Social health workers demonstrate in Tamil Nadu; Vietnamese garment workers on strike over pay; Qantas baggage handlers protest layoffs
Workers Struggle: Asia and Australia
26 September 2020
India: Social Health Accreditation Workers in Karnataka protest
Hundreds of Social Accreditation Health Activists (ASHA) workers in Karnataka state staged a protest outside Freedom Park in Bangalore on Wednesday. They are demanding a fixed monthly salary of 12,000 rupees ($ US162), routine health checks for all ASHA workers, and provision of face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and PPE supplies.
Some 42,000 ASHA workers withdrew a state-wide 20-day strike in July following false assurances from the health minister that their demands would be considered. They have not received a response. Workers say they are only paid 4,000 rupees per month, despite their important work in fighting COVID-19.
About 600,000 ASHA workers went on a two-day national strike on August 7 and 8 to demand better wages, full-time jobs and the payment of government salary levels and related benefits. Highly exploited and underpaid workers say they have not been provided with PPE, despite regularly calling for these basic kits since March.
Karnataka childcare and village worker protests
Anganwadi (childcare) workers and Gram Panchayat (village council) workers in Karnataka demonstrate in Belagavi on September 2. Village council workers gathered outside the district council demanding payment of arrears in wages of full-time workers and contract workers in arrears since 2017. They also want paid pensions, time-bound promotions and financial aid payments of 3,000 rupees ($ US40.8) for all Anganwadi workers who are involved in work related to COVID-19.
Anganwadi workers protested outside the deputy commissioner’s office asking for salary increases and kindergarten classes to be held at the childcare center. Under the government’s New Education Policy, kindergarten classes will be held in schools, eliminating thousands of jobs in Anganwadi centers.
Punjab retirees and workers demand pay and benefits
Punjab and UT Employees and Pension Front members held a hunger strike protest outside the deputy commissioner’s office in Amritsar on September 16 to demand the implementation of the Payments Commission report released three years ago.
They also called for the exemption of five unpaid tuition installments, a fixed allowance of 2,000 rupees ($ 2US7.2), a salary of 18,000 rupees for ASHA workers, lunch and Anganwadi (childcare) workers.
Tamil Nadu: Magna International workers continued support for sacked union members
Workers at the Magna International spare parts factory in Oragadam, Tamil Nadu, attacked on September 17 and began ongoing protests demanding the reinstatement of the four workers who were suspended on March 19 for trying to form a union.
The protesters also asked the company to cancel its decision to transfer 12 workers, allow the formation of a union and start negotiations for salary increases. The strike followed a hunger strike by several workers on August 26 over the same problem.
Motherson Automotive Technologies and Engineering (MATE) workers showed their solidarity with the Magna workers who went on strike and participated in a rally on 22 September. Magna is a global automotive supplier of electronics with 348 manufacturing plants in 28 countries.
Deft online food delivery workers strike in Utter Pradesh
Hundreds of delivery workers from online food delivery platform Swiggy attacked in Noida on Sept. 17 in protest against the company’s pay cuts. It was their third strike day of the week. Nearly 300 workers participated in the strike near the delivery of Sector 16 and said they intend to continue industrial action until they win their demands.
The company imposed a pay cut on August 9, cutting the principal payment of one order by more than 50 percent – from 35 rupees ($ US0.47) to just 15 rupees.
The company has also removed the target-based fixed monthly incentive of around 3,000 rupees for full-time delivery workers and 2,000 rupees for part-time workers.
Expert dispatch workers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad, Telangana state went on strike in August over brutal pay cuts to demand companies return previous pay packages and impose daily base wage rates.
Pakistan: Structure of demand for college educators in Rawalpindi
More than 150 lecturers and professors from the state-run college demonstrate in Rawalpindi, Punjab province on September 19. They demanded the immediate implementation of the service structure, the five-tier promotion formula, and the timely promotion promised by the government. The protests blocked traffic on a major city road for more than an hour.
According to protesters, more than 6,000 educators in Punjab are affected by the absence of a service structure and are not entitled to any payment protection. The protest was summoned by the Punjab Association of Professors and Lecturers.
Bangladeshi garment workers are demanding extraordinary salaries and re-opening of their factories
More than 700 Bangladeshi garment workers from the A-One BD garment factory in the Dhaka Export Processing Zone staged a two-day sit-in demonstration on Monday and Tuesday outside the National Press Club. They are demanding the reopening of the factory, which was closed in April, and the distribution of the eight months in arrears that have not been paid.
On Tuesday, workers lined up and held a rally and then presented the memorandum to the prime minister’s office. They suspended the demonstration after the minister of state for labor and the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) offered a worthless promise that workers’ problems would be dealt with in 25 days.
BEPZA authorities previously claimed that arrears would be paid within three months after the factory was sold. The factory previously employed 1,100 workers. Bangladesh Garment Workers Solidarity organized the demonstration.
Vietnamese garment workers are on strike because of their pay and conditions
Hundreds of workers staged a strike and protest outside the Mai Lan Anh garment factory on Vietnam’s central south coast of Khanh Hoa province on September 17. They demanded that the company pay them properly for August and also pay their health insurance because workers who had sought treatment at the hospital were told that their health insurance cards were invalid.
Garment workers are under contract and paid only $ 150 per month. In August, management cut workers’ salaries and notified employees that they would be paid according to their productivity. The workers alleged that they were forced to work overtime and threatened that they would be fired or locked in the factory if they tried to leave.
Australia: Maritime unions end industrial action at Port Botany
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) suddenly called for an end to industrial action by its 580 members at the Port Botany DP World Australia (DPWA) container terminal on September 19 after agreeing to restart negotiations with companies on proposed company agreements (EA). ).
Measures against DPWA include alternate stoppages and work bans as part of a similar industrial action by MUA members at Australia’s Patrick Stevedores and Hutchinson’s terminals in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle. About 2,400 workers on the waterfront are involved in the dispute.
MUA said it had reached a national “in principle” agreement with DP World but claimed there were unresolved local issues at some ports. These include company demands for roster changes and downtime in exchange for increased productivity, as well as lingering job security concerns related to automation and outsourcing.
The union claims that Patrick wants to remove the roughly 50-page requirement in the proposed EA. The company ended negotiations on an EA proposal in April with unions demanding an extension of its current agreement and a 12 month ban on outsourcing and automation. Hutchison cut its workers’ salaries by 30 percent, claiming that this reflects the value of productivity lost due to the work ban.
Qantas baggage handlers protest layoffs
Baggage handlers from Qantas staged two days of protests on Thursday and Friday against Qantas’s plans to outsource their work. The Transport Workers Union organizing demonstrations in Adelaide, Darwin, Perth, Brisbane and outside Qantas headquarters at Mascot airport, Sydney made pointless calls to Qantas politician and CEO Alan Joyce to overturn the decision.
The airline said its decision to outsource baggage handling would save nearly $ 100 million, with work to be done from ten major airports across Australia. At least 2,500 workers will lose their jobs beyond the 6,000 workers who have been targeted for layoffs.
Low-cost airline Jetstar, wholly owned by Qantas, has announced it will also outsource ground handling at six Australian airports where the work is done at home, impacting 370 jobs.