China Labor Group Says Activists Detained in Shoe Factory Strike
Chinese authorities detained a pair of labor activists who are
advising striking workers at a shoe manufacturer for brands including
Nike Inc. (NKE:US) and Adidas AG (ADS), China Labor Watch said. The two
activists, Zhang Zhiru and Lin Dong, entered a factory belonging to Yue
Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd. (551) in Dongguan to help workers after a
strike began April 14, China Labor Watch said on its website.
Zhang’s wife Xiao Hongxia said the last time she reached her husband
was midday April 22, when Zhang told her he had met with security
officials. “I called my husband at noon yesterday, asking if he would be
coming home to eat,” Xiao said in an interview on April 23. “He said he
was in Dongguan and already having his meal. I haven’t heard from him
A strike at a Chinese factory that manufactures shoes for Adidas and
Nike has spread to a sister factory in a neighbouring province, as
thousands of workers gathered to protest against what they said were
unfair pay and benefits. About 2,000 workers clocked in on Monday, but
did not work, at the Yue Yuen factory complex in Jiangxi province,
southern China, joining at least 10,000 employees at another Yue Yuen
factory complex in Dongguan, Guangdong province, who have been on strike
since 14 April. Up to 30,000 employees have stopped working in the
strike – China’s largest in recent memory, according to the New
York-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) China Labour Watch.
Frustrated Egyptian workers pose a grave challenge to new president
MAHALLAH, Egypt — Egypt’s next president will have to contend with
frustrated workers who have threatened a new wave of nationwide strikes
if their demands are not met by an already cash-strapped government.
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the ex-army chief who overthrew Islamist president
Mohamed Morsi last July and is hailed by supporters as a tough leader
who can restore stability, is widely expected to win next month’s
But he is likely to face strident demands from the same labor leaders
who organized a massive 2008 strike seen as a precursor to the 2011
uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule. And with tourism
and investment having largely dried up following three years of turmoil,
it’s unclear whether the government can meet their demands. Labor
activist Kamal Fayoumi says he struggles to make ends meet despite
having worked at a textile factory for 30 years, and he and other labor
leaders insist the promise of the 2011 uprising — “bread, freedom,
social justice” — has yet to be fulfilled. “All governments over the
past three years, including Morsi’s, have only made promises, but never
delivered,” Fayoumi told AFP at a roadside cafe in Egypt’s textile hub
of Mahallah, 115 km north of Cairo.
In the years since Mubarak’s overthrow in 2011, workers have staged
persistent strikes across the country, only halting them in February
under a temporary truce with military-installed authorities. The strikes
had taken place in key sectors, including textiles, steel, cement,
public transport, ports and postal services, further compounding the
country’s economic woes.
Strikes still on in some provinces
Unrest in the garment sector spread yesterday, as hundreds of workers
from Kandal province demonstrated outside their factory. The 700
workers at Unity Fashion factory walked off the job after managers said
they would dock wages of workers who did not show up on April 17, the
first day after Khmer New Year, said Ry Sithinet, a Free Trade Union
officer. Striking that began on Saturday continued yesterday at three
factories in Svay Rieng province’s Tai Seng Special Economic Zone, said
Meas Sokna, the local Collective Union of Movement of Workers officer.
Barapukuria mine workers protest
Workers of Barpukuria Coal Mining Company Limited in Dinajpur have
confined about 50 officials to the administrative building to press for
retention of existing manpower. The workers encircled the administrative
building on Wednesday morning to prevent the officials from coming out.
Coal Mine Workers-Employees Union President Wazed Ali said the
authorities had recently finalised a new manpower structure that would
employ only 738 people instead of the previous roster strength of 2,674.
On Apr 20, the workers had given the managing director (MD) an
ultimatum to go back to the previous strength. Ali said they were
compelled to protest due to the inaction of the management. A large
number of police, Border Guard Bangladesh and RAB personnel have been
deployed at the company premises to avert any trouble.
Workers protest in Tejgaon
Workers of a garments factory in Tejgaon in the capital have
demonstrated demanding payment of their pending salaries. Workers of All
Weather Fashion blocked the Mohakhali-Tejgaon road from Nabisco
intersection to Mohakhali bus-stand from 9:30 to 10:30 on Monday
morning. The blockade caused long tailback on both sides of the road.
Police later fired teargas shells to disperse the protesting workers.
Union members and riot police clash in Istanbul
In Turkey, union members have clashed with riot police in Istanbul,
as they tried to enter a park to hold a press conference. Around 100
union members tried to enter Gezi Park, which is next to Taksim Square,
but they were pushed back by security forces. Union leaders were trying
to issue a public press statement calling for official permission to
hold rallies in the square on May 1st, to observe International Workers’
Day. The Turkish government has banned May Day events at Taksim Square
for over three decades, after 34 people were killed there in 1977 by
unknown assailants during May Day celebrations.
Time Runs Out For Illegal Gold Miners
LIMA, Peru (AP) — The clock has run out for an estimated 40,000
illegal gold miners who had until Saturday to legalize their status in a
region of southeastern Peru where fortune-seekers have ravaged
rainforests and contaminated rivers. The government’s vow to enforce a
ban on illegal mining is raising fears of bloody confrontations. The
miners already have been clashing with police while intermittently
blocking traffic on the commercially vital interoceanic highway that
links the Pacific coast with Brazil, protesting government attempts to
squeeze them out by drastically restricting shipments of the gasoline
they use for their machinery.
One miner has been killed and more than 50 wounded. But officials
insist this time they’re serious about combatting the
multi-billion-dollar illegal mining trade that accounts for about 20
percent of Peru’s gold exports. “We’re not backing down even one inch,”
said Daniel Urresti, the former army officer leading the task for
President Ollanta Humala. The unrest already has left the region’s
cities short of food, inflating prices, and local authorities who
support the miners have traveled to the capital to press for more time.
They were denied an audience with Urresti and other officials. “I don’t
know what’s going to happen after the government deadline lapses. I
think the violence will begin,” said Jorge Aldazabal, the governor of
the Madre de Dios region who has spent more than a week camped out on a
mattress in front of a 17th-century church to protest the crackdown and
demand a solution.
Workers death triggers violent protest
MAILSI-Six workers died of suffocation while cleaning a disposal well
and three others were rescued here in suburban village Jallah Jeem on
Sunday. The incident sparked a violent protest while the police resorted
to baton charge and shelling to control the situation. According to
details, the TMA Mailsi workers along with six labourers were de-silting
a disposal well in Union Council Jallah Jeem area. During the work
three workers including the TMA employees went into the well to fix
motor fan but they fell unconscious and drowned. Meanwhile, six other
labourers rushed into the well for their rescue but they also fainted
due to poisonous gas in the well.
Resultantly six of the workers including the TMA employees identified
as Muhammad Naseer, Muhammad Ikram, Tahir Mateen, Muhammad Fiaz,
Muhammad Shah Nawaz and Muhammad Iqbal died while three others including
Muhammad Aslam, Ghulam Qadir and Ghulam Nabi were rescued by Rescue
1122. Meanwhile, scores of locals who were gathered at the scene ran
amuck in protest against the TMA and poor management of the Rural Health
Centre Jallah Jeem. The enraged people attacked the BHU and the
adjacent house of its MO Dr Mian Fazil and ransacked and set ablaze
furniture, household items and a vehicle.
The protesters also attacked BHC MS Dr Atta Zafar and thrashed him.
Meanwhile, Vehari DCO Jawad Akram and DPO Sadiq Ali Dogar also reached
the spot but the protesters locked them in the building. The protesters
accused Dr Fazli of refusing to treat the fainted workers due to stink.