ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Trade Union Right’s

Defend Trade Union Rights in Turkey.

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Just in:

“111 trade union leaders and members, including the President of the IUF-affiliated TEKGIDA-İŞ along with four other national officers of the union and 12 branch presidents, and current and former officers of the national centers DISK and KESK, have been indicted on criminal charges in connection with an April 1 demonstration in Ankara in support of 12,000 tobacco workers whose jobs and acquired rights were eliminated overnight.

The charges carry prison terms of up to 5 years.

The trials, which begin on June 3, are a massive attack on trade union rights and the rights of all workers. ”

The IUF has more:

“The Turkish government has filed criminal charges against 111 union leaders, members and supporters which carry prison terms of up to 5 years in connection with a 2010 demonstration in Ankara. The Ankara action was in support of 12,000 workers made redundant overnight following the privatization of the state tobacco monopoly TEKEL.

Following the sale of the TEKEL tobacco manufacturing activities to BAT in February 2008, the state retained control over the 40 warehouses where leaf and semi-processed tobacco was stored. IUF-affiliated Tekgida-Is, which represents the workforce at TEKEL, continually sought negotiations with the government over the future of the 12,000 warehouse workers, who were offered only insecure contracts at half their former wages and no rights or benefits. In December 2009, their employment was abruptly terminated.

Three months of union protests in Ankara brought no results, but as a goodwill gesture the union ceased public action and waited for a response to their demands for new employment with acquired rights – as required under Turkish law.

When the government failed to offer anything concrete, TEKGIDA-IS and their many supporters demonstrated again in Ankara on April 1, 2010. They were beaten and pepper-gassed – and now they face prison. “

(H/T: Eric Lee)

Written by modernityblog

20/05/2011 at 13:57

Mrs. Desai.

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I was sadden to hear of the death of Mrs. Desai.

She was one of the leaders during the 1976 Grunwick strike, which went on for ages.

I can still see her, in my mind’s eye, meeting miners who had come across from all parts of Britain to support the fight for basic union rights at Grunwick’s.

The Guardian has more:

“Jayaben Desai, the Asian trade unionist whose bold leadership of the Grunwick dispute in the late 1970s produced a landmark in industrial relations, has died aged 77.

Desai led a walkout of the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories in the summer of 1976 in an attempt to convince managers to recognise a unionised workforce.

One of the disputes that triggered the walkout involved a 19-year-old male employee, but Grunwick became known for the way in which predominantly Asian and female workers stood up to their employers. The dispute by the women – who became known in the press as “strikers in saris” – lasted more than two years, and Desai’s defiant campaign gained national recognition.

After storming out of the processing plants in north London, Desai and her co-workers joined the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff (Apex). However they were joined on picket lines by workers from across the labour movement, who coalesced around the Grunwick dispute in solidarity.

As momentum built, there were frequent confrontations between hundreds of trade unionists and police.

Desai’s attempt to achieve union recognition for the Grunwick workers was ultimately unsuccessful, ending in a hunger strike outside the headquarters of the Trades Union Congress, which she accused of betrayal, in 1978.

But the strike proved a seminal moment in the British labour movement, drawing attention to the overlooked plight of female migrant workers – and generating admiration for Desai’s tenacity.

Desai, who died just before Christmas after several months of illness, was known for her force of character, eloquence and courage. A photograph of her confronting a row of police officers, a handbag dangling from her arm, became one of the iconic images of the 1970s.

Originally from India, she had arrived in Britain eight years previously, after migrating to Tanzania. Perhaps her best-known statement was issued in confrontation with a manager at Grunwick, who she told: “What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. In a zoo, there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are those lions, Mr Manager.”

Mrs. Desai and their friends.

(H/T: Stroppy)

Update 1: This gallery on striking women is good.

Written by modernityblog

07/01/2011 at 16:28

Depressing News

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ITUC’s Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights makes grim reading:

“…a dramatic increase in the number of trade unionists murdered in 2009, with 101 killings – an increase of 30% over the previous year. The Survey, released today, also reveals growing pressure on fundamental workers’ rights around the world as the impact of the global economic crisis on employment deepened.
…..
This year’s report again records an extensive list of violations suffered by trade unionists struggling to defend workers’ interests, this time in 140 countries. Many other violations remain unreported, as working women and men are deprived of the means to have their voices heard, or fear to speak out due to the consequences to their jobs or even to their physical safety. Along with the appalling list of killings, the Survey provides detailed documentation of harassment, intimidation and other forms of anti-union persecution. A further ten attempted murders and 35 serious death threats were recorded, again mostly in Colombia and Guatemala. Furthermore, many trade unionists remained in prison and were joined by around hundred newly imprisoned in 2009. Many others were arrested in Iran, Honduras, Pakistan, South Korea, Turkey and Zimbabwe in particular. The general trade union rights’ situation has continued to deteriorate in a number of other countries, including Egypt, the Russian Federation, South Korea and Turkey.”

(H/T: Eric Lee)

Elsewhere, those xenophobes in Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party have seriously increased their votes in the new Dutch election, going from nine seats in parliament to 24. The Beeb has more:

“A Dutch anti-Islam party has more than doubled its seats in parliament in a national vote, though it is unclear if it will take part in a coalition.

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders said he wanted to be part of government.

The election saw the centre-right Liberal Party (VVD) emerging as the largest party, one seat ahead of the centre-left Labour Party.

The Christian Democrat party of outgoing Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende suffered a big defeat.

Weeks of coalition negotiations are expected to follow the election.

With more than 99% of votes counted, the VVD had 31 of 150 seats, while Labour had 30.

As the party with the most seats, VVD leader Mark Rutte could now become the first prime minister from his political camp since World War I.”

Sinophobia Or Legitimate Political Criticism?

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Over the years we’ve heard of the l’exception française. More recently even l’exception American, but how about l’exception Sino?

Nor should we be too surprised when the supporters, excusers and apologists of Beijing regime bring out the accusation of “Sinophobia”?

Allegations of “Sinophobia” are used to close down criticism of those running the Chinese state.

It is beyond their ken, or understanding, that people might be concerned with the destructive activities of the dictators that run China, be it environmental, human rights or even trade union rights, in this instance all criticism can simply be dismissed as “Sinophobia”.

It is a perfect solution.

After all it doesn’t require engaging with the activities of the Chinese State, how they brutalised the population, enrich themselves or threaten others.

No. No criticism is acceptable, all of it is to be simply labelled as “Sinophobia”.

It is a marvellous tactic, as it requires no argumentation.

It doesn’t require any familiarity with China itself, how the ruling elites run the country, the barbarism inflicted on the population or the deaths caused by the headlong dash for industrialisation. [Warning, the pictures are rather distressing.]

It is a perfect ploy for the intellectually lazy or those incapable of substantiating their views with reason or evidence.

I wonder how the persecution of Liu Xiaobo will be explained away? The Guardian has more:

” One of China’s leading dissidents has been charged with “inciting subversion”, and faces a possible 15-year jail sentence, amid growing international outrage over his detention and forthcoming trial.

Liu Xiaobo was one of 300 democratic activists in China to author a bold call for constitutional reform last December. The manifesto was published under the name Charter 08, and called for greater freedom of expression, multi-party elections and independent courts. Seen as a figurehead for the movement, Liu was taken into detention shortly before the document was published online. Then, in June, he was formally arrested on suspicion of incitement to subvert state power.

In the latest development – which came on International Human Rights Day, a year and a day after the charter’s publication – officials told Liu’s lawyer they would charge him. He will almost certainly be convicted and sentenced to jail, say experts, probably within weeks”