Labour Herald – Issue No.88

Africa / Asia / Caribbean / Central America /Europe / Middle East / South America

Australia / Queensland Unionists leading WorkCover protest outside Parliament House vow to target Jarrod Bleijie electorate [Brisbane Courier Mail] 2013-10-17 40 more labour news stories from Australia today

Canada / Prince Edward Island P.E.I. to spend more, pay less to balance pensions [CBC] 2013-10-16 22 more labour news stories fromCanada today

Egypt Can the Revolutionary Path Front find a way forward for Egypt? [Equal Times] 2013-10-16

Fiji Union to hear member views on pay rise[Radio Fiji] 2013-10-17 4 more labour news stories from Fiji today

French Polynesia Tahiti hospital strike seemingly unresolved [RNZI] 2013-10-16

Global The 1968 Olympics and the spirit of resistance [Philip Fergusson/Redline] 2013-10-172 more labour news stories from Global today

Greece Private sector union calls strike on November 6 [ANSA Med] 2013-10-16

Haiti Group Says Haitian Garment Workers Are Shortchanged on Pay [NY Times] 2013-10-16 1 more labour news stories from Haiti today

India / Chandigarh Punjab: Salary, pension of PAU employees delayed [Business Line] 2013-10-17 12 more labour news stories from Indiatoday

Ireland Congress says ‘wrong choices made in Budget 2014′ [SIPTU] 2013-10-16 5 more labour news stories from Ireland today

Israel Teva to refrain from making layoffs before negotiations with labor federation[Ha'aretz] 2013-10-16 9 more labour news stories from Israel today

Italy / USA Fiat union to meet U.S. counterpart to push for Chrysler merger [Automotive News Europe] 2013-10-16

Korea (North) / Korea (South) Kaesong Complex struggling to get fully up and running again [Hankyoreh] 2013-10-16

Korea (South) [10.14] Art performance against state terror… [CINA] 2013-10-16

New Zealand Sacked KFC worker defects to Maccas [Greymouth Evening Star] 2013-10-17 2 more labour news stories from New Zealandtoday

Pakistan LHWs boycott hits polio drive [Labour Watch] 2013-10-16 6 more labour news stories from Pakistan today

Palestine / Israel Controversial bill struck down || PM nixes bill applying Israeli labor laws to West Bank women [Haaretz] 2013-10-16

Papua New Guinea New technology to save time and trouble for teachers’ pay in PNG[Radio Australia] 2013-10-16

Russia / USA Sailors Unions Defend Greenpeace’s ‘Arctic 30’: Peaceful Protests and Piracy Are ‘Very Different’ [In These Times] 2013-10-16

South Africa Generations stars strike gets the backing of Creative Worker’s Union [The Times] 2013-10-16 18 more labour news stories from South Africa today

Tunisia Rappers start union linked to CGTT[Magharebia ] 2013-10-16

UK / Scotland Grangemouth oil refinery shuts as owners refuse to back down in dispute[Guardian] 2013-10-16 8 more labour news stories from UK today

USA USW, allies rally at Crown Holdings Headquarters [USW] 2013-10-16 27 more labour news stories from USA today

Uzbekistan More Sharing Services Share on email Financing Forced Labor in the Cotton Fields of Uzbekistan [AFL-CIO] 2013-10-17 0 more labour news stories from Uzbekistantoday

Work of labour

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Ever wondered who modelled for the Triumph Of Labour statue on the Marina Beach? Akila Kannadasan tracks them down

The four men with rippling muscles stand above all else, in a world of their own. Traffic rumbles on before them; passers-by walk by without as much as a glance. Only rarely does one stop to look at them. As statues frozen in time, the men stand there, their personal moment of intense physical effort, captured for the world to see. Who are they? Did they exist in flesh and blood before they were cast in bronze by the great sculptor Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury? I set out to find out. My first stop is the Government College of Fine Arts. The sculptor worked there from 1929 and retired as the principal in 1957. “No one knows who the models were,” says P.S. Devanath, the head of the Department of Painting. “A sculptor rarely interacts with his model. You can search the books in our library… but it’s unlikely that you will find what you are looking for.” But there must be somebody. Is there any person at all with whom the sculptor discussed his work? After numerous phone calls and a fitful sleep at night, I walk into a three-roomed flat in Kodambakkam in the morning…

Inside, a framed painting of a man with sharp eyes, long hair and a beard, hangs on a wall opposite the door. It’s the first thing that catches my eye — such is the man’s charisma. I know right away that I am at the right place. “He is my father A.P. Srinivasan, who was Chowdhury’s model for the second and fourth men from left in the Triumph Of Labour statue,” informs his son Subramanian, a technician at the Government College of Fine Arts.

