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Issue #1796      September 27, 2017

Region Briefs

Vietnam: On September 6 in Thanh Hoa province, close to 6,000 garment workers at the S&H Vina Co Ltd factory went on a “wildcat strike” without the union leadership’s authorisation, or support. The strike was in support of higher wages and better working conditions. The workers demanded improvements including higher wages, shorter working hours, better breaks and improved social welfare benefits. The workers returned to work after the intervention from the General Confederation of Labour of Vietnam promised to negotiate with the employers.

Pakistan: On September 8 near the city of Quetta, Balochistan province, four workers were killed deep inside the Sanjdi coal mine due to a build-up of poisonous gases. Similarly, at a mine near the Harnai district on September 1, three more coal miners were killed in a methane gas explosion. Poor working conditions are endured by workers in these mines where there is a lack of proper protective gear and no compensation payments for injuries. Such incidents are regular occurrences in the coal mines of Balochistan. The lack of safety arrangements leads to deaths of poverty-hit miners: the death toll of coal miners hailing from Shangla from 2010-2017 is more than 200.

India: On September 17 two contract workers were killed in a horrific accident at the Ambuja cement plant of the Lafarge Holcim group at Bhatapara in the state of Chhattisgarh. At the time of the accident five workers were inside the crushing mill making repairs when it suddenly began operating. There is concern over safety in the cement plants of the Lafarge Holcim group as this happened in the same plant where already five workers had been killed.

South Africa: On September 27 a national strike was called by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to protest “state capture”, corruption and retrenchments. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Southern African Clothing Textile and Allied Workers Union (SACTWU) – both affiliated to COSATU – will also take part in the strike. Workers have continued to lose jobs in mining, especially with the recent announcement by Impala Platinum to retrench over 2,100. Last year 32,000 mining jobs were lost, while garment and textile also lost 3,000 jobs. SACTWU’s demands during the strike included an end to outsourcing of work through labour hire companies. Instead the union demanded the creation of more permanent jobs.

Andrew E Rayment

Next article – Culture & Life – Can Ana Belen Montes be freed?

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