an increase in the minimum wage:
Filed under: Solidarity | Tagged: Cambodia, LabourStart | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 1, 2014 by paulgarver
by Roger Sikes
In 2013 we won big victories and laid important infrastructure towards organizing the South. Our city of Atlanta is critical to the regional, national and global struggle to build an economy that works for EVERYONE. The South must lead. Building an unapologetically progressive organization that unites community, labor, students and faith communities in effective campaigns and movements for economic, racial and social justice is a tall task anywhere, but especially in the South. Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing, Resources, Solidarity, Uncategorized, Worker Centers | Tagged: Atlanta, Jobs with Judstice, JwJ | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 24, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
(Dec 22) The ITUC and the International Transport Workers’ Federation are gravely concerned about the ongoing contraventions of human and trade union rights in South Korea. Korean police attacked the offices of the national trade union centre KCTU with tear gas, detaining more than 100 striking railway workers today.
Transport is one of several sectors where workers’ rights are under attack; indeed, workers throughout the country are seeing their fundamental rights violated or ignored. The International Labour Organisation has on repeated occasions found the country’s laws wanting and have called on the government to respect the right to freedom of association in practice. However, the two global organisations are immediately concerned about the situation on Korea’s railways. Continue reading
Filed under: Solidarity | Tagged: International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC, KCTU, Korail, Korean Railway Workers’ Union, KRWU, South Korea | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 23, 2013 by dcampbell1
The Paucity of Dan Walters’ Commentary on School Issues
The column by Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee entitled “California’s School Wars Heat Up” in the print edition for Dec.20, and entitled “Powerful Factions Go to War Over Direction of California Schools,” http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/20/6015661/dan-walters-powerful-factions.html in the on line version seriously and deliberatively misinforms. Walters’s columns are reprinted in newspapers throughout the state.
He frames the conflict between the School Establishment ( school administrators, elected officials, teachers’ unions] vs. the “School Reformers”. These are indeed two of the powerful factions competing in the California State Capitol, but not at all the complete story.
To understand the distortion lets see who these “reformers “ see the Democracy and Education Institute https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg
Filed under: Busting the union busters, Politics, Solidarity | Tagged: California, California State Capitol, California Teachers Association, Dan Walters, Diane Ravitch, Economic Policy Institute, Sacramento, Sacramento Bee | Leave a comment »