16 Aug 2017 Ferado

A victory for JK Tyres Workers’ struggle on right to unionisation

JK Tyres Workers in Kanchipuram district struck work from 24th July 2017, demanding recognition of their union. This happened after the company tried to negotiate with the internal union, without any democratic process for the workers to choose the union they wanted for their representation. In response, over 600 workers struck work demanding recognition of the CITU union to which they belonged. After a 17 day strike, the management has agreed to negotiate with the majority union and reinstate 27 probationary workers who were dismissed during this period.

In a notice posted on August 2nd, one week into the strike, the management came down hard. They termed the workers’ strike illegal, as the industries under automobile sector have been termed public utility service. They also promised stern action against the workers for resorting to the illegal strike and threatened workers to either see ‘reason’ or face disciplinary action. Over 27 workers, according to Comrade Kannan of CITU, were terminated, citing ‘unsatisfactory performance’. However, the union and the workers were resolved to continue their fight for justice and increased the exposure of the strike by conducting various protests in front of Kanchipuram District Collectorate and in other parts of the District
The resolve of the workers has not been in vain. According to Comrade Kannan, the management has agreed to have conciliation meetings with the union starting September 4th on various demands of the workers. In addition, the 27 workers who have been terminated will be reinstated from August 21st, in the same postings they previously held. Talking to Thozhilalar Koodam, Comrade Kannan hailed this as a ‘major victory for democratic rights of workers through a sustained struggle’. He attributed the success of the struggle to the resolve of the workers and to the impact on production. He has said that over 40 demands of the workers will be resolved through negotiation with the management. These broadly cover wage increases, regularization of trainees after 480 days, improvement in allowances and amenities, lawful implementation of overtime and various other benefits.

The victory of the JK Tyres workers comes at an important phase for workers in Sriperumbudur, where unionization is being denied to workers through various pretexts, and victimization of workers continue unchecked for their union activities. The contention of the management to term the strike illegal under the guise of public utility service has been rightly challenged by the workers who have used collectivized struggle for their just cause. The workers have also rejected the idea of an internal union, which is a mechanism used to keep workers under management control. Its important that these moments of victory are consolidated by unions to push the working class struggles not only in favor of unionised workers but also those that do not come under union fold.

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16 Aug 2017 Ferado

Agency workers at SOEs take action demanding equal pay

CHINA:Even years after major legislation was passed to curb abuse of agency labour and guarantee equal pay, agency workers are still fighting for their basic legal rights across China, particularly at SOEs.

According to Chinese law, agency work is supposed to be “supplementary” form of labour, though agency workers often find themselves working for years alongside full employees, performing the same work for significantly less pay and benefits.

Agency workers, however, are well aware of their rights, and their collective actions are not uncommon. For months, agency workers at China’s FAW-Volkswagen plant, a majority state-owned joint venture, in the northeast city of Changchun have made international headlines in their long campaign for equal pay. Below we highlight two other agency worker actions demanding equal pay at SOEs that occurred in July.

16 Aug 2017 Ferado

Left-Wing Coalition Calls for National March on August 27 to Demand Release of Rif Detainees

Rabat – La Fédération de la gauche démocratique (FGD), a coalition of three lef-wing parties, has called for a national march on August 27 in Rabat to demand the release of detained Rif activists.

The youth wings of the three parties issued a joint statement condemning the excessive use of violence against the Hirak (protest movement in Al Hoceima and its nearby towns in Rif), which led to the death of activist Imad El Attabi.

El Attabi was injured in the head during the July 20 national march in Al Hoceima. He remained in coma in the military hospital in Rabat until announced death on Tuesday.

FGD said the call to national march on August 27 is intended to show support for the Hirak and stand against the state’s policies aiming at undermining citizens’ rights.

Calls for releasing Rif prisoners have been issued since a massive of arrests targeted Hirak activists in late May and throughout June and July.

On July 29, dozens of activists were released on the occasion of the Throne Day but the bulk of the but a larger number of almost 200 protesters remain in prison in Al Hoceima and Casablanca where they are prosecuted for heavy charges such as “undermining people’s loyalty to state institutions” and threatening the security of the state.

The arrest, prosecution and detention of Rif activist put the government not only at odds with the residents of Rif but also with the rest of Morocco where an important segment of the population, civil society and political elite have shown support for the protest movement in the northern Moroccan region.

8 Aug 2017 Ferado

Saudi Arabia registers 130 percent rise in women workforce

Saudi Arabia: The number of working women has dramatically increased in Saudi Arabia during the last four years, a new report has revealed.

According to a report released by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development in March, the country’s private sector registered a 130 percent increase in the number of working Saudi women during the last four years. Thirty percent of the total Saudi work force in the private sector is now represented by women, a Gulf News report said.

According to the report, Riyadh has the highest employment opportunities followed by Mecca. The government has expressed its willingness to increase the percentage of women in the Saudi total workforce to 28 percent by 2020. The government also reported more than 11 million foreign workers in Saudi Arabia’s private sector.

Additionally, efforts to boost employment among women and graduates are still ongoing. Several projects have been initiated to tackle the challenge of transportation that women face while commting to work. There are projects that offer women the option to work from home, which is likely to generate over 140,000 jobs by 2020

8 Aug 2017 Ferado

One Million Bank employees to go on strike on 22nd August

India: The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), the umbrella organisation of five employee unions and four officer unions of state-run banks in the country, has given notice of their decision to go on nationwide strike on 22 August 2017 to protest reforms in the banking sector and other issues.

“The UFBU has observed that instead of taking urgent remedial measures to recover the alarmingly increasing bad loans in the banks which are threatening to drive the banks into a serious crisis. Steps like memorandum of understanding (MoU), prompt corrective action (PCA), Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, Ordnance on non-performing assets (NPAs), and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) are only aimed to clean the balance sheets at the cost of the banks, which represent hard earned savings of the people, instead of recovering money,” says CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary of All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA).

About 10 lakh bank employees from nine unions, AIBEA, All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation Of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC), National Organisation Of Bank Workers (NOBW) and National Organisation Of Bank Officers (NOBO) will observe the strike on 22nd August.

“We have given a strike notice. The strike will be on 22 August 2017 spread over the entire banking sector,” Mr Venkatachalam said, adding, “…it is observed that the burden of the corporate NPAs are put on the shoulders of the common public and banking clientele in the form of hike in fees, charges, and penalties for every type of normal banking services.”

Recently State Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of Baroda have reduced the rate of interest on savings deposits. SBI, the largest state-run lender in the country has said that they will gain Rs4,400 crore per year by reducing savings deposit interest but see how much they have sacrificed by write off of bad loans of big corporates, Mr Venkatachalam added.