Workers' struggles around Asia (September 2009)

A round-up of links to reports about workers' struggles around Asia (excluding China). Updated 1/10/2009.

This month where has been news from Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia and far eastern Russia. And now additional news courtesy of Welt in Umwaelzung (listed first).

Indonesia

10th of September, Gresik in Surabaya: Six workers were injured when police attacked the strike meeting of hundreds of workers of the lumber mill PT Redtroindo. The police wanted to cut free a number of container materials. The workers demanded an annual payment (due at the end of Ramadan) of two months wages. They demonstrated outside the police headquarters. However, their demands have been somewhat reduced. ([url=http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A//berita.liputan6.com/daerah/200909/243815/Bentrok.dengan.Polisi.Sejumlah.Buruh.Pingsan&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie=UTF-8]Google translate version of Indonesia article[/url] | Original summary in German)

11th of September, Sumedang / Bandung: Hundreds of employees of the Universitas Winaya Mukti, including the rector and teachers, demonstrated outside the seat of the governor of West Java. They demand unpaid salaries, outstanding from the last four months, and the payment of the annual bonus. ([url=http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A//www.klik-galamedia.com/indexnews.php%3Fwartakode%3D20090912070529%26idkolom%3Dtatarbandung&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie=ISO-8859-1]Google translate version of Indonesia article[/url] | Original summary in German)

11th of September, Bojonegoro (East Java): 99 workers of PT Mitra Bina Natural demonstrated in front of an oil well of the Joint Operating Body - JOB Pertamina-PetroChina East Java PPEJ for their annual bonus which has not yet been disbursed. The PT NBM subcontractors at the well, and employs people from the area for simple work. Ihr Chef ließ später verlauten, daß es keinen Anspruch auf Jahresprämie gäbe - die Leute würden erst seit 1.September arbeiten. The boss later announced that workers there would not be entitled to annual premium - the people had worked only since September 1. "For 10 days there is nothing. Of course, they had years of working here, but still only temporary. The latest contract began on 1 September. We will pay a tribute." ([url=http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A//www.jawapos.co.id/radar/index.php%3Fact%3Ddetail%26rid%3D114286&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie=ISO-8859-1]Google translate version of Indonesia article[/url] | Original summary in German)

14-15th of September: Unpaid annual bonus, which is due at the end of Ramadan every year is the occasion for many strikes. Thus, 200 workers of the clothing factory in Malang Pesona Remaja (Kompas), 220 of the PT Anugrah Tirta Lembarindo in Tangerang (Media Indonesia), hundreds of employees from the online gaming business in Semarang, retired state employees and employees of the Cipto Mangunkusumo hospital in Bandung (Liputan6) . (Indonesia article | Original summary in German)

17th of September, Medan: About 100 farmers of two villages were demonstrating before the regional parliament against the pulp mill PT Toba Pulp Lestari. Their lumberjacks would penetrate more and more on their common land. About 4,100 ha of plantations had been cleared already. In the demo, it almost came to a confrontation with the police because they alleged that the demonstration was not approved. ([url=http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A//beritasore.com/2009/09/17/desak-pt-tpl-hentikan-penebangan-petani-kemenyan-demo-dprd-su/&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie=UTF-8]Google translate version of Indonesia article[/url] | Original summary in German)

28th of September, Bekasi, Greater Jakarta: Hundreds of villagers have blocked the access road to the state-owned oil company Pertamina oil drilling. They are protesting against the stench and the flaring of gas, which leads to some 50m high flames. ([url=http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A//berita.liputan6.com/daerah/200909/245658/Ratusan.Warga.Blokir.Jalan.ke.Sumur.Pertamina&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie=UTF-8]Google translate version of Indonesia article[/url] | Original summary in German)

28th of September, Jayapura, West Papua: Hundreds of public hospital doctors and nurses demonstrated outside the building of the governor. They want more money, their income is not sufficient for life. ([url=http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A//berita.liputan6.com/daerah/200909/245691/Dokter.dan.Perawat.Demo.Rumah.Gubernur&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie=UTF-8]Google translate version of Indonesia article[/url] | Original summary in German)

Cambodia:

Two strikes at clothing factories:
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2009082627998/National-news/workers-continue-strike-at-garment-factory.html?Itemid=0
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2009091028301/National-news/workers-seek-factory-reforms.html
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2009092928625/National-news/strike-drags-on-in-kandal.html

[b]Thailand

16th of September, Buri Ram: landless peasants occupying a former eucalyptus plantation were evicted to join the land to a national park: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/23903/villagers-forced-from-forest-land

29th of September, Bangkok: 3,000 bus drivers and fare collectors of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority protested against a proposal to give some routes to private operators:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/155529/bmta-employees-protest-at-govt-house
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/transport/155553/bmta-workers-end-protest