Srinivasan was the son of a farmer. He grew up on a dose of healthy food and hard work in the sun. Almost six feet tall, he had a muscular body. He was in his late teens when he came to Chennai to make a living — he sold vegetables in Periyamedu. The prestigious Madras School of Arts was a stone’s throw from his shop.

One day, a regular customer stopped by to talk to him. “He asked my father if he wanted to work at the Art School!” says Subramanian. The customer was sculptor Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury. Srinivasan thus stepped into the campus as a labourer for a salary of Re.1. a day. As years rolled by, he was promoted to night watchman and unskilled labour.

During his tenure as a night watchman, Srinivasan was presented an unexpected request by Chowdhury: would he model for his latest work? Srinivasan consented, but breathed not a word about this to anyone at home. It was his first and last modelling assignment. It was much after his death, after an article came out in a Tamil magazine in 1971, did his sons find out that the famous statue had their father in it.

“I was 12 when father passed away,” says Subramanian. “The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of him is medhu pakoda,” he smiles. “He often bought a handful after work for us to eat.” Subramanian is proud that there is a statue of his father in the city, similar to leaders such as Gandhi and Anna.

But it has been almost 25 years since he saw it. Even if he goes to the Beach Road for work, Subramanian ensures that he goes nowhere near the statue. “I don’t like to see it,” he says, his eyes threatening to well-up. “The statue does something to me.”

Labour Herald – Issue No. 41

Africa / Asia / Caribbean / Central America /Europe / Middle East / South America
 

Argentina Striking dockworkers paralyze Argentine ports [Daiji World] 2013-07-13

Australia Alzheimer’s Australia end of life care survey [ANF ] 2013-07-14 3 more labour news stories from Australia today

Brazil Brazil unions stage nationwide protests[Al-Jazeerah] 2013-07-13

Canada By the Numbers: Austerity and the price we pay [UFCW] 2013-07-13 14 more labour news stories from Canada today

Fiji Sugar mill workers have not had a pay increase in seven years – union campaigns for wage hike [Fiji Times] 2013-07-14 1 more labour news stories from Fiji today

India HC restrains AI from making staff in south work longer [TNN] 2013-07-14 20 more labour news stories from India today

Ireland Firms ‘cannot adjust’ agency nurses’ pay [irishexaminer.com] 2013-07-13 2 more labour news stories from Ireland today

Israel Port Union Leader Plays Hardball With Labor Party [Al Monitor] 2013-07-14

Nepal Jewelry workers hold national conference [Republica] 2013-07-14 1 more labour news stories from Nepal today

New Zealand Ministry of Education backtracks on national standards for computers [NZEI] 2013-07-13 5 more labour news stories fromNew Zealand today

Trinidad and Tobago …FITUN: Track records warrant full probe [Trinidad Express] 2013-07-134 more labour news stories from Trinidad and Tobago today

UK / Ireland / Northern Ireland Ulster Bank apologises over job cuts error [BBC] 2013-07-13 9 more labour news stories from UK today

USA Paycheck swipe [Daily Kos] 2013-07-14 7 more labour news stories from USA today

Vietnam At this rate, in 37 yrs, Vietnamese garment workers will be able to live on their wages: WRC [Committee to Protect Vietnamese Workers] 2013-07-14 0 more labour news stories from Vietnam today

Sharan Burrow statement from Istanbul

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1 May 2013: I came to Istanbul to take part in the biggest May Day rally in Europe, to join the celebration and to support the determination of Turkish unions to fight for legislative implementation of labour rights.
Workers planned to gather in Taksim Square, the ceremonial site of the struggle since 1977, a place people celebrate and remember the people who were shot and killed in this very square in 1977 as they celebrated May Day.

But this year the Turkish Government showed that democracy is not genuine as they were determined to blockade workers from gathering in Taksim Square.

Thousands of riot police, army and special forces lined the streets. Tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons have been used to break up groups as small as 3 or 4 people.

Jammers are being used to block mobile phones so people cannot use twitter or text to arrange meeting places.

Two of our union headquarters are under siege with injured workers inside.

This is democracy under threat.

The legacy of today oppression will be long lasting in the hearts and minds of workers. The Turkish Government has been shamed in the eyes of the world. This brutal crackdown by the government to stop our brothers and sisters celebrating May Day has unmasked the truth face of the Turkish Government.

There is no place for this behaviour from a country which will be taking on the leadership of the G20 in 2015.

