An extremely valuable book about the Bombay textile workers' strike of 1982-3, which deserves to be more widely read. The strike of 230,000 workers was big and extremely determined, but nevertheless doomed, which parallels to the UK miners' strike of 1984-5. Its defeat led directly to the massive restructuring of the Indian textile industry in the following years.
I found it on the site of an Indian NGO, but very badly scanned. Here it is presented drastically spell-checked and generally cleaned up.
Presented here in PDF and Kindle format.
Garment workers resume work with issues unresolved...
Thursday 21st June 2012, Ashulia, Dhaka; after a week of intense struggles for higher wages, followed by a 4-day lockout of half a million workers (see earlier article), 350 factories in the industrial zone come to life again.
The resurgence of unrest in the Bangladeshi garment sector continues with over 500,000 workers now locked out in Ashulia...
The main costs of living for garment workers are food and rent; both are rising much faster than wages. The overall inflation level is around 10%. So workers are demanding pay increases of up to 50% and are calling for rent controls to be implemented.
After a long period of relative quiet, workers are again taking mass action in the Bangladeshi garment industry. Also; some comments on the recent wave of political 'disappearances'.
Since the deployment of the new Industrial Police Force (IPF) in 2010 struggles had been much reduced by the IP's innovative tactics(1). But recent events in Dhaka's industrial suburb of Ashulia and elsewhere suggest that workers' anger, solidarity, willingness to struggle and sheer weight of numbers can't be contained indefinitely.
The labour movement in India is still under the control of bureaucratic leaders and political groups. However, as shown by a strike last year, among the workers of the country is gradually spreading the idea of self-organization and sovereign general assembly.
Up to 100 million workers were involved in a one-day strike in India on February 28. Strike, which affected a number of branches across the country, has been named one of the biggest strikes ever taken place in the world. It was announced 11 trade union centres (they first worked together since the declaration of independence) and 5000 smaller unions.
China Blue is a documentary that follows a 17 year old Chinese girl migrating from her home in the Sichuan province to work in a jeans factory in Guangdong. It shows the harsh realities as a factory worker for millions of migrants in China.
The film gives a very detailed insight, what it is like to work in a Chinese factory. The extremely long workday, going for weeks or months without a day to rest, not getting paid (even when you do it's barely enough for the amount of work done), sleeping in cramped conditions, eating crap food and being threatened every step of the way by a complete bell-end of a boss.
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.
In the summer of 1842 a great wave of strikes engulfed Lancashire and Yorkshire. The wave began in the Staffordshire coalfield in July when the miners went on strike for fewer hours and more pay. They also linked economic with political demands when a meeting passed a resolution stating that “nothing but the People’s Charter can give us a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work’.” Miners marched from pit to pit spreading the strike as far north as Stockport.
Cotton masters in Stalybridge and Ashton-under-Lyne gave notice that they intended to reduce wages by 25%. A mass meeting was held in Ashton on 26 July which was addressed by two Chartists and this was followed by other local meetings.