Our trade union video of the day shows workers protesting at the Ratcliffe on Soar power station over the victimisation of a health and safety rep. A report from a leading workers’ rights organisation has found that long hours and gruelling conditions …

Walton Pantland

Our trade union video of the day shows workers protesting at the Ratcliffe on Soar power station over the victimisation of a health and safety rep.

A report from a leading workers’ rights organisation has found that long hours and gruelling conditions are still the norm at Foxconn, the Chinese factory that makes iPhones and iPads for Apple, as well as Kindles and other luxury goods for Western tech companies.

In the UK, the Bradford department of work and pensions branch of the civil service union PCS have expressed support and solidarity for Occupy Westfield, who have occupied the site of a stalled development.Branch secretary Rob Williams said “the site in the centre of Bradford is a metaphor for the giant hole in the government’s economic strategy. Austerity is damaging the economy and failing to create jobs.” Also in the UK, doctors of the British Medical Association will take industrial action for the first time in 40 years over pensions.

The Malaysian government has fiercely attacked human rights activists who have highlighted the terrible conditions and exploitation suffered by migrant workers. Migrant workers, mostly from Indonesia, make up about 10% of Malaysia’s workforce. In Indonesia, 13,000 members of the Paper Workers Union at PT. Pindo Deli paper mill are going on strike over wages. You can send a protest message to their managers here.

As the transport strike in Swaziland intensifies, police arrested three leaders of the transport union STAWU. In Uganda, the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions has threatened a nationwide strike if the minimum wage and teachers’ salaries are not improved.

In Turkey, civil aviation workers are resisting attempts by the government to ban strikes in their sector. You can send a letter of protest through this LabourStart campaign.

Worth reading today:

Slavoj Žižek has an excellent piece in the London Review of Books, in which he argues that a victory for Syriza in the Greek election would help save Europe – but only if they are able to mobilise solidarity.He argues:

“Greece is not an exception. It is one of the main testing grounds for a new socio-economic model of potentially unlimited application: a depoliticised technocracy in which bankers and other experts are allowed to demolish democracy. By saving Greece from its so-called saviours, we also save Europe itself.”

Industrial relations academic Ronaldo Munck accesses trade unions, internationalism and globalisation in Social Europe Journal, saying that labour has recovered from some of the structural decimation wrought by neoliberalism, and is now in a position to assert a new internationalism.

Children’s author Michael Rosen writes engagingly about the huge amount of wealth hoarded by the rich while the establishment tells us we need to accept austerity because “there is no money left”.

 


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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