POSTED BY MARTIN KICH
The World Socialist Web Site includes a feature that is must-reading for anyone interested in labor issues. The site provides digests of labor news by region: “Workers Struggles: The Americas”; “Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East, and Africa”; and “Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia, and the Pacific.”
This week’s edition of “Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia, and the Pacific” includes the following items:
Cambodian Garment Workers Win Reinstatment
Cambodian Beverage-Can Factory Workers Protest
Vietnamese Garment Workers Strike
Thailand: Burmese Construction Workers Strike
Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong Protest
India: Tamil Nadu Film Industry Workers End Strike
Puducherry Agriculture Products Distribution Workers Strike
Tata Motors Temporary Workers End Strike
Maharashtra Rural Health Workers Hold State-Wide Strike
Pakistan: Karachi Police Attack Protesting Teachers
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Teachers Oppose Privatisation
Sri Lankan Power Utility Workers on Strike
New South Wales: Dock Workers in Newcastle Strike
Bathurst Hospital Non-Medical Staff Walk Out
Cash Delivery Guards in South Australia and Northern Territory Hold Second Strike
Western Australian Coal Miners Protest over Pay Cuts
In their range and details, these stories remind us that workers everywhere are fighting for the same basic things: better wages and benefits, improved working conditions, and the right to organize in order to insure those first two aims.
Some of the items, such as the third one on the strike by garment workers at a Vietnamese plant seem very grounded in their particulars, very local even if they do illustrate much broader realities:
Over 6,000 workers from the S&H Vina garment factory in Thach Thanh District walked off the job on September 6 to protest “inhumane” company rules. The strike erupted after a supervisor refused to allow 2,000 workers using old cloth to sit on to relax after lunch. They walked out and were followed soon after by the rest of the workforce.
Workers refused to enter the factory the following day and presented management with 14 demands, including for a basic salary increase and the provision of child benefits, seniority bonuses, a travel allowance, adequate maternity leave, reasonable working hours and the scrapping of penalties for absence from work due to sickness or other emergencies.
The garment workers also complained about “unreasonable” regulations, including having to tell the company three days in advance if they want to take sick or bereavement leave. They are allowed only one day paid leave per month.
In an attempt to end the strike management fired the supervisor responsible for the incident that sparked the strike and agreed to consider some of the workers’ demands.
Others such as the item on the strike by temporary workers at a Tata Motors plant seem to have a truly global resonance:
A four-day strike by 4,500 temporary employees at Tata Motors auto-plant in Jamshedpur was called off by the union on September 9 after it reaching a deal with management. Workers were demanding job permanency, higher wages, incentives on par with the regular workers and revision of a three-year old wage agreement. Temporary workers are only paid around 12,000 rupees a month compared to 30,000 rupees for permanent employees.
The Tata Motors Union accepted management’s proposal to provide permanent positions for 200 temporary workers each year. The union had previously demanded 500 jobs be made permanent each year.
And, the items on striking teachers and protesting university faculty not only concern issues that should be of interest to readers of this blog, but they are not as far removed from what is imaginable in this nation as they might have been just several decades ago:
“Pakistan: Karachi Police Attack Protesting Teachers”
Police attacked teachers marching from the Karachi Press Club to the chief minister’s house with water cannon and batons on Tuesday. The teachers were demanding five years’ of unpaid wages. Two protesters were injured and three arrested.
The Sindh government, following protests in March and July, promised to pay overdue wages before September Eid holidays. At least 7,500 teachers appointed in 2012 have been affected. The protesting teachers ignored the latest government pledge that it would soon pay overdue wages and said they would keep demonstrating until the promise is kept.
“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Teachers Oppose Privatisation”
College professors and lecturers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mansehra district demonstrated outside the Mansehra Press Club on Tuesday over government plans to privatise public educational institutions. The teachers fear that the government’s “Higher Education Act” will hand over higher educational institutions to the private sector.