Workers of the world

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2010 - 1:58

Workers at the Viva Global garment factory, Gurgaon, India have been brutally attacked and beaten up with hockey sticks and lathis by goons called in by the factory bosses.

The incident happened on 23 August when workers were entering the factory, as part of a tripartite agreement between the management of Viva Global, the Indian Labour Department, and the Garment and Allied Workers Union (GAWU).

Viva Global is a major supplier of clothes to well-known multinational brands such as Marks and Spencer. There have been serious violations of labour laws and human rights at the Viva Global Factory. Management has been using bullying tactics against union leaders and workers’ representatives following workers’ demands for basic amenities and legal wages.

On 21 August contract workers were locked out of the factory in an illegal attempt to fire them. Since 25 August workers had kept up a 24-hour protest sit-in in front of the factory.

The union’s demands are: All workers must be reinstated, and the management of the Viva Global must apologise to the workers.

M&S’s store in Oxford Street, central London, was picketed by protesters from No Sweat and anarchist groups on Saturday 4 September.


Brazil: oil workers’ strike

Brazilian oil workers have staged a one-day “warning strike” at the largely state-owned Petrobras company, as pay negotiations between bosses and the workers’ union continue.

The workers have sent their bosses a signal that they will not roll over in the talks and that they are negotiating from a position of strength.

Petrobras is one of South America’s largest companies, and the strike saw seven refineries and 30 offshore drilling facilities closed completely. Unions are demanding pay increases consistent with levels of inflation, as well as productivity pay increases.

They are also demanding management guarantees concerning health and safety in the workplace, and wants to establish a national forum to discuss structural changes within the industry as well as its environmental impact.

If the workers are able to develop a radical programme on the environment, they could lead the way for other workers in high-emissions industries to develop plans to transition their workplaces towards socially-necessary and environmentally-sustainable production.

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