Archive for ‘At work’

April 27, 2011

Signalfire

Mozambique: Kenmare forced to stop production at Moma

The expansion programme to increase production capacity at the Moma mine by 50 percent is well underway and scheduled for commissioning and ramp-up in 2012
Production at Kenmare Resources’ Moma mine in Mozambique has been temporarily suspended due to an unofficial strike by workers. The industrial action commenced this morning after annual wage negotiations broke down. The Irish mining company said talks were progressing when an unofficial strike was called by a group of employees.[…] Source: http://businessandleadership.com/business/item/29744-kenmare-forced-to-stop/

Vietnamese workers end strike after Taiwan company hikes wages

Hanoi – About 1,300 employees at a Taiwan-owned footwear factory in northern Vietnam returned to work Wednesday after the company agreed to increase their monthly salary.

Workers at Stateway Vietnam Footwear in Hai Phong city went on strike Tuesday demanding an additional 18 dollars a month to 88 dollars, an official of the company’s personnel department said.

Under Vietnamese law, strikes must be approved by local authorities and the government-affiliated national trade union. In practice, virtually all strikes take place without such approval.[…] source: http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/business/news/article_1635378.php/Vietnamese-workers-end-strike-after-Taiwan-company-hikes-wages

India: Tea workers strike hit local farmers

 ILAM, April 27: Local farmers have suffered loss worth more than Rs 200 million due to the strike launched by tea workers. Farmers have not been able to sell green leaves to tea producers ever since the workers launched strike 10 days ago, demanding pay hike.

Agitating workers have brought harvesting and processing of tea in key districts — Ilam, Dhankuta and Terhathum – to a grinding halt.[…] Source: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=30678

Uganda: Iganga Steel Workers Lay Down Tools

Iganga — Police in Iganga District deployed heavily yesterday at Tembo Steels Uganda Limited following a sit-down strike by workers protesting low pay and poor working conditions. The strike started at about 8am when the workers camped at the factory located at Kasolo village, about 2 kilometres from Iganga town.

Police led by Iganga DPC David Manzi stormed the place to ensure that the strike did not turn violent.

The workers complained that they receive little pay in addition to being mistreated by their bosses. “They give us only Shs1,200 every day for breakfast and lunch. Then at the end of every month (some) workers, especially the porters, are given as little as Shs40,000 per month, which is too little given the high cost of living,” one of the protestors who talked on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised for revealing information told, Daily Monitor, as her colleagues backed her. They said they are not provided safety gear and the few who have, bought them.[…] Source:

Hundreds Of Iranian Workers Protest For Back Wages

TEHRAN – Workers at the Alborz tire factory near Tehran have rallied in front of Iran’s presidential office to demand nine months’ of unpaid wages and the reopening of the plant, RFE/RL’s Radio Farda reports.

An employee told Radio Farda that about 800 workers participated in the protest on April 24. He said the workers were told after the Iranian New Year in March that the factory would be closed until it had enough money to reopen.

Since the Alborz tire factory was privatized in the 1990s, its 1,300 workers have been paid irregularly.

Meanwhile, a number of workers at the Esfahan Steel Company gathered in front of the parliament building in Tehran on April 24 to protest the nonpayment of their back wages, ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) reported.

Also on April 24, some 100 workers and their families gathered outside the Fars Organization of Industries and Mines in Shiraz seeking payment of their wages for the past six months, a worker told Radio Farda.[…] Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/hundreds_of_iranian_workers_protest_for_back_wages/16794818.html

India: Goa village protest iron ore pollution

Goa – Villagers of Cavrem, Quepem, protesting the damage to crops and homes from mining pollution paralyzed the transportation of iron ore through the village on Saturday.

Quepem police inspector Mr S Narvekar said 94 villagers including 36 women were arrested for obstructing the passage of the trucks. They were released later.

The transportation of ore through the village has been virtually suspended over the last few days with the villagers’ agitation.

Cavrem has become the symbol of the unequal fight between the politically backed powerful mining lobby in Goa and a village determined to make its voice heard.

