Tag Archives | Strikes

Protesting Workers Shut Down Hundreds Of Clothing Factories In Bangladesh

Vast numbers of workers who sew the clothing of many of America’s biggest brands didn’t get the memo that they are supposed to be grateful for 12 cents an hour in awful conditions. Al Jazeera America writes:

Garment factory workers in Bangladesh protested for the third day in a row Monday, calling on their government to raise the minimum wage from about $38 dollars per month to $100. Garment workers often labor up to 80 hours per week.

The protests forced the shutdown of hundreds of factories in the industrial Gazipur neighborhood near the capital, Dhaka, where factory owners and government officials called for workers to return to work.

Western corporations that rely on Bangladeshi labor to make much of the clothing sold in their stores — including Walmart, Gap and H&M — appeared reluctant to comment publicly on the protests.

Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district, told AFP that “up to 200,000 workers” had joined the latest demonstrations.

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Police Arrest Black Friday Protesters On Behalf Of Walmart

On Black Friday, peaceful protest is a jailable offense, while violent mobs are acceptable so long as they are spending money. Rania Khalek writes:

The treatment of peaceful protesters compared to the unruly and sometimes violent crowds of stampeding Black Friday shoppers couldn’t be more different. While the former is ostracized and forcibly removed by police, the latter is encouraged to come out for a competitive brawl over marked off goods. Nowhere is this contrast more clearly defined than in the police treatment of Walmart protesters over the last 24 hours.

On Friday, at least 1,000 Walmart employees throughout the country walked off the job to protest Walmart’s poor labor practices. Local police departments have been happy to disperse and even arrest strikers and their supporters on behalf of the world’s largest retailer.

At a Walmart store in Paramount, just outside of Los Angeles, some 1,500 people rallied against Walmart. Josh Eidelson, live-blogging about the Walmart strikes at The Nation, reports that “Nine people have been arrested for sitting in the street on Lakewood Boulevard, including three striking Walmart retail workers from area stores.

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Wal-Mart Worker Strikes Expand To 28 Stores In 12 States

There’s trouble in paradise, the New York Times reports:

Protests against Wal-Mart expanded on Tuesday, spreading to 28 stores in 12 states, a union spokesman said.

Mr. Schlademan, director of the union-backed Making Change at Walmart campaign, added that more than 200 employees were traveling to Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to stage a protest on during the company’s annual meeting with financial analysts. He warned that disgruntled Wal-Mart employees, joined by labor unions and community groups, might stage a combined protest and educational campaign the Friday after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

Colby Harris, who earns $8.90 an hour after three years at a Walmart in Lancaster, Tex., said, “We’re protesting because we want better working conditions and better wages and because we want them to stop retaliating against associates who exercise their right to talk about what’s going on in their stores.”

Wal-Mart officials insisted that the protests were publicity stunts rather than strikes, carried out by a tiny fraction of the nation’s 1.4 million Wal-Mart workers.

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Riot Police Arrest Walmart Warehouse Workers On Strike Against Abysmal Working Conditions

Via Buzzfeed, activist Daneyvilla took an snapped photos as a veritable army of riot police cracked down on a demonstration by several hundred completely peaceful, largely middle-aged Walmart warehouse employees. From the workers’ website, the reason for the strike:

No one should come to work and endure extreme temperatures, inhale dust and chemical residue, and lift thousands of boxes weighing up to 250lbs with no support. Workers never know how long the work day will be- sometimes its two hours, sometimes its 16 hours. Injuries are common, as is discrimination against women and illegal retaliation against workers who speak up for better treatment.

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Worker Unrest Grows Ever Stronger In China

Via Jacobin, Eli Friedman on low-wage Chinese workers fighting the machine:

Chinese workers are facing the same brutal competitive pressures as workers in the West, often at the hands of the same capitalists. Today, the Chinese working class is fighting.

China is undeniably the epicenter of global labor unrest. While there are no official statistics, it is certain that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of strikes take place each year. All of them are wildcat strikes – there is no such thing as a legal strike in China. So on a typical day anywhere from half a dozen to several dozen strikes are likely taking place.

More importantly, workers are winning, with many strikers capturing large wage increases above and beyond any legal requirements. Worker resistance has been a serious problem for the Chinese state and capital and, as in the United States in the 1930s, the central government has found itself forced to pass a raft of labor legislation.

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African Women Start Sex Strike To Force President Out

Don’t mess with African women! BBC News reports on the sex strike in Togo:

Women in Togo have been urged to abstain from sex for a week from Monday to push their demand for reform.

The ban has been called by opposition coalition Let’s Save Togo, made up of nine civil society groups and seven opposition parties and movements.

Opposition leader Isabelle Ameganvi said that sex could be a “weapon of the battle” to achieve political change.

The coalition wants President Faure Gnassingbe, whose family has held power for decades, to stand down.

“We have many means to oblige men to understand what women want in Togo,” Ms Ameganvi, leader of the women’s wing of the coalition, told the BBC.

She said she had been inspired by a similar strike by Liberian women in 2003, who used a sex strike to campaign for peace.

“If men refuse to hear our cries we will hold another demonstration that will be more powerful than a sex strike,” she added…

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Anti-Protest Laws Being Pushed Through Egyptian Government

Tahrir Square on 8 February 2011

Over 1 million protestors in Tahrir Square demanded the removal of the Mubarak regime on February 8, 2011. Photo: Jonathan Rashad (CC)

Ahram Online reports:

The Egyptian cabinet approved yesterday a decree-law that criminalises strikes, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins that interrupt private or state owned businesses or affect the economy in any way.

The decree-law also assigns severe punishment to those who call for or incite action, with the maximum sentence one year in prison and fines of up to half a million pounds.

The new law, which still needs to be approved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, will be in force as long as the emergency law is still in force. Egypt has been in a state of emergency since the assassination of former president Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Since former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February, Egypt has witnessed escalating nationwide labour strikes and political protests.

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