World Popular Resistance Clippings 20/5/2013




Unrest in Ashulia again

Some thousands of ready-made garment workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway and clashed with police while staging a protest demanding a wage hike and other facilities in Ashulia on Monday morning. Authorities of the concerned Ha-Meem Group were compelled to declare a holiday in the wake of the protest.

Traffic on the highway was suspended for about half-an-hour before law enforcers charged batons and dispersed the agitators. Workers of Ha-Meem Group in Narasinghapur area started protesting soon after entering factory premises in the morning, Dhaka Additional Police Superintendent Shyamal Kumar Mukherjee told Protestors blocked Dhaka-Tangail highway compelling police to charge batons to bring situation under control, he said.

Apart from a wage hike, the workers were also demanding attendance fees for three holidays and protection against attacks. The workers alleged that they were attacked by outsiders. At one point, agitated workers tried to smash the front gate of Ha-Meem Group factory, but police intervened, Savar Correspondent reported from the spot.

Soon a clash ensued between police and agitators. Police then lobbed teargas shells to disperse the workers, Industrial Police-1 Ashulia zone Deputy Assistant Director Abdus Sattar said. Additional police, armed police, APBN and Industrial Police were deployed at the area to avoid further disturbances, he said. Ha-Meem Group Deputy General Manager Delwar Hossain confirmed to that workers in the morning placed several demands. Some 20,000 workers from two units of the group, in Narasinghapur and Banglabazar area, left the factories after placing their demands, he said.

The units were closed for the day. Regarding the demands, Delwar said, “From today each worker will get Tk 25 for lunch. Tiffin money too will be hiked to Tk 20 from Tk 15.” For helpers, attendance bonus will be increased to Tk 300 from Tk 250. In case of other senior-grade workers it will be Tk 400 from Tk 300, he said.

Attendance bonus for the three BGMEA-announced holidays will also be given as per directives of the apex body, he added. Earlier, ‘troubled’ factories in the Ashulia belt had remain closed for three days. Factories in the area had opened only on Friday.

Construction workers strike in Dubai as labour tensions rise

Thousands of workers at one of the United Arab Emirates’ largest contractors have gone on a rare strike in Dubai as labour tensions revive amid the emirate’s construction revival. Arabtec, one of the contractors that built the tallest tower in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, said the company is “working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, alongside the ministry of labour and the police”.

The strike marks a revival of labour tensions as Dubai embarks on a new building boom after the real estate crash of 2008. Strikes remain illegal in the UAE. Local media reported that thousands of workers, demanding pay increases on their monthly salaries of $160-$200, on Sunday refused to leave their accommodation – known locally as labour camps – on the outskirts of Dubai for a third day. The rampant inflation that accompanied Dubai’s last construction frenzy prompted outbursts of labour unrest as workers demanded better pay and conditions.



Riots in Stockholm After Shooting

Rioting youth torched cars and fought police in a Stockholm suburb into the early hours of Monday, injuring four police officers and causing substantial damage to property. A car burns after being set on fire during riots in Stockholm on Sunday night. The rioting was caused by anger over the fatal police shooting of an elderly man in the Husby area a week ago, according to Megafonen, a local youth organization.

Police said between 60 and 100 persons, most of them young men, took part in the riots, which started after 10 p.m. local time on Sunday. After a car was set alight, the first police patrol on the scene was met with stone-throwing, local police chief Daniel Mattsson said. Some of the most extensive damage was done in a parking garage, where cars were torched.

A total of about 50 cars were damaged in the fire, which forced a temporary the evacuation of a nearby residential building. Mr. Mattsson said there were 18 criminal incidents of varying nature reported and that the riots lasted for four hours. The mood elsewhere in Stockholm was festive after Sweden clinched its ninth ice hockey World Championship title on home ice. Husby, a neighborhood in the northwestern outskirts of Stockholm, has a high unemployment rate and a large immigrant population.

Though rare, small-scale riots have taken place before in some of the most deprived suburbs of Stockholm, with tension between police and local youths a recurring theme. Sunday night’s turmoil follows last Monday’s shooting of a 69-year old Husby man in his apartment. The man, who was armed with a large knife, was shot and killed by police. Police went to his apartment after he was reported to have walked the streets of the area wielding the knife.

Police have launched an internal investigation into the shooting. The incident, and others where people have been injured or killed in connection with police actions, have sparked a public debate on excessive police force. Megafonen, the youth organization, arranged a protest against police brutality last week, demanding an independent probe into the death of the 69-year old and a public apology by the police. “It is understandable that people react like this,” Rami al-Khamisi, a Megafonen representative, said after the riots Monday.

The organization also claimed that police used excessive force during the Monday morning riots. Mr. Mattsson noted that his force is entitled to use violence, “especially when faced with rioting and violence against the police,” and urged anyone who feels that they have been met with excessive violence or harassment to report it. He said the police would step up its work in the area, in cooperation with local authorities and organizations, to prevent further unrest.


Foreign firms in Vietnam seeking to sack pregnant workers

Le Thi Kim Thanh, 33, a factory worker in the southern province of Dong Nai, recently lodged a complaint with provincial labor inspectors in order to save her job. Thanh said leaders of the Japanese owned Mamuchi Motor Vietnam had attempted to force her to quit, both verbally and by placing her in poor working conditions, upon learning that she was pregnant.

She said she has been working at the factory since 2002, earning VND4 million (US$190) a month, and that firm leaders directly asked her to quit after she began suffering from morning sickness early this year. Pregnant women and new mothers are given priority in the avoidance of working extra shifts, according to Vietnam labor laws, but many factories consider that a luxury.

Many female employees of a factory in Hanoi were also on the verge of losing their jobs due to pregnancies until they made a fuss. Doojung Vietnam, a South Korean cosmetic accessories producer, announced a month ago its plans to dismiss women in their sixth month of pregnancy for failing meet company regulations on working extra shifts. It also banned all female employees from having babies for the next three years.

The orders were only abolished when most workers protested by going on strike for several days. Lawyer Tran Dinh Trien from Hanoi said any layoffs due to pregnancy were not only illegal but also “inhuman.” “Every person is born to a mother. The companies are acting unethically [by sacking pregnant women],” Trien said.

He said the companies should at least be fined, or have their licenses suspended, “for violating human rights.” Nguyen Thi Thu Hong, vice chairwoman of the Vietnam Labor Union, said victims of such discrimination can lodge complaints with the union.


2 Feared Dead As Crisis Rocks Ogun University!

Violence rocked the Ago Iwoye campus of the Olabisi Onabanjo University on Monday. As early as 7.30 am, students had stormed the gates of the institution which they succeeded in locking. Policemen were however on the scene not long after. Some of the protesting students including the President of the Institution’s Students Union Government, James Ogunjimi were reportedly arrested by the police and taken to Ijebu Igbo.

Street Journal’s findings revealed that the students were protesting against some of the “anti-students policy” of the school’s management. Some of the students revealed that one of the new policies stipulates that any student who does not pay school fees on time would not be allowed into the exam hall, which could mean an extra year for some.

Two students were feared dead during the protest as students claimed policemen opened fire on the students. In a matter of minutes, it was all over the social networks that 2 students were killed while more than 300 were lost in the bush. A picture of a dead male in white singlet having a bullet wound in the stomach region also went all over the social media as one of the students killed in the protest.

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