In March, the state government was compelled to shutdown an illegal mine being operated in the area by a well connected ore exporter. The mine was shutdown only after the villagers took a morcha to chief minister Mr Digambar Kamat’s residence in Margao. Source: http://www.steelguru.com/raw_material_news/Goa_village_protest_iron_ore_pollution/202393.html

South Africa: All calm on the Zandspruit front

Johannesburg – Police were monitoring the Zandspruit informal settlement, northwest of Johannesburg, on Freedom Day following violent service delivery protests, Gauteng police said.

“Everything is quiet for now and we are confident it will stay like this until Sunday,” said Lieutenant Colonel Tshisikhawe Ndou.

Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi had promised to meet with residents on Sunday and discuss their concerns.

The disgruntled community was protesting against the lack of housing and sanitation in the Honeydew settlement.

Police were on Wednesday monitoring the area after violence erupted. On Tuesday, 16 people were arrested for public violence after they had burnt tyres and blockaded roads.

Police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.[…] Source: http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/all-calm-on-the-zandspruit-front-1.1061544

India: Two persons killed, 12 injured in firing in Dhanbad

At least two persons were killed and more than 12 others injured when police resorted to firing to control a mob protesting the anti-encroachment drive at a Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) colony located in Kusunda and Matkuria, about 8 kms from Dhanbad, today.

Agitators also set fire to about 16 vehicles, out of which 11 belonged to the BCCL authorities.

State police headquarters said people of the area started pelting stones at the team which went for the eviction of local people allegedly occupying BCCL quarters.

Police resorted to firing to control them, leading to death of two persons in the area. The situation in the district was tense but under control.

On April 5 police resorted to firing in the state capital in a similar incident in which one person died on the spot while another succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. Source: http://netindian.in/news/2011/04/27/00012827/two-persons-killed-12-injured-firing-dhanbad

Young Mauritanians stage sit-in demanding the release of 20 arrested during protests this week

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania — Dozens of young Mauritanians are holding a sit-in outside the police directorate’s office to demand the release of 20 protesters arrested the previous day.

Youth on Tuesday chanted “freedom for our friends” before dispersing peacefully.

Mauritanian police arrested 20 people on Monday after hundreds demonstrated in the capital against the regime of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Police said the demonstrations were unauthorized and used tear gas and batons to disperse people.

Demonstrations have been ongoing since Feb. 25, when dozens of students used Facebook to organize another sit-in demanding political reforms and the president’s departure.

In January, a businessman died after setting himself ablaze in a protest against the government. Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5j8iJwIrKvyJQWTozfC_HwRUEQUhw?docId=6668468

Oman: Power firm staff regroups for protest

Muscat Daily reported that in probably what is the first legal strike since the wave of protests began in February, employees from the eight subsidiary companies of Electricity Holding Company regrouped again to protest against the management outside the company’s head office in Qurm on Saturday.

The group had given 21 day ultimatum to the management to respond, as is required by law after they called off their three day strike on March 28. We are frustrated with the management as it is only during the last few days that they held a couple of meetings to show that they were working towards meeting our demands.

Mr Mohannad al Hindi head of operations and maintenance at Muscat Electricity Distribution Company said that but what came out of those meetings are only promises and no action. The protesters said that no representative from among them was included in the meetings. We gave a list of eight most important points to be discussed, but only half of them were brought up for discussion. Moreover, there has been no positive outcome from these discussions. Of their list of demands, Hindi added that at the very least, they wanted a change in top management and increased allowances immediately.

He said that the other demands to be discussed are a proper promotion policy, an increase in the employee loan limit from the current amount equal to two months salary, academic and professional training for staff and the setting up of a training center. The formation of an Omani employee committee is also on the anvil. But we are not happy with it as it consists of the top management only. We want representation from among us.[…]Source: http://www.steelguru.com/middle_east_news/Power_firm_staff_regroups_for_protest/202122.html

India: 150 agitating workers of General Motors detained

VADODARA: Around 150 agitating workers of General Motors India (GMI) were detained by the police here on Monday after they tried to stage a protest at the residence of a senior GMI official.

The agitating workers, who since March 16 are on strike at the Halol plant of GMI, were trying to stage a protest outside the residence of GMI`s human resources (HR) director Rakesh Mehta at Shrushti Bungalows on Vasna Road on Monday. Some of them had even planned to undress themselves as a mark of protest and to press upon their demands.[…] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/150-agitating-workers-of-General-Motors-detained/articleshow/8084480.cms

And lots more…

April 9, 2011

China strikes

Via Shiraz, Eric Lee writes:

Manfred Elfstrom, a PhD student at Cornell University in the United States, has produced an extraordinary resource for the trade union movement.

