Summary and links to news stories of workers' struggles around East Asia during January 2012 and related resources. The most important stories appear on my Twitter feed as soon as I find them: http://twitter.com/spartacusnews.
This month there has been news from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. If you haven't already, I recommend checking out bulmer's blog and also this libcom article on the strike wave in Indonesia.
The most important stories:
Thousands of nurses across India have started an indefinite strike for better pay and conditions. Historically unorganised, Indian nurses have formed a new union, creating over 400 branches in two months. They have vowed to remain on strilke until their wages are increased by around 80%. Courts have deemed the strike to be illegal and have instructed police to assist scabs to get into work.
Thousands of nurses across California have gone on strike to fight for their pensions which are being slashed by Kaiser Permanente. They have been joined on the picket line in a 'sympathy' strike by nurses from a union with a 'no strike' policy, and by maintainence workers.
Last week council workers in Bury won a legal battle over discriminatory bonuses. Although dubbed the “dinner ladies” case by the media, the settlement covers cleaners, carers and many other grades of council employees.
The fight, which at times included over 1,400 claimants, began in 2007 when UNISON launched a legal battle over unequal bonuses being awarded to male and female council workers in the locality.
On Tuesday the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) held a special conference to determine where we go next in our pensions dispute. For those who haven't been following the intricacies of it all I'll attempt to briefly lay out where we were going into this meeting and what happened there.
UCU represents academic and what's known as academic related staff - that is IT support, librarians etc. - in both higher (HE) and further (FE) education.
Around 250 students and far-left activists protested against Italian Head of the State Giorgio Napolitano in Bologna, the 30th of January.
On Monday, the 30th of January, the University of Bologna has had a very special guest for the opening of the academic year, the Italian Head of State Giorgio Napolitano. Around 250 students and far-left activists protested against him for his behaviour during the handover of power that allowed Mario Monti to become the new Italian Prime Minister.
Ryanair Don't Care campaigner John Foley handcuffed himself to the goalposts during last night's Premier League match between Everton and Man City at Goodison Park.
This particular match was chosen because Ryanair chief exploiter Michael O'Leary is a passionate Man City fan and was at the match.
As with previous direct action protests, the aim was to highlight exploitation and recruitment-scamming* by Ryanair.
This week marks the 40th anniversary of 'bloody sunday', when during a civil rights march in Derry, British soldiers opened fire on demonstrators killing thirteen people. Here is the acclaimed 2002 dramatisation of events, starring James Nesbitt. I have not attempted to discuss the events of the day as I could not possibly do them justice. However, if anyone knows of any good texts, please post them.
Bloody Sunday is a 2002 film about the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" shootings in Derry, Northern Ireland. Although produced by Granada Television as a TV film, it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 16 January, a few days before its screening on ITV on 20 January, and then in selected London cinemas from 25 January. The production was written and directed by Paul Greengrass.
In this article Phinneas Gage describes how workers at Canada Post have organized themselves, and the ups and downs and risks of organizing.
“So let’s talk about what happened in the last month or so”. I said looking over the room full of the usual suspects. Harjit told the story like this: “the supervisors came out on to the floor to talk to everyone about taking forceback (forced overtime), they didn’t think anything was up when they asked the first person and they refused. They just nodded made a note and moved down the row”.
Poison Fire is a grassroots documentary that brings together video testimonies and evidence on the impacts of oil spills and gas flaring in the Niger Delta.
The Niger Delta is an environmental disaster zone after fifty years of oil exploitation. One and a half million tons of crude oil has been spilled into the creeks, farms and forests, the equivalent to 50 Exxon Valdez disasters, one per year.
Natural gas contained in the crude oil is not being collected, but burnt off in gas flares, burning day and night for decades.
Anti-Putin protesters covered their cars in white ribbons and balloons and blocked the Moscow ring road for several hours causing massive traffic jams. The action was organised on social networking sites by opposition group, the 'voters league'. The protest is precursor to a massive demonstration in Moscow this coming weekend.
On Sunday, around [url=http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/international/181487-cars-with-frills-protest-against-putin-in-moscow.html?]3,000 cars covered in white balloons and ribbons[/url
The “no-tav” movement demonstrates in Turin against that judiciary action with a march of about 10 thousand people.
Saturday 28 January 2012, two days after the police blitz in which 41 no-tav activists were arrested or subject to precautionary measures, the “no-tav” movement demonstrates in Turin against that judiciary action with a march of about 10 thousands persons.
A documentary about the effects the building of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze river in China has had on the people who lived in the surrounding areas. It a gives a good insight into the transition that China has been making over the last couple of decades to a neo-liberal capitalist state.
During clashes between workers and police outside an Indian ceramics factory, local police murder a union leader. The workers retaliate by murdering a senior company executive, and burning down several company premises.
Workers at Regency Ceramics in Yanam, India, have been in dispute with their employers for the last three weeks. Many of them are temporary workers, and are demanding that their terms and conditions are improved to the levels of those of permanent contracts.
New data suggests that academies are underperforming by the governments own yardsticks, regardless of context. So if they're not 'improving' education, why pursue them? Because they never were about improving education.
Some interesting new data on the supposed 'success' of academies.
I haven't had a chance to go through it all, but to summarise, non-academy secondaries out perform on the measures that the government uses to gauge schools:
"CNN Wire Staff" (yeah you might well hide your byline on this one you lazy bastard) asserts that:
Protesters tossed metal pipes, bottles and burning flares at Oakland police, who responded with tear gas, smoke grenades and bean bag bullets.
A documentary focusing on one family of migrant workers, mainly around Chinese New Year. It reveals the conditions they live and work in, and the strain it has on the family, which comes out the only time they can see each other over the Spring Festival holiday.
Last Train Home is a wonderfully made and very honest documentary from 2009. The family it focuses on seem very uninhibited by the camera's presence, leading them to be very open in the way they talk and act. It just seems to capture something that most documentaries fail to.