Guy Berger on 20 years of World Press Freedom Day

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Following the deadliest year for journalists in more than a decade, UNESCO’s Guy Berger says World Press Freedom Day’s aim to promote and defend press freedom is more important now than ever

Alex Derry 2 May 2013

On 3 May 2013, UNESCO will mark the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) with its annual conference in San Jose, Costa Rica. Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, spoke to IFEX about the origins of WPFD, and how press freedom is being advanced internationally, particularly in the digital realm.

Audio Transcript

Could you give me a sense of WPFD’s history?
It came from a meeting of African journalists in 1991 who came up with the Windhoek Declaration, which spelled out what is meant by press freedom, and also urged for an international day to celebrate [it]. UNESCO, which had convened that seminar, got quite inspired at the time and then took this proposal through the UNESCO member states, and it was promoted in conjunction with various governments to get it through the General Assembly. Since then, it’s just kept growing.

How responsive have governments been in observing World Press Freedom Day or to calls for greater press freedom over this 20-year period?
With WPFD, what happens is that UNESCO also gives out the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and the governments whose citizens receive this prize sometimes celebrate it. Others are not happy because the journalist concerned is imprisoned and they would prefer not to have that attention. At the international level, they are very sensitive to it. Then, at the national level, I’d say that this particular day is really an opportunity for stakeholders to have meetings, publish articles, have press sessions, demonstrations, art exhibitions, name a street, unveil a statue – all kinds of things.

What have been the key developments and setbacks since last year’s conference?
Unfortunately, last year was a year when the killings of journalists reached higher levels than they have been in many years. This is the tip of the iceberg because for every killing, there are far more threats. Last year has also not been a good year in terms of online freedom of expression because more and more governments are introducing laws that are not thought through in as much detail as one would hope. All laws about freedom of expression, whether they pertain to the internet or anything else, should meet international standards.

What are the conference participants focusing on within this year’s themes (ensuring safety of journalists and media workers, and combating impunity)?
In particular, over the past year the one highlight has been that there has been the development of what is called the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. It’s about pulling together all of the agencies who have a very strong interest in human rights or countering corruption, drugs and crime, or even the UN Environment Programme. That’s one side of the UN plan. The other side is really trying to mobilise other groups outside of the UN –governments, civil society groups, the media itself, regional organisations. We’ll be looking at a lot of these issues in Latin America. Everybody knows countries like Mexico and Honduras are very dangerous for journalists. At the same time, Columbia used to be really dangerous, and still is, but the Columbian government working with the media has put together quite an effective protection mechanism. If a journalist receives a threat, they can ask for and will receive protection. That has really cut the number of killings in Latin America. So the whole idea is to bring this UN Plan of Action to bear in the Latin American context.

Are you optimistic that a greater degree of global press freedom is being achieved in the near future?
I think the mere fact that there are more platforms for people to practice press freedom is obviously a welcome thing, and it’s important that the digital divide is closed further and even more people have access to these kinds of cheap platforms for publishing. I do think that we are at a bit of a cusp in terms of the safety of journalists and this UN Plan of Action will have to prove itself in the coming year. Regarding internet freedom, we are also approaching a bit of a watershed period because there’s a build-up to a big debate at the UN in 2015, and I think the kind of work that is done now will affect what the UN position is on freedom of expression on the internet in the years going forward. [UNESCO] has just published a book called Pressing for Freedom: 20 Years of World Press Freedom Day. The conference in Costa Rica will also be streamed live, and we’ll do a report after that, so you can see what’s happening at the global level. But, at the same time, please don’t neglect your local level possibilities because if one doesn’t cherish this freedom it won’t be there forever.

Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, spoke to Alex Derry, Online Editor at IFEX. This transcript has been edited and condensed.

Bangladesh Building Collapse: Fire Breaks Out In Factory

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By Ruma Paul and Serajul Quadir

DHAKA (Reuters) – Bangladeshi lawyers and protesters chanted “hang him, hang him” on Monday as the owner of a factory building that collapsed last week killing nearly 400 people was led into court dressed in a helmet and bullet-proof jacket, witnesses said.

The drama came as rescue officials said they were unlikely to find more survivors in the rubble of the building that collapsed on Wednesday, burying hundreds of garment workers in the country’s worst industrial accident.

Heavy cranes were being used to lift huge concrete blocks from the wreckage of Rana Plaza, where 385 people are now confirmed to have been killed. The building housed factories making clothes for Western brands.

Eight people have been arrested – four factory bosses, two engineers, building owner Mohammed Sohel Rana and his father, Abdul Khalek. Police are looking for a fifth factory boss, David Mayor, who they said was a Spanish citizen.