Philippines

14th of September, Maasim, Sarangani, Mindanao: 3000 people demonstrated against the construction of a coal power plant. It is to be built by Conal Holdings, which belongs to the family of the governor of the province. Environmentalists fear the relocation of thousands and negative effect on a reef in the marine reserve Kamanga.
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view/20090915-225239/Hundreds-march-vs-coal-fired-power-plant
http://www.mindanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6972&Itemid=50

22nd of September: Cebu: A hundred workers of the Alta Moda clothing factory have entered the Mactan Economic Zone, in order to establish picketing at the factory. The factory is temporarily closed - the union says in response to a sit-down strike. The workers want to avoid the machines being removed (Original summary in German). http://partidongmanggagawa2001.blogspot.com/2009/09/laid-off-garments-workers-barge-into.html

Vietnam

17th of September, Ho Chi Minh City: 400 taxi drivers demonstrated outside the headquarters of Vinasun Taxi Co. to protest against the reduction of its share from 55 to 51%. The company had stated inter alia, the increase in gasoline prices as a reason, while the drivers themselves pay the gasoline. The in August drivers had been on a number of wildcat strikes.
http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/?catid=3&newsid=52526
http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/?catid=3&newsid=52566
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/social/2009/09/869327/

Papua New Guniea

Nurses walked off on strike over non-payment of awards in Lae: http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20090925/news03.htm

Original post:

Thailand

Baggage handlers struck over a proposed dress code: http://enews.mcot.net/view.php?id=11594
Villagers have been protesting against environmental damage from a steel mill, forcing a government investigation: http://steelguru.com/news/index/2009/09/02/MTA5ODQ5/Villagers_protesting_over_Sahaviriya_Group_steel_mill_in_Thailand.html
The struggle of workers at Triumph continues: http://enews.mcot.net/view.php?id=11699

Hong Kong

Philippino domestic workers in Hong Kong have been protesting against a wage freeze introduced by the HK Executive Council:
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/171713/pinoy-domestic-workers-picket-vs-hk-wage-freeze
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20090907-223983/Pinoys-Asians-protest-low-HK-wage-for-maids
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20090904-223476/Group-protests-freeze-in-maids-wages-in-HK

Philippines

The union representing workers at Philippine Airlines is gearing up resist restructuring: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-09/13/content_12044515.htm

While the government has been congratulating itself on the fall in workdays lost to strikes, workers have been saying that the departments that are supposed to protect them have been failing to do so:
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090904-223528/Workers-rally-outside-DOLE-office
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=504290&publicationSubCategoryId=107
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20090914-225185/Workers-welcome-ILO-probe-on-rights

Vietnam

Two wildcat strikes (as most are in Vietnam where the unions are controlled by the ruling Communist Party). One for higher wages at a shoe factory back in August: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h46Rb4oxZ8rvVljgA7fiNH7Vxr2Q

And one at the start of this month over suspected theft of social insurance by the company at a furniture and handicrafts factory:
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/284657,vietnam-workers-strike-over-lapsed-insurance.html
http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20090908223354526
http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/?catid=3&newsid=52361

Korea

Railworkers went on strike at the beginning of the month:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2009/09/08/62/0302000000AEN20090908007400320F.HTML
http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/09/09/200909090053.asp

And are following it up with another next month, issuing "struggle bonds" to pay for past struggles: http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=040000&biid=2009091769588

At the start of the month the government was gloating over the Ssangyong workers decision to leave the militant KCTU and the fact that contrary to past years strikers have not been paid for strike days. They're apparently getting ready for a major confrontation this autumn:
http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2909826
http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=040000&biid=2009091057398
http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2909932
http://money.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=864757

But then 115 000 public workers in three unions voted to join the KCTU!
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/09/117_52324.html
http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-42640220090923

We shall see what this means - despite its reputation for militancy, the KCTU is of course still a bureaucratic union that frequently holds back workers' struggles (see previous reports on libcom about the Ssangyong struggle).

Indonesia

Workers at the national electricity company threaten to strike if a new bill is passed:
http://www.tempointeractive.com/hg/nasional/2009/09/07/brk,20090907-196776,uk.html
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/09/08/house-pass-three-bills.html

Russia

Sailors in Vladivostok were going on hunger strike over unpaid wages: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090909/156069795.html

Posted By

Spartacus
Sep 25 2009 15:23

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Comments

Yorkie Bar
Sep 25 2009 16:51

No mention of the Sri Lankan plantation workers?

~J.

antoniamautempo
Sep 26 2009 16:28

ciao,

you should get in touch with the german comrades from 'welt in umwaelzung", since several years they keep up an online archive about workers' struggles in asia. their main sources are english newspapers, so you could share work:

http://www.umwaelzung.de/aaktuell.html
suba@wildcat.rhein-neckar.de

just an idea
m.

Spartacus
Sep 27 2009 08:53

i'd not seen stuff about the sri lankan workers, but i concentrate on east and south-east asia since that's where i am - it takes long enough covering that. so anything west of myanmar i leave to others to cover.

if i have time i will get in tough with those german comrades - i have been checking that site irregularly since someone else mentioned it, but my german is so rusty it takes a while... good idea though, thanks for reminding me.