Sudan: Workers strike demanding transfer of power to a civilian government
28 May 2019: Sudanese workers went on a two-day general strike responding to the call of the Alliance for Freedom and Change movement demanding the military to hand power to a civilian administration.
Last month people’s protest had ousted president Omar-al Bashir, since then the army has taken charge.
Sudanese people have been demanding formation of a body to install a transitional civilian government, which in turn would prepare for the first post-Bashir elections after a three-year interim period.
Bangladesh: Garment workers launch hunger strike against sexual harassment at workplace
27 May 2019: 17 workers employed at an Ashulia based factory of the Donglian Group, a global garment manufacturer launched an indefinite hunger strike over dismissal for protesting against sexual harassment of a co-worker at the hands of a manager.
Workers had gone on strike in March when the incident came to light. Their protest was met with a week-long lock-out by the company between 9 -15 April 2019. The 17 workers who led the protests were dismissed once the factory re-opened. The police is yet to file a case against the manager, however the workers had reported the incident to the police on 20 April 2019.
USA: American Airlines sues worker and unions for slowdown
20 May 2019: The American Airlines Group Inc. filed a lawsuit in the Fort Worth Federal District Court against the Transport Workers Union and the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, which together represent the groups’ roughly 10,000 aircraft mechanics for illegal slowdown.
Federal laws prohibit airline workers from striking until a mediator declares an impasse in negotiations.
American Airlines has been stalling wage negotiations and refusing to discuss job security and healthcare benefits with the workers since April 2019.
Earlier, Southwest Airlines had sued Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association over illegal slowdown during negotiations. The case was eventually dropped and the airline agreed to give workers a 20% pay raise and bonuses.
Italy: Dock workers refuse to load Saudi ships carrying weapons to Yemen
20 May 2019: Protesting the Saudi Arabia led war in Yemen and arms trafficking, Italian dock workers refused to load the ship Bahri-Yanbu docked at the Italian port town of Genoa. The workers supported by human rights activists refused to load generators, stock supplies and any cargo on the ship. Workers decried any attempt to aid the ship in its journey with the slogan “We will not be complicit in what is happening in Yemen”.
The ship, which began its voyage by picking up arms in Belgium suffered a similar fate previously in France where it was blocked from picking up additional weaponry.
The UN describes the four-year-long Saudi-led war as the worst humanitarian disaster in the world today, with the death toll expected to top 2.3 lakh by the end of the year.
Belgium: Workers demand increase in Minimum Wages
14 May 2019: Belgian workers held demonstrations across the nation including Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Zele, Ninove, Hasselt, Tienen, Wavre and Liege under the banner of General Federation of Belgian Labour demanding a raise in the minimum wages to 10% above the poverty line, a fairer model of wealth redistribution through tax reform, the guarantee of mechanisms to ensure a fair wage evolution (index and scales), a revision of the 1996 wage law, as well as refinancing of public services and social security.
According to a report of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Labour Organization, and the European Commission, Belgian workers are among the few in Europe whose real wages have fallen drastically over the years.
Ethiopia: Garment workers worst paid in global garments supply chain
7 May 2019: A report by the Centre of Business and Human Rights of New York University has found that wages among garment workers in Ethiopia are lowest in the global garment supply chain. Industrial Parks around Addis Abba which produce for global clothing brands including Zara, H&M, GAP and PvH are paying their workers around Rs. 1,800 per month. Workers in China get Rs.23,000 while those in Kenya get Rs.14,000 for the same work.
Bangladesh: Jute Mill Workers strike over unpaid wages
5 May 2019: Workers of 26 jute mills run by the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) have been demanding salary arrears and allowances, implementation of wage commission recommendations, sufficient fund allocation for the jute sector, reinstatement of sacked workers and regularisation.
Thousands of workers began protests on 5 May 2019 when workers of 11 jute mills in Jessore, Khulna, and Dhaka started their three hours’ work abstention. Workers have intensified protests since 13 May 2019 and gone on indefinite strike.
Argentina: Workers lead people’s protest against President Marci’s austerity measures
1 May 2019: Thousands of people marched to Buenos Aires a day before May Day, as unions issued a call for two-day nation-wide strike against the recent austerity measures of the Marci government. The two day protest saw massive gathering of people against the economic collapse of Argentina. A near third of Argentines have been pushed below the poverty line with over 9% unemployed. Wages have risen by only 5% while inflation almost touched 50%. The currency has devalued by half and GDP has contracted by over 6% in recent years.
US: Stop and Shop workers ratify new contract
22 April 2019: After 10 days of strike by 30,000 retail workers at 240 Stop and Shop stores across the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union ratified a 3-year contract with management. Health care and retirements benefits remain intact in the new contract alongside wage hikes. Also, all workers are now eligible for ‘time-and-half’ pay if working on Sundays or holidays. The 3-year contract representing 31,000 workers had expired on 23 February 2019 following which management had proposed a new contract that raised health care premium by 3 times while slashing Sunday overtime pay, sick leave, holidays, pensions and other benefits. Workers had gone on strike against the proposed wage contract.
Argentina: Farmers protest demanding better policies by the government
17 April 2019: On the International Day of Peasant Struggle, rural workers and indigenous people protested in front of the National Congress in Buenos Aires. Protestors gave away fruits and vegetables for free to draw attention to rampant inflation and to the difficult economic situation that the farmers were facing.
Farm workers are demanding regulation of family farming law, legislation of a family farming emergency law, advancement of laws for access to land, access to soft loans and public policies for the sector. They also demand withdrawal of modifications to the seed law that prevent farmers from using seeds from previous harvests.
Germany: Amazon workers strike demanding better pay and working conditions
15 April 2019: Workers across 4 warehouses struck work demanding a legally binding collective bargaining agreement to negotiate better pay and working conditions. Workers in Bad Hersfeld, Rheinberg, Werne and Koblenz conducted a “tools down” in a long running campaign against unfair working conditions and low pay.
Kenya: Sugar workers strike over unpaid wages
15 April 2019: Over 2,000 workers of the Sony Sugar Company struck work and conducted a “tools-down” demanding payment of wages pending 3 months.
European Union: Legislation for minimum rights of Gig Workers
16 March 2019: The European Union approved legislation for minimum rights for gig economy workers. Under law, working hours, work description, starting date and pay must be specified. Furthermore, Gig economy workers will have rights to compensation for ‘cancelled work’, exclusivity clause restricting workers taking up more than 1 job are banned and a probation period of maximum 6 months or proportionate to the expected contract duration will be allowed in the case of fixed-term employment.
New rules will cover workers in casual or short-term employment, on-demand workers, intermittent workers, voucher-based workers, platform workers, paid trainees and apprentices as well as gig economy workers employed by Uber, Deliveroo, Amazon, etc. The rules are applicable to all who work at least 3 hours per week or 12 hours per 4 weeks. Countries in the European Union will have 3 years to enforce new rules.