Rana, a local leader of the ruling Awami League’s youth front, was shown on television being brought to Dhaka in handcuffs after he was seized in the border town of Benapole by the elite Rapid Action Battalion following a four-day manhunt.

Rana was arrested by police commandos on Sunday, apparently trying to flee to India.
“Put the killer on the gallows, he is not worth of any mercy or lenient penalty,” one onlooker outside the court shouted.

The court ordered that Rana be held for 15 days “on remand” for interrogation.
Khalek, who officials said was named in documents as a legal owner of the building, was arrested in Dhaka on Monday. Those being held face charges of faulty construction and causing unlawful death.
Bangladesh does carry out the death penalty for murder and for most serious categories of manslaughter.
Hundreds of the mostly female workers who are thought to have been inside the building when it caved in remain unaccounted for. A fire overnight further hampered the last desperate efforts to find survivors.
“We are giving the highest priority to saving people, but there is little hope of finding anyone alive,” army spokesman Shahinul Islam told reporters at the site.

About 2,500 people have been rescued from the wrecked building in the commercial suburb of Savar, about 30 km (20 miles) from the capital, Dhaka.

Late on Sunday, sparks from rescuers’ cutting equipment started a fire in the debris as they raced to save a woman who may have been the last survivor in the rubble. Her body was recovered on Monday afternoon.
“We could not save her, even though we heard her voice this morning,” a tearful rescue worker told reporters at the scene.

Officials said the eight-storey complex had been built on swampy ground without the correct permits, and more than 3,000 workers – most of them young women – entered the building on Wednesday morning despite warnings that it was structurally unsafe.
A bank and shops in the same building closed after a jolt was felt and cracks were noticed on some pillars on Tuesday.

The collapse was the third major industrial incident in five months in Bangladesh, the second-largest exporter of garments in the world behind China. In November, a fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in a suburb of Dhaka killed 112 people.

Such incidents have raised serious questions about worker safety and low wages in the poor South Asian country, which relies on garments for 80 percent of its exports. The industry employs about 3.6 million people, most of them women, some of whom earn as little as $38 a month.

In a development that may raise questions about the authorities’ handling of the rescue operation, a spokesman at the British High Commission on Monday confirmed that an offer of technical assistance from Britain had been declined.

Anger over the disaster has sparked days of protests and clashes, and paramilitary troops were deployed in the industrial hub of Gazipur as garment workers took to the streets again on Monday, smashing cars and setting fire to an ambulance.

The unrest forced authorities to shut down many factories, which had reopened on Monday after two days of closures. Police fired teargas to disperse protesters.

The main opposition has called for a national strike on May 2 in protest over the incident.
Emdadul Islam, chief engineer of the state-run Capital Development Authority, said last week that Rana had not received the proper construction consent for the building, and had illegally added three stories to the original five.

(Writing by Alex Richardson and Nick Macfie)

Mission

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To build enduring bonds of solidarity through the net within Indian Labour Movement and International labour Movement with a view to achieving unity and solidarity within the indian labour movement and endeavour to build global unity and solidarity within the world of work and trade unions so that both national and international labour movement actualises the ideals embodied in the Philadelphia Declaration of International Labour Organisation (ILO) which is as follows:At the end of the Second World War, the International Labour Conference(I.L.O) adopted in May 1944, in Philadelphia, a Declaration (Philadelphia Declaration), which defined again the aims and purposes of the Organization. This Declaration reaffirmed in particular, that labour is not a commodity, that freedom of expression and of association are essential to sustained progress, that poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere and that the war against want requires to be carried on with unrelenting vigour within each nation, and by continuous and concerted international effort in which the representatives of workers and employers, enjoying equal status with those of governments, join them in free discussion and democratic decision with a view to the promotion of the common welfare. The Declaration affirmed that all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity. It also referred to the social aspect of economic and financial measures.Indian Labour.org will work for promotion of the above ideals and believes that Labour is the source of all wealth and there is honour and dignity in all work and working people should have equal protection under the law and freedom to bargain collectively to advance and protect their interests and it is the duty of the government to protect, ensure and encourage Collective Bargaining , Right of Association and uphold the values and principles enshrined in the ILO Conventions particularly those in the Conventions 87 and 98 are respected by all employers and the Government of India should Ratify these two basic ILO Conventions so that working people are able to organise themselves without fear and play their legitimate role in national economic, social and political development

To bring all working people together in a common movement to advance their interests in the spheres of politics, economics and culture and influence all sections of society in the country through their organised power to accept labour movement as legitimate social partner in society so that aspirations of the working people to play their role in economic social and political development are achieved. To work with all organisations of workers in the country irrwespective of their affiliations and allegiances through their national , regional trade union and local trade union centres and endeavour to create one brand image, one identity for unions across the country in order to enhance the strength of unions and further their cause by promoting collaboration, coordination and cooperation among all organised and unorganised groups of workers within the country to preserve , protect and advance their interests and working class as a whole and enhance the solidarity of unions to ensure a more equitable and just society.