It’s a website called China Strikes and is essentially a map of China with red dots representing strikes.

Elfstrom is taking this quite seriously and is producing some interesting results. For example, he’s categorised the strikes not only by region, but also by sector. Some of this will not be surprising — for example, he finds 15 strikes at electronics factories, such as the infamous Foxconn.

There are another dozen strikes reported in auto factories. But click on “sex workers” and you’ll read about a surprising protest by prostitutes in Wuhan in August 2010.

[…] This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more strikes taking place in China.

Nevertheless, it’s an extraordinary use of cutting-edge technology by an individual which could prove very useful for trade unionists who are interested in China — as we all should be.

Some reports below the fold.

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February 17, 2011

News from other parts of the Middle East

This post focuses on the ever-growing power of Chinese economic imperialism in the Middle East, but also the rising soft power of South Korea. It looks at the impact of the unrest in the region on the big oil countries, showing how oil has sustained authoritarian governments, which are fearing the changes. Labour conflict remains rife in the region, including the growing militancy of the hyper-exploited migrant workers from South Asia. Even Israel is seeing an upswing in labour militancy, with  a general strike a real possibility. 

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January 10, 2011

Essential reading on world affairs

Rising powers: China’s hard and soft power

Robert Gates Clarifies China’s Stealth Capabilities

The newest big oil company: China?

Global food crisis: feeding rebellion

Frontline Tunisia

Governments Around the World Struggle with Surging Food Prices

11 dead in Tunisia rioting

Unrest spreads to Algeria

Big oil and corporate corruption

Climate Change Skeptics are Stooges for Big Oil

Big oil’s intriguing resurgence

2011: The Arctic vs Big Oil

Big Gas Find Sparks a Frenzy in Israel

China remains world’s biggest car producer and market for second year

Blood for oil: Saudi’s hard power

Saudi Arabia’s Terror: What Hillary Clinton Knows

Saudi Arabia: Taliban Lite (With U.S. Complicity)

ANALYSIS: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan

Labour on the march

Israel port strike settled as workers win 6% pay increase, big gains for new workers, more vacation and sick days

Alta Gracia, Dominica: How One Tiny Factory Is Challenging the Sweatshop Norm

Workers strike in UAE after labour riot

The bosses strike back

Labor lawyer imprisoned in Xi’an for organizing against corrupt privatization of state enterprises

Kraft Foods Employee In Colombia Killed By Gunman, Says Union

Recent worker deaths in the Bangladeshi garment industry from police repression and from a factory fire

And even under “actually existing socialism”, the workers are fucked over

Cubans fret as massive job cuts get under way

Venezuela: Fifty-one year-old welder and leader of Sintraferrominera ironworkers union, has spent over a year in prison

October 30, 2010

India: 13,000 contract workers strike at lignite mine and power-company

In a recent twist to the extraordinary upsurge in industrial militancy in India, 13,000 irregular workers are on strike at government owned Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The best report is at WSWS.

The other main site of labour dispute in India, also in Tamil Nadu, is Foxconn, which we have already mentioned once or twice.

A number of workers at some Indian plants of Foxconn International Holdings Ltd have been arrested for breach of labour laws as they had struck work during a cooling-off period during pay negotiations.

The company is a key supplier to top cell phone makers including Motorola Inc and Sony Ericsson. The firm declined to give the number of employees that had been arrested, but according to a labour group as many 319 employees had been held.

“We have been in talks with the labour union and have come to an agreement, but some workers engaged in illegal activities and were thus arrested by the local police,” Vincent Tong, Foxconn’s senior director said.

Foxconn International and parent Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd count among the biggest private-sector employers in China.

For details of the wider Indian strike wave, see LabourStart India, whose latest headlines are below the fold.

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October 22, 2010

Foxconn

Mobile phone scrap, old decomissioned mobile p...

