Workers of the world: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Hong Kong

Submitted by martin on 21 February, 2009 - 2:56 Author: Ira Berkovic

Zimbabwe teachers plan strike; Botswana mineworkers seek reinstatement; migrant workers strike in Hong Kong.

ZIMBABWE: The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe has vowed to strike when school term begins on 27 January if the government does not increase its basic minimum salary, currently at US$2. The union is also protesting at appalling work conditions, and argue that schools should not open following the cholera outbreak in the country.

Some parents’ have made charitable donations to teachers to keep them in work and the schools open. Union official Oswald Madziva said, “parents now want to usurp the role of government by paying salaries. We have situations where parents are buying pairs of trousers for teachers while some are buying food to keep them in schools… teachers do not need food only. Teachers need to have a social life to talk about. They need an economic life to talk about.”

BOTSWANA: Nearly 500 mineworkers who were sacked in 2004 following strike action are expecting to hear from the Court of Appeal over whether their case will be heard in an industrial tribunal.

Over 3,000 workers members of the Botswana Mineworkers’ Union, participated in the illegal strike. The company Debswana, which mines for diamonds, is in a partnership between the De Beers mining company and the government of Botswana, highlighting how workers in much of the developing world are forced not only to contend with ruthless capitalist corporations but with governments eager to collaborate with them.

HONG KONG: 200 Nepalese migrant workers working as security guards for the G4S firm in Hong Kong are on indefinite strike action for better pay and conditions. After four days G4S — one of the world’s largest security firms — sacked 100 of the strikers.

Previous negotiations had resulted in an agreement that guards over the age of 45, and those who passed a three-month probation period, would be hired on permanent, full-time contracts.

The workers are also demanding an extra HK$300-500 (equivalent to around ÂŁ30-ÂŁ45) per month on top of their basic salary, but management were only offered a monthly incentive bonus of HK$300, which workers rejected following fears that the bonus would be revoked as a punishment for lateness.

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