Indianlabour .org believes education is the key to a free and democratic labour movement and democratic trade unions are essential to economic justice and to a free and democratic society and for working people to fully realize their potential and that of their children, they must have equal access to high quality education at all levels and Labour arts and culture are an essential part of education, as they provide the labour movement with its soul and spirit

Indianlabour.org through this web site will endeavour seeking cooperation of all national regional trade unions centres irrespective of their political affiliations ,preferences and persuations all other organised centres of working people to create conditions for workers to get opportunity to acquire high quality education and intellectual skills and make available higher education available to all sections of workers irrespective of gender, caste, creed , religion and other diversities and prepare workers to face changing global environment and the contemporary challenges confronting workers movement in the country and abroad which is increasingly becoming hostile to labour movement all around and endeavour through collaboration with all trade unions, NGOs working with labour to promote enduring bonds of solidarity and ;unity within the labour movement so that trade unions become real power centres

To campaign for building a Workers Parliament,Workers Sector in the economy which will represent the aspirations of the entire working class of the country as power centre which will seek fundamental changes in legislative structures relating to workers so that workers trade unions’ status in society is elevated as social partner and as centres of progressive thought . learning and action so that current decline in unionisation is arrested and working class emerges as countervailing power centre against hostile anti- union forces and recapture its past glory as reckonable force in society and the nation To conduct through systematic campaigns in the net and through other media to enlist support for all workers causes and their unions’ struggles for justice, fairplay and decent working conditions irrespective of their allegiances and affiliations so that every worker feels reassured that the entire workers movement is behind every struggle for living wage, dignity decency and for human and trade rights and endeavour to secure for workers the all the rights envisaged in ILO Conventions and Recommendations

Vision

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To see an exploitation free world where labour is powerfully organised and integrated globally in the world of work in a united single organisation of working people of all nations into free democratic, disciplined workforce transcending race, religion creed , sex and other diversities , protecting and advancing the cause of all workers world over.To actualise the ideals envisaged and enshrined in the Constitution India, ILO Conventions and Recommendations and the labour movement becomes strong and effective enough to be able assert its role as a social partner in the country’s economic social and political development and the Parliament of the country reflects the aspirations of the working people and respects the role and contribution of workers to the economy and economic development and all those who are engaged in the world of work get living wage and decent working conditionsTo actualise the ideals of dignified, decent work and creative life for the working people and status and respect in society for them and their organisations and due recognition as a representative system within the industry , enterprise system and . society as a whole and legal right to call persons, documents papers , contest and question all authorities on all matters affecting the interest of labour and demand constitution of a Permanent Standing Commission for Labour with wide terms of reference to protect labour interests with provisions for total immunity from laws to those deposing before such commission as provided for in the Commission of Enquiry Act particularly relating to defamation,,libel, contempt of court and parliamentary privileges.(which constitute greatest impediments to effective labour movement ), for workers, and their organisations.To see a Comprehensive Grievance Redressal Machinery is established in all enterprises and establishments whether private public or others to enable individual employees/workers whether regular, permanent or temporary to file grievances relating to all wage- employment- to be processed within a time bound decision makingTo see the government enact a comprehensive law which defines all those who perform whether paid .and unpaid work as “worker” and provide where appropriate by creating special labour courts with the status of powers of High Court for processing individual and collective grievances of workers and redress them as an appellate authority., Presided over by a sitting supreme court judge.

To ensure individual workers, along with other citizens of the country get justice in their respective places of work and stay with free legal assistance at the cost of the state without having to travel long distances to seek justice from Courts whether district , high court or supreme court and so ensure that High Courts and Supreme Court have Circuit or permanent benches of these higher courts are established in all district head quarters in the country so that courts are easily accessible within short distances for workers To see abolition of jurisdiction of courts outside the State to call, summon workers and citizens and also abolish jurisdiction of courts outside the State of residence of the workers and citizens without the permission of the High Court of the State and giving an opportunity to workers contest such call and summonsTo see and ensure that workers and citizens and their organisations are not harassed, compelled and pressurised to appear in courts outside their State without express permission of the respective High cour of the State and where appearances become inevitable the concerned courts should compel summoning parties to underwrite all reasonable expenses of travel and stay connected with the such calls and summons