Image via Wikipedia

In this blog, we have been closely following aspects of China’s political economy, not least as part of our interest in the rising powers and the new global power cartography. In particular, we have followed the labour unrest in China, as part of the wave of labour unrest in the most rapidly industrialising nations. We have spotlights Foxconn as one of the worst offenders.

A recent post on the British blog Modernity has comprehensive coverage of Foxconn, including its activities in India.

Capitalism depends on the manufacture of goods at comparatively low prices, but often sold at a premium.

For evidence of that we need look no further than the modern Western accoutrement, the mobile phone.

This has been brought into focus by the activities of Foxconn, whose naked exploitation of its workers has led to many suicides and growing concerns over its activities.

Foxconn is effectively a subcontractor to Western companies, Apple, Nokia, etc. They put together electronic goods and mobile phones that are so ubiquitous in the West.

But that labour comes at a cost, small cost for Foxconn and a large one for its workers as the strike in India shows.

[READ THE REST]

September 29, 2010

In a complex world…

The Propagandist features China’s rising hard power with a fascinating video.

Another aspect of the multipolar world whose contours are becoming increasingly visible is the rise of the so-called “Moscow-Ankara-Rome” axis. Volvbilis has been covering this well, for instance in this piece, originally from the Strategic Culture foundation.

Female garment workers in sit-down demonstrationOne of the key labour disputes of our times that of the garment workers in Bangladesh, which Libcom has been covering well. For more news from a trade union perspective, see LabourStart.

Daniel Ben-Ami in Spiked has a great piece about Vince Cable as an example of the reactionary, misanthropic anti-capitalism sweeping the world. David Osler describes Cable as a “populist not a Marxist“, while Carl Packman calls him “capitalism’s posterboy“.

Also from the UK, Chris Dillow punctures the immigration orthodoxies in new Labour Party leader Ed Miliband’s speech.

From the archives: Modern Times magazine in the 1980s on austerity, in an article all too relevant today.

September 16, 2010

Spectre of communism haunts Chinese elite

With the US empire in terminal decline, China has become essential to the globally integrated capitalist economy. It is now the world’s second largest economy, having officially overtaken its neighbour Japan, with a gross domestic product of over a trillion US dollars in the second quarter of 2010. It has long enjoyed gargantuan economic growth, and even weathered the storm of the global economic crisis up to this point. But its status as “sweatshop of the world” now seems extremely vulnerable to both internal and external shocks, and a period of huge social upheaval is on the horizon. [READ THE REST]

September 9, 2010

News from the Special Exploitation Zone

DLF Ship building in Gurgaon

Image via Wikipedia

Gurgaon in Haryana is presented as the shining India, a symbol of capitalist success promising a better life for everyone behind the gateway of development. At a first glance the office towers and shopping malls reflect this chimera and even the facades of the garment factories look like three star hotels. Behind the facade, behind the factory walls and in the side streets of the industrial areas thousands of workers keep the rat-race going, producing cars and scooters for the middle-classes which end up in the traffic jam on the new highway between Delhi and Gurgaon. Thousands of young proletarianised middle class people lose time, energy and academic aspirations on night-shifts in call centres, selling loan schemes to working-class people in the US or pre-paid electricity schemes to the poor in the UK. Next door, thousands of rural-migrant workers uprooted by the agrarian crisis stitch and sew for export, competing with their angry brothers and sisters in Bangladesh or Vietnam. And the rat-race will not stop; on the outskirts of Gurgaon, Asia’s biggest Special Economic Zone is in the making. The following newsletter documents some of the developments in and around this miserable boom region. [READ THE REST.]

June 27, 2010

News, comment and analysis


In this edition, we look at the geopolitics of the Gaza flotillas – an index of
the increasingly multipolar world we live in the wake of the last superpower, the United States. In the vacuum left by the US, Turkey, Iran and, to a lesser extent, Russia and China are jockeying for position, using Islamist paramilitary/parapolitical groups like Hezbollah and Hamas as their proxies. Then we turn back to capitalism’s heartlands, the US and Europe, with three reports on the deepening crisis, including the on-going social unrest in Greece. We also feature another report on social unrest, from China, whose wave of wildcat strikes we have examined in previous issues. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico remains one of the major issues of our day. What does it say about corporations’ attitudes to the planet and to people? Finally, are there alternatives to the present system, and can the G20 do anything about it?

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