Lesotho: Police opens fire on garment workers protesting for wage hike
19 May 2021: Garment workers rallying for two promised, but indefinitely delayed, minimum wage increases were met with heavy police violence including firing live bullets on 19 May 2021 resulting in hospitalisation of 12 workers and 2 children aged 7 and 9 years. The state has resorted to detention of protesting workers, heavy police violence since 17 May 2021 when garment workers went on strike demanding an end to sexual violence at workplace and implementation of incremental minimum wage increases—for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022—as notified in the government gazette on 1 April 2021.
Palestine: Workers hold general strike against Israeli violence in occupied territories
18 May 2021: Palestinians across the country went on strike against continued Israeli violence on 18 May 2021. At least 213 Palestinians have been killed in heavy airstrikes since 14 May 2021, including 61 children and 36 women, with more than 1,440 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The general strike received world wide solidarity from workers demanding an immediate ceasefire by Israeli forces.
Spain: Delivery workers employed though tech platforms to get wages and benefits at par permanent workers as government adopts new law
11 May 2021: Spain has adopted a royal decree entitling delivery workers employed through gig work platforms to wages and benefits at par their permanent counterparts following a Supreme Court ruling last year that held exploitation of gig workers in the name of ‘independent contractors’ illegal. The Spanish government’s decree doesn’t need parliamentary approval and is the result of an agreement with the country’s workers’ unions and industry associations. The decree directly affects over 30,000 delivery workers, however it leaves out the domestic care and cleaning services industries where gig work model is rampant.
Greece: Transport workers hold strike against new labour law
06 May 2021: Transports workers brought the country to a standstill against the proposed new labour law which aims at extending the workday from existing 8 hours to 10 hours. Trains, metro rail, ferries and flights did not ply as unions are unanimously oppose the proposal. Unions are planning to hold countrywide general strikes if the government doesn’t back down on the proposal.
Tunisia: Government proposes cuts in public spending to seek loans from IMF
5 May 2021: Tunisian government has proposed cutting its expenditure on public sector wages, privatise public services and replace subsidies with direct cash transfers to seek a $4 billion loan from International Monetary Fund. The proposal envisages to eliminating all general subsidies by 2024 beginning with food subsidies and later extending it to electricity and petrol, and cutting the wage bill to 15% of GDP by 2022 from 17.4% last year, through early retirement and reductions in working hours.
Bangladesh: Court orders compensation to kins of workers gunned down during protests
04 May 2021: The Bangladesh High Court has ordered ordered two investigative committees to submit their reports within 45 days on police violence that resulted in death of 7 workers on 17 April 2021 at the Banshkhali Power Plant in Chittagong where workers were protesting against meagre pay and bad working conditions. The Banshkhali Power Plant is a joint venture between S. Alam Group and 2 Chinese companies – SEPCO III Power Construction Corporation and HTG Development Group Company Ltd. The court further ordered an additional compensation of $2,400 to the kin of the deceased as initial compensation in addition of $3,600 already paid by the company. The High Court also asked the local administration to ensure that workers and villagers in the area are not harassed for having protested or for demanding compensation. It also sought a report into the initiatives being taken to treat injured workers and keep other workers safe.