The Guardian 8 March, 2006
COLOMBIA: The IUF (International Union of Food Workers) has consistently expressed serious concerns about labour relations practices in Coca-Cola’s Colombian operations. Like others, it has supported the call for an independent investigation (rather than a Coca-Cola initiated internal assessment) as the only adequate response to reported serious rights violations. The IUF has now secured agreement with the Coca-Cola Company that both parties shall request the United Nations, through its International Labour Organisation (ILO), to conduct such an investigation. The ILO, as the UN specialised agency responsible for developing and promoting international labour standards, is clearly the appropriate body to investigate the degree to which these internationally-recognised standards are in practice respected by the Coca-Cola system in Colombia, says the IUF.
BANGLADESH: Bangladesh Garment Workers Trade Union Centre (BGWTUC) observed a dawn to dusk strike on March 2 protesting against the factory owners’ failure to provide safety to workers and demanding removal of Industries Minister Motiur Rahman Nizami’s from his post. The BGWTUC organised a rally at Muktangan to protest against the recent "killings" in KTS garments in Chittagong and Phoenix garments in the capital and other garment factories across the country. BGWTUC leaders demanded Motiur Rahman Nizami’s removal from his post as he failed to take proper steps against the garment factory owners, government officials, and organisations responsible for the accidents. The fire in KTS garments in Chittagong and the collapse of Phoenix garment’s building in Dhaka left at least 73 workers dead.
PHILIPPINES: several members of the media shaved their heads last week to dramatise their protest against President Gloria Arroyo’s Proclamation 1017. The protest action was initiated by the National Press Club (NPC) and the Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag (Alliance of Filipino Journalists, Afima) in front of the NPC building in Intramuros, Manila. The protestors urged the government to immediately lift Proclamation 1017, placing the country under a state of national emergency, as they stressed that freedom of speech and of the press should be safeguarded and respected. "The role of media is that of serving as a watchdog for exposing social injustice and abuse of power", the groups said, as they urged other media organisations and journalists to resist attempts of the government to restrict their freedom of expression. The groups said they would not tone down their stories despite the emergency declaration.
BRITAIN: The Church of England last week said sorry for the role it played in the 18th century in benefiting from slave labour in the Caribbean. The church’s general synod in London began its deliberations last week by commemorating its role behind the abolition of slavery in 1807, pledging members to continue campaigning against modern slavery. Although the motion was passed unanimously, the synod stopped short of endorsing a specific call for financial or